Track and field fans that enjoy the mile run would understand the format of the three-day collegiate bowling tournament.
In the mile, runners jockey to stay within striking distance the first lap or two before picking up the pace midway through and finally making an all-out dash to the finish line. Occasionally a runner leads wire-to-wire but not often.
In collegiate bowling, most teams with title aspirations want to be close enough to the top four after the first day that with a solid second day they can make the top four in Sunday’s championship bracket. Why the top four? Regardless of how many teams are in the field, only the top four can win the title.
With that analogy in mind, Vanderbilt’s bowlers bounced through their first five Baker games at the 28-team Kutztown Invitational with four wins and are just off the pace in fifth place, 154 pins behind pacesetter Fairleigh Dickinson.
“With the exception of two back-to-back bad games against Monmouth (148-146) I thought it was an otherwise pretty clean day,” Vanderbilt Coach John Williamson said. “We only had 10 missed-makeable spares all day and if we do that again tomorrow we should be ok. Today we had a lot of splits; we need to be better in the execution of our first shots.”
The Commodores, winners of their last two tournaments, never got their “A” game in full gear and played without the services of Samantha Gainor, the steady sophomore who was sidelined with an illness bug. They defeated Chestnut Hill, host Kutztown, 18th ranked Long Island-Brooklyn and ninth-rated St. Francis University while losing to No. 17 Monmouth, coached by Vandy alum Karen Grygiel.
Williamson said Gainor came down under the weather last night and tried to give it a go in warmups but quickly realized it wasn’t to be.
“We have very capable people to replace Sam,” Williamson said. “I thought Angelique bowled well when she got in there. We had to move on and focus on what we could control; the natural tendency when our team saw she was sick was to try and help Sam. She is going to be fine.”
Vanderbilt has five team games, starting with 23rd ranked Duquesne at 9:00 a.m. EST. Matches are streamed on Vanderbilt bowling’s YouTube page.