DALLAS, Texas — Mabel Cummins continued her dominating season Saturday, leading Vanderbilt to the team championship at the Bulldog Classic in a tournament shortened by an impending winter storm bearing down on the Lone Star State.
The Commodores finished 226 pins ahead of Arkansas State to win their second championship in four tries this season. The title was the program’s 39th since 2006.
Cummins won the Most Valuable Player award while earning her fourth all-tournament team honors in four tries this season. The sophomore averaged 224 to outdistance runner-up Denise Blankenzee of Sam Houston State who was 68 pins back of the pace.
Not to be lost in the Cummins blitz was Vanderbilt’s outstanding final team game tally of 1,173 – the fifth best score in program history. The rotation of Angelica Anthony (223), Carolina Thesier (234), Angelique Dalesandro (256), Jennifer Loredo (226) and Cummins (234) sizzled with long strike runs in the day’s finale versus fifth-ranked Louisiana Tech, who posted a respectable 1,015 of their own.
“Our group is becoming more resilient,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “This season things change in a moment. It can be hard to get a curve ball at nine o’clock at night that changes the next day completely. There can be anxiety about the weather, making our plane, a new tournament format and in our first game today (a loss to Sam Houston State) – we were thinking about all of those things.
“We challenged them between matches and asked them to control what we could control. We were much more focused the second game.”
More focused to be sure.
At one point between the fifth and ninth frames in the Louisiana Tech match, Vandy made 18 strikes in 20 frames and 21 strikes in 25 frames.
“The whole weekend we couldn’t quite figure out the pattern but there were things we did know,” Williamson said. “We tried to make quality shots and it’s amazing with a loose arm swing the pins seem to carry. Then there’s momentum and we fed off each other.”
Williamson once again noted that Cummins was adept at controlling the pocket, especially after her opening day 163 against Sam Houston was out of character.
“For six of our seven games Mabel repeated shots and controlled the pocket,” Williamson noted.
A quick overview of Cummins’ season work chart begins with a fifth-place finish at the Louisiana Tech Invite where she averaged 208.75, followed by a second place finish at the Kat Klash with a 224.2 average. Mabel was fourth a month ago in Savannah, averaging 202.8 before today’s win and 224 tournament average.
Vandy has never had a bowler make four all-tournament teams in four tries.
Dalesandro’s monster game against Louisiana Tech, which included going off the sheet with her final nine shots, pushed the Illinois junior into seventh place despite sitting out the tournament’s first game.
“She can heat it up, can’t she?” Williamson exclaimed when asked about Dalesandro’s torrid second game. “When she gets locked in all she thinks about is striking. And she puts it on repeat. She throws a heavy ball and gets good carry.”
For those curious about Vandy’s team game school record, the Dores knocked down 1,236 pins against Saint Peters at the New Jersey Jamboree during the 2015-16 season.
Vanderbilt heads to Arkansas State’s Mid-Winter Classic next weekend in Jonesboro – weather permitting.
Because there are precarious storm watches in play, Arkansas State officials indicate they will make an early call if it appears conditions will be unfavorable for travel.