By Stefan Ayanian
The Sacred Heart University women’s bowling team competed in the Sunshine State Winter Classic in Orlando, Fl, from Feb. 8-10. They finished in third place out of 14 teams, competed in 66 total games and accumulated 12,666 total pins, while averaging 191.9 pins per game.
In the individual standings, junior Tori Boughton finished fifth overall, knocking down 1,040 pins, while averaging 208 pins per game.
Stephen F. Austin State of Texas and the University of Nebraska were the two teams that finished ahead of Sacred Heart in the Tournament.
There are two more competitions remaining in the season for Sacred Heart before the Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament, which takes place in Howell Lanes, N.J., from March 22-24.
Sophomore bowler Rachel Bamford, expects to win these competitions. She felt a different competitive atmosphere heading into the Winter Classic since the team bowled against different schools and athletes who they haven’t played before.
“The NEC teams that we compete against, we see them all of the time,” said Bamford. “We’re close to them, so it’s kind of a different level of competing when you go to other tournaments and you compete against nationally ranked teams that you don’t see as often.”
Bamford enjoys competing against the conference teams because of the bonds and friendships they build when they bowl against each other.
“This season, we’ve worked pretty hard on our game. We are a new kind of developing team because we lost six players last year, so to be where we are now, I’d say we worked pretty hard to get there,” said Bamford.
There’s one graduating senior this season, captain Gabrielle Gontarek. Throughout the changes in the roster, the team hasn’t deterred their focus of entering these tournaments motivated and confident.
Redshirt sophomore, Julia Favata, is looking forward to seeing her teammates step up in these final tournaments and make it count in the heat of the game.
“I guess for the team, we get really competitive when we’re at the tournaments. I expect us to try our best, even if it’s not winning,” said Favata.
The team is looking forward to using the younger bowlers for these upcoming tournaments in order to improve their skills and abilities to win games.
They look to build on the NEC meets in order to keep their mind focused on winning the conference championship and Nationals.
“I think more so with the NECs, we kind of hype each other up because it’s our conference and we know the teams,” said Favata.
Favata gives a lot of credit to the team’s work ethic, since it’s a young squad and in practice, they’ve worked a lot on drills to build on their strengths and raise their pocket percentage shots up to a level that will help them win games.
The team’s next competition is their second NEC meet of the season from Feb. 22-24, in Sinking Spring, Pa. After that, they’ll compete in the Columbia 300 Music City Classic in Smyrna, Tenn., from March 15-17.