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EAST GREENSBORO  – North Carolina A&T will be one of the top-10 bowling teams in the nation according to the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA). The organization released its preseason poll Wednesday with the Aggies ranked eighth in the nation.  

N.C. A&T received 1,064 points to rank just behind fellow Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Maryland Eastern Shore who received 1,188 points to earn a preseason ranking of No. 7.  

The Aggies finished the season in eighth place in the final NTCA poll after falling to UMES in the MEAC championship match by eight pins in the final game of a seven-game series. Last season, the Aggies posted a 78-45 overall record including a 15-3 conference record which tied them for the MEAC regular-season title with the University of Alabama Birmingham.

Junior Ana Olaya, who was named to the MEAC preseason team, led the team with 10,090 total pins for an average of 190.38. Olaya and junior teammate Cameron Strombeck led the team with 19 games of 200-plus. 

Sophomore Ericka Quesada, who was also named on the conference’s preseason team, led the team with an average of 199.79 pins and recorded 16 of 38 games bowled of 200-plus games.

Strombeck was second on the team with 8,554 total pins and third with an average of 190.09, while sophomore Pamela Warr was fourth on the team with 7,221 total pins for an average of 185.15 with nine games of 200-plus. 

Vanderbilt is the preseason No. 1 team in the nation with 18 first-place votes and 1,671 points. They are followed by Stephen F. Austin, who won the national championship last season, was picked second with 20 first-place votes and 1,559 points. Vanderbilt and Stephen F. Austin are followed in the top-10 by McKendree, Nebraska (one first-place vote), Sam Houston State, Arkansas State (one first-place vote), UMES, N.C. A&T, Fairleigh Dickinson and the University of Wisconsin.

There three other MEAC schools in the poll including No. 15 Delaware State, No. 19 UAB and No. 25 Monmouth.

The Aggies begin the season with a trip to Harahan, La., for the Tulane Sugar Bowl Invitational from Oct. 18-20.