DOVER, Del.-Back in their first tournament in more than two months, the North Carolina A&T bowling team finished 2-9 at the Capital Classic, going 2-3 in team matches, 1-3 in bakers matches and 0-3 in bracket competition at the Brunswick Doverama bowling alley.
Sophomore Cherise Poole had a strong performance, bowling a 201 in the first team match and a team-best 212 in the fourth team match. She ended the day with a team-best 903 total after team matches, which placed her 17th amongst all bowlers with an average of 180.6. Senior April Terry bowled a 206 in the second team match against Norfolk State, and was the only other A&T bowler to break 200. Terry finished the tournament 27th in individual standings with an 851 total and a 170.2 average.
"The team performance was better than the last tournament we attended, which is what you expect," said head coach James Williams. "The spare percentage was up on the first two days. The amount of quality shots were up as well. I'm proud of the team for not giving up or allowing things to affect them in times when they needed to be focused and strong for each other."
The Aggies faced four of the Top 20 collegiate bowling teams ranked by the National Tenpin Coaches Association poll in the Capital Classic, which was hosted by fellow MEAC foe, Delaware State. In attendance at the Classic were No. 10 New Jersey City, No. 13 Delaware State, No. 14 Norfolk State and No. 20 St. Francis College (N.Y.) as well as six other teams.
The Aggies picked up a pair of wins against Howard and Bethune-Cookman in team matches, defeating their opponents 889-767 and 833-764 respectively. A&T lost to No. 20 St. Francis, 923-758 and fell to No. 14 Norfolk State, 857-781. No. 14 Delaware State defeated A&T by a 916-774 final in team play. Poole's 201 score helped the Aggies take down Howard. Amber Brown bowled a team-high 191 in their victory against Bethune-Cookman.
On Saturday, the Aggies competed in bakers matches. The Aggies narrowly lost, 621-608 against Florida A&M in the first match. A&T then took on Hampton, and fell, 686-633. The Aggies lost their third match by 705- 685 to Morgan State before finishing the day on a high note with a 643-514 win against Tulane. They bowled a bye round in the fifth match.
On Sunday, the teams were placed into a bracket. The Aggies lost all three games, starting with a 4-3 loss to Hampton, followed by a 4-3 loss to Florida A&M and a 4-1 loss to Howard.
But Williams saw much to be proud from in the tournament.
"There is continued growth on this team-that's a positive," Williams said. "This was a good measuring stick for us. It lets us know that what we have been working on the last month and a half has been effective, and gives us more direction on what to focus on for the MEAC Competition in 3 weeks."
The Aggies will compete again next weekend at the Morgan State Invitational from Feb. 17-19 in Perry Hall, Md. They have one more regular-season tournament, the 3rd MEAC Southern Division Tournament, before the MEAC Championship Tournament, which will be held in Greensboro.