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Aggies Lose In MEAC Final, Say Goodbye to Seniors

Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
          Release: 03/26/2017
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Freshman Tyra Merritt was one of four freshmen on an Aggies team that went to the MEAC championship finals in 2017. Photo by Kevin L. Dorsey
Courtesy: NC A&T Sports Information
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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (March 26, 2017) – What do you say to two young ladies when thank you doesn’t seem like enough? There is no question bowling seniors MacKenzie Robinson and Kristin Shinn have been a major part of the North Carolina A&T’s ascent to national prominence in collegiate bowling.

Their careers came to an end in disappointing fashion on Sunday as the Aggies lost to Maryland Eastern Shore in the championship final of the 2017 MEAC Bowling Championship Tournament in a best of seven Baker format match, 4-1 at AMF Lanes. The MDES Hawks won their ninth overall MEAC title. For N.C. A&T, making their first appearance in the championship final in 13 years, it marked the bittersweet ending of the Robinson-Shinn who were instrumental in spearheading a national championship win from the USBC at the Intercollegiate Team Championships in 2015 and a third-place finish at the NCAA Bowling Championship Tournament in 2016.

Robinson finishes her career with an All-American honor from the National Tenpin Coaches Association and three first-team All-MEAC selections. She was also the 2016-17 MEAC Preseason Bowler of the Year. Shinn earned first-team All-MEAC honors in 2017.

“Being an Aggie is great. In my four years, I was able to represent A&T with two TV appearances and one national championship,” said Shinn. “Being able to break the curse of making the MEAC championship (match) is an unbelievable feeling. I’m going to miss my teammates and coaches. Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.”

Sunday’s championship match will be televised on tape-delay on ESPNU on Sunday, April 2 at 9 p.m. The Aggies’ national championship victory was also televised. Shinn and her teammates went into the day excited that they were finally in the finals. Therefore, they opened the day with a lot of momentum. The Aggies won the first game in the best of seven format, 175-170. The Hawks took the next four, but they were all close.

MDES was a 193-188 winner in the second game. They were five-pin winners in the third game after a 170-165 victory. The Hawks closed out the title with a 188-165 win over the Aggies. “We came so close to walking away with the title,” said N.C. A&T coach Kim Terrell-Kearney. “The experience that we gained going forward, if we are lucky enough to get back here next year, we will be prepared. These ladies will know what it is like to be on TV and bowl under the lights. I like our chances if we get this chance again.”

There is a possibility the Aggies could be back next year despite the loss of their two seniors. Outside of Robinson and Shinn, the Aggies were a youthful team that featured four freshmen. One of those freshman, Mia Pope, made the all-tournament team along with Robinson. Last week, freshman Tyra Merritt was named MEAC co-Bowler of the Week. Brianna Boze is scheduled to return for her senior year as she will be the last holdover from the national championship and NCAA teams. Terrell-Kearney is also looking forward to recruiting more talent to complement what she has.

“I’m excited about what’s to come,” said Terrell-Kearney. “Our incoming players are going to be impactful. I like what’s coming, so I don’t think we’re too far away from being a program that is contending for a national championship.”

Before the Aggies try to get there, they must first acknowledge who moved the program into the national spotlight by saying, well, thank you.

“It has been an incredible journey these past four years,” said Robinson. “I was able to help grow this program and bring home a national championship. I will forever cherish the friends I made from bowling and the Aggie community. I wish I could have held up that MEAC trophy, but I know I gave it my all and didn’t hold back these past four years.”

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