Sam Houston State wins 2019 Hawk Classic Invitational

Wire-to-wire victories are rare, but don’t tell that to Sam Houston State, who claimed the title at the 2019 Hawk Classic Invitational.

The Bearkats bested Arkansas State in the title match, 4-2, in the best-of-seven championship round to cap off an event in which they led after each round of competition at Millsboro Lanes in Millsboro, Delaware.

A total of 18 teams competed in the 2019 edition, which included 15 of the top 25 teams, and six of the 10 teams according to the National Tenpin Coaches Association preseason poll.
Both teams traded wins during the first two games of the title tilt before the Bearkats took Games 3 and 4 to take a 3-1 lead. The Red Wolves responded by winning Game 5, bringing the match to 3-2.

In Game 6, Arkansas State started play slowly with open frames in two of the first three frames, while Sam Houston State struck on four of their first five shots. The Red Wolves found some rhythm in the fourth frame which started a streak of five consecutive strikes, which ended with a spare in the ninth frame.

Sam Houston traded spares and strikes from frames six through nine, which setup the possibility of a tie if both teams struck out in the final frame.

Sophomore Bea Hernandez of Sam Houston State stepped up first in the 10th frame and tossed a strike, while Arkansas State senior Julia Huren countered with a strike of her own. Both players again would strike to setup the pivotal 12th shot.

Hernandez left a 4 pin on her final shot, which gave Huren the chance to strike to extend the match, but she left a Greek Church on her fill ball allowing Sam Houston State to secure the victory.

To advance to the title match, Sam Houston State defeated Sacred Heart, 4-3, while Arkansas State defeated Sam Houston State, 4-2, in Round 1 to clinch a berth in the title match. The Red Wolves swept Kutztown in Round 2.

In the battle for third place, Duquesne and Sacred Heart battled in a seven game thriller but it was Duquesne who came away with the victory, 4-3.

112419HawkClassicATT250In the individual standings, Sacred Heart’s Caitlyn Kelly took home the top spot with a five-game total of 1,101, an average of 220.2. She was followed by Monmouth’s Saige Yamada (1,100), Sam Houston State’s Lynne Fishler (1,098), Arkansas State’s Huren (1,089) and Tulane’s Isabelle Lee (not pictured; 1,064). Fishler was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

All 18 teams in the field bowled five five-game Baker matches Friday and five traditional team games Saturday before being seeded into the best-of-seven match-play bracket based on total pinfall. The top four teams all entered the day with a chance to win the tournament.

Along with the Hawk Classic Invitational trophy, each match the teams bowled counted toward their overall win-loss record, which helps determine the teams that qualify for the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Bowling Championship being held in Detroit from April 9-11.

All rounds of the 2019 Hawk Classic Invitational were broadcast live on