FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (October 28, 2018) – Eleventh-ranked North Carolina A&T completed their second tournament of the season in fourth place after posting an 8-5 record at the McKendree Bearcat Hammer Open. The Aggies are now 19-7 on the season.
Going in bracket play on Sunday, N.C. A&T sat in fourth place. They started the day with a loss to No. 1 ranked Vanderbilt in six games. The Aggies took the first two games 185-167 and 192-182 before Vanderbilt took next four games to win the best of seven Bakers play matchup. N.C. A&T's second contest of the tournament against Central Missouri went a lot like the first. The Aggies won in five games before facing second-ranked McKendree. It took seven games for last season's national runner-up to defeat the Aggies in a seesaw battle that saw McKendree win games 1, 3,6 and 7 in Bakers play.
“Great to be in a position to win going into the last day,” said N.C. A&T coach Kim Terrell-Kearney. “They continue to fight until the end and we will continue to get better.”
Junior Tyra Merritt led the Aggies by finishing 11th overall for the tournament with a 1,042 total pinfall in traditional team play. She had a 208.40 average in five games followed by sophomore Ana Olaya who finished with a 207.20 average and a total pinfall of 1,038. Sophomore Cameron Strombeck was also finished in the top-20 with a 201.60 average.
N.C. A&T went 4-1 in traditional play during Day 2 of the tournament on Saturday. The Aggies downed their first four opponents starting with a 1,078-955 win over the Prairie View A&M Panthers. Merritt led the Aggies by bowling a 249. Reigning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Bowler of the Week Pamela Warr bowled a 246 in the win that served as the Aggies only 1,000-plus game on Saturday. Two more Aggies exceeded 200 games as Strombeck bowled 214 and Olaya posted a 201.
The Aggies next win was a 982-910 triumph over Maryville. Olaya bowled a 233 and Merritt finished the game by bowling a 213. The good times continued for N.C. A&T, as they knocked off 18th-ranked Central Missouri 925-893 and Drury 950-831. Olaya led the Aggies against Central Missouri with a 214 while Strombeck's 205 led the Aggies against Drury. The only loss on the day came against defending national champion Vanderbilt, 1,067-954.
In Bakers play, the Aggies went 4-3 over Friday and Sunday’s matches. They opened up Friday with two tough losses. The Aggies faced third-ranked Nebraska to open the tournament losing 985-930 to the Cornhuskers. Second-ranked McKendree then defeated the Aggies 1,042-931. N.C. A&T got things rolling against No. 14 Lincoln Memorial with a 927-889 win. The momentum from that victory led to two more wins as N.C. A&T beat Lincoln 927-889 ad No. 5 Arkansas 1,041-940.
The Aggies will begin conference play, Nov. 10-11 in Wilmington, Del., in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Meet No. 1.