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Aggies to Compete For MEAC Title Against MDES

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 03/25/2017
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The North Carolina A&T bowling team will go after their first MEAC championship in 13 years. Photo by Erin E. Mizelle
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (March 25, 2017) – Seniors MacKenzie Robinson and Kristin Shinn already have quite the story to tell about their collegiate careers to their future children, grandchildren and anyone else who may want to listen. But there is something missing for both, a MEAC bowling championship.

They along with the help from their teammates will have a chance to fill in the gap Sunday afternoon at AMF Lanes. The Aggies, the 18th-ranked team in the country, went 3-0 in Baker play on Saturday to earn a spot in the championship match noon Sunday against Maryland Eastern Shore. MDES was also 3-0 on Saturday.

Robinson and Shinn, two of the most accomplished bowlers in N.C. A&T history, already own a national championship from the oldest and most prestigious collegiate bowling tournament in the nation as they helped the Aggies win the 2015 USBC title at the Intercollegiate Team Championships. The following year they earned the athletics department’s first-ever at-large bid to an NCAA postseason tournament as they finished third at the 2016 NCAA Bowling Championship Tournament.

Individually, Robinson is a three-time first-team All-MEAC selection and has earned All-American honors. Shinn joined Robinson on the All-MEAC team this season. Despite their numerous accomplishments, this will be their first time playing on Sunday for the MEAC title.

“It means everything to them to be playing tomorrow,” said N.C. A&T coach Kim Terrell-Kearney. “My challenge is going to be reminding them that it’s got to be more than just getting there. We need to walk away with a win.”

The Aggies’ opponent on Sunday – MDES – has been there. The Hawks are the eighth-ranked team in the nation and have a rich tradition with three NCAA national championships and runner-up finish at the NCAA championships. In fact, Sunday’s championship final will feature the two most successful teams in the history of MEAC bowling.

Combined, the Aggies and the Hawks have won 12 of the 17 MEAC bowling championships. The Aggies have four of those titles, but they have not won one in 13 years.  The Hawks beat the Aggies in a Baker match earlier this season at the Prairie View A&M Invitational. N.C. A&T will rely heavily on their two seniors – MacKenzie and Shinn – to help end their long MEAC drought.

“Kristin and MacKenzie bring so much valuable experience because the rest of our squad is so young and inexperienced,” said Terrell-Kearney. “All year they have pushed and pushed to get the best out of everybody.”

The Aggies (92-70) certainly brought their best on Saturday. The Aggies, who came into the day as the second seed after earning the second-highest pin fall on Friday, defeated Florida A&M in a best of seven Bakers match, 4-2. The Aggies jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Rattlers won the next two. The Aggies finally closed out the Rattlers to advance to play Morgan State, who upset the No. 9 team in the country in Delaware State in the first round, 4.5-1.5. Going into the Bears matchup, Terrell-Kearney wanted to remind her team that they needed to close. According to Terrell-Kearney, the Aggies have made mental mistakes throughout the season once they get a lead in a best of seven Baker match.

“I saw it happening a little bit in that first match,” said Terrell-Kearney. “We have reminded them all year that it takes four games to win at this. We have to show up to seal the deal. I thought we put our foot on the gas and closed out the way we should.”

The Aggies halted the Bears’ momentum from the DSU upset by sweeping the Bears, 4-0. N.C. A&T had to repeat that performance after MSU beat and thereby eliminated DSU 4-2 later in the day. They did. The Aggies earned a trip to championship Sunday by eliminating the Bears with another 4-0 sweep.

“We came out aggressively against Morgan, and I thought that was key,” said Terrell-Kearney. “Morgan was on a high after beating Del State. They were starting to believe, so it was important to get ahead early and stay there.”

Terrell-Kearney is looking for her second MEAC title after leading the Hornets to the title in 2009. But it will be much more important for her to get Robinson and Shinn their first.

“Kristin and MacKenzie have had great tournaments,” said Terrell-Kearney. “MacKenzie has been amazing the whole weekend with her ability to get up there and strike when it really, really mattered. I hope the team can rally around my seniors and can get a MEAC championship.”

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