The Aggies (23-8 overall) are 5-3 in the MEAC’s southern division and are in a three-way tie with Florida A&M and Norfolk State for first place.
“This weekend’s tournament is big in terms of standings for the conference,” head coach James Williams said. “With it being a three-way tie for first, this weekend will determine if we are in front of the curve or if we will be fighting for our championship lives come March.”
The top four teams from each of the conference’s two divisions make it to the conference championships. A&T has seen early success in the 2013-14 season, but on the road to success struggles have occurred. In their last tournament, the Aggies posted a 9-0 record during the first two days and earned the No. 1 seed heading into bracket play at the Virginia Union Invitational. What looked like a sure victory for A&T on the final day and the chance to be named the tournament champion quickly changed as it endured a couple of tough games which landed it in seventh place. Although it was a disappointing performance for the Aggies, they have regrouped and are taking everything they learned from that experience into the rest of their tournaments.
“The experience that we gained was invaluable,” said Williams. “It was the first time that any of the ladies were in that position as a team. But we learned that we have to maintain our focus. We can only control our own actions and breaks. We also have to continue to give ourselves a chance.”
The Aggies received a lot of production from freshman Kristin Shinn at their last tournament where she recorded an average of 205.80 which was tied for first out of a field of 67 bowlers. For her efforts, she was named MEAC Bowler of the Week. Emily Strombeck finished second overall with an average of 203.60 while Jorie Sinearh (184.50), Najah Owens (179.0), and Courtney Crook (176.33) rounded out the top ten.
In conference games, senior Cherise Poole leads A&T with a 186 average. Strombeck tabbed a pinfall of 926 at the first conference meet and tabbed an average of 185.2. Shinn tallied a 175.2 average and Owens finished with a 167.67. Poole, Strombeck, Shinn, and Owens were the only Aggies who rolled a 200-plus game at the first MEAC meet.
In order to shake things up in the southern division and remain out in front, the Aggies will have to perform exceedingly well and use a complete team effort.
“I’m expecting them to compete this weekend,” Williams said. “The goal hasn’t changed and we have evaluated where we are right now and understand what needs to be done to reach it."