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North Carolina A&T Bowling at Tulane Sugar Bowl Invitational
Date(s) and Time(s): Friday, Oct. 19-Sunday, Oct. 21

The North Carolina A&T bowling team enters the season ranked No. 10 in the preseason National Tenpin Coaches Association poll. At the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the Aggies lost a lone senior in Brianna Boze who was the last remaining member of the 2015 USBC national championship team. The Aggies are in the NTCA poll for the 24th straight release of the poll. The 2017-18 season included the program brought home a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship for the first time since 2004. They also earned an appearance in the NCAA tournament in St. Louis and in the USBC Regional Qualifying round in Smyrna, Tenn. 

N.C. A&T's Super Sophomores
Returning are six bowlers including three sophomores and three juniors. Among those are sophomores Ana Olaya who was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year last season, and Cameron Strombeck. Olaya led the team in average with a 198.58 season average. Strombeck was not far behind at 196.32. The duo shared anchor bowler responsibilities throughout the season as freshmen. Olaya filled 84.4 percent of the 736 frames she bowled during Baker play last season. She completed 73 percent of her spare attempts while recording 322 strikes on the season in Baker. 

In traditional play, Olaya filled 87 percent of the 442 frames, bowled 187 strikes and had a strike percentage of 42.2 percent. 

Meanwhile, Strombeck filled 83 percent of her 833 frames while leading the team in total Baker play strikes with 369 and she was successful 69.5 percent in recording spares. In traditional play, Strombeck 85.4 percent of her frames (437) while bowling 200 strikes and posting a spare percentage of 73 percent. 

Other Bowlers Returning
Junior Mia Pope snagged the season’s highest game when she bowled a 261 during the Prairie View A&M Invitational on Feb. 3, 2018. Tyra Merritt and Kayli Christ were also solid contributors last year. Merritt was superb late in the season. She was outstanding in helping the Aggies claim the title over Maryland Eastern Shore last season at the MEAC championships. She was also fantastic during NCAA tournament play. 

“The returning bowlers know what it is going to take to bring home a trophy,” said N.C. A&T coach Kim Terrell-Kearney. “The understanding of what it means to be a champion and what is called for is half the battle. We now have to keep putting in more work than anyone else.”

Newcomers
N.C. A&T has six freshmen and a graduate transfer to represent their newcomers. Justice Davis is the graduate transfer who comes to the team from Howard University where she bowled for the Bison for the past three seasons. The freshmen are Cristina Acosta, Chloe Jones, Audrianna Mickle, Erika Quesada,
Brionna Thompson, and Pamela Warr.

“What is most impressive about the new group is their love for the sport of bowling, as well as their desire to educate themselves about any facet of the game that may make them better," said Terrell-Kearney.

N.C. A&T will start their season at the Tulane Sugar Bowl Invitational in Harahan, La. The tournament will feature three of the nation’s top-10 teams in Sam Houston State (4), Stephen F. Austin State (6) and host Tulane (10).  The Aggies will also get to see MEAC competition as the University of Alabama Birmingham and Florida A&M will compete. Additional competition includes (17) La. Tech, Valparaiso, Alabama State, Jackson State, (20) Texas Southern, Southern, Alabama A&M, and Grambling. 

“We are looking to start off this season as we ended last which is fighting to beat the best teams in the country right from the start,” said Terrell-Kearney.

The Aggies were picked to win the MEAC after winning the past four MEAC Southern Division titles. The first MEAC meet will be held Nov. 10-11 in Wilmington, Del.