Home Sweet Smyrna

Commodores host annual tournament starting Friday

by Rod Williamson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 19th annual Vanderbilt Music City Classic, one of the NCAA’s largest regular season bowling tournaments, begins Friday at the Smyrna Bowling Center in Smyrna.

There is no admission charge.

Start times

Practice will begin at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday with competition starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday’s practice is at 8:30 a.m. and competition begins at 9 a.m.


The tournament will follow the standard NCAA format with five, 5-game Baker sets Friday, five traditional team games Saturday and three best-of-seven Baker bracket matches Sunday.

Strong field of 30 teams

This year’s field features many of the nation’s top teams, including 14 ranked among the top 25 in the latest NTCA poll. Here are the participants (indicates rank):

Arkansas State (4), Aurora, Belmont Abbey, Carthage, Central Missouri (17), Emmanuel, Kentucky Wesleyan, Louisiana Tech (12), Lewis, Lincoln Memorial (19), Long Island University, Marian, Maryville (8), McKendree (1), Monmouth, North Carolina A&T (7), Sacred Heart (25), Saint Francis (Pa.), Sam Houston State (9), Spaulding, Stephen F. Austin (5), Tusculum, UAB, Maryland-Eastern Shore (10), Valparaiso, Vanderbilt (2), Wagner, Wisconsin-Whitewater (20), Wright State and Youngstown State (6).

Following the event

Veteran national sportscaster Emil Williams will be streaming some of the action, which will be found on youtube.com/@BowlStreamTV. For the matches not streamed there, most schools will be streaming from their own platforms. Vanderbilt uses its athletics department YouTube site.

Special Note to Fans

Fans should be aware that the traditional step ladders that many use to see over the tops of the spectator and bowler heads will not be permitted. Many bowling centers across the country have banned the use of ladders, chairs and so forth for enhanced viewing angles after being informed that their insurance no longer covers injuries sustained.

Senior Day ’23

Vanderbilt will salute seniors Amelia Kiefer and Mabel Cummins after competition concludes Sunday afternoon.

Stoddard Award Recipient to be Announced

This award is named in honor of former Smyrna Bowling Center General Manager Harry Stoddard, whose early enthusiasm, loyalty and hard work was instrumental in laying the foundation for Vanderbilt bowling’s success.

When Stoddard was dying of cancer, Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson promised Stoddard that he would keep his name and spirit alive with the bowling program by creating the Harry Stoddard Award. It is the Commodores’ only award and it is decided as a result of a team vote for the individual that most embodies Stoddard’s selfless attitude, hard work and enthusiasm.

Past winners include: Jessica Earnest (2011), Lauren Rhein (2012), Kim Carper (2013), Nicole Chanin (2014), Rebecca Requerro (2015), Nicole Powell (2016), Kristin Quah (2017), Adel Wahner (2018), Jordan Newham (2019), Samantha Gainor (2020), Lauren Potechin (2021) and Kiefer (2022).

All-Tournament and MVP Awards   

There will be a five-woman all-tournament team announced at the completion of play along with a tournament Most Valuable Player to be named from the championship team.

Last Season’s Tournament

McKendree defeated Stephen F. Austin 4-2 in the Baker format championship game as Arkansas State topped Vandy 4-1 in the consolation final. Individually, Arkansas State’s Brooklyn Buchanan found the Smyrna Lanes to her liking, averaging a scorching 245.8.

Music City Classic History

The Commodores have won the event five times in 18 years, the last coming in 2019. Vandy also prevailed in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015.

McKendree has won five of the last six years. Nebraska has also won the tournament five times. Central Missouri, UMES and Arkansas State have taken home the crystal bowl once. In 2020, a classic Nashville guitar became the championship trophy replacing the crystal bowl.

Past winners: Nebraska (2005-7), Central Missouri (2008), Vanderbilt (2009-10), Nebraska (2011-12), Maryland-Eastern Shore (2013), Vanderbilt (2014-15), Arkansas State (2016), McKendree (2017-18), Vanderbilt (2019), McKendree (2020-22).