McKendree men, Mount Mercy women victorious at National Collegiate Team Match Games



The McKendree men successfully defended their title Sunday at the 2019 National Collegiate Team Match Games, while the Mount Mercy women captured the program's first Tier I victory in dominating fashion.

The men's competition was held at St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights, Illinois, and the women's field was hosted by Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville, Illinois. A total of 27 men's and 19 women's varsity programs competed over the weekend.

The event featured six traditional games Saturday and five four-game Baker sets on Sunday, including a position round, with total pinfall determining the champion in each division.

The McKendree men were in second place after Saturday's block, only trailing Marian by 41 pins after a high-scoring opening day. The Bearcats quickly gained the lead after the first four-game set Sunday and never looked back, averaging more than 217 as a team during Baker competition to cruise to the win and the team's second Tier I victory of the season with a 10,837 total.

Lindenwood finished second with 10,675, and Marian took third with 10,654.

MountMercy_cropThe Mount Mercy women recorded a wire-to-wire victory at Bel-Air Bowl, winning the title by more than 325 pins with a 10,202 score. The Mustangs posted the highest traditional block (6,171), team game (1,104) and Baker block (4,031) and placed all five of their starters from Saturday in the top 15 of the individual standings.

Wright State took second with 9,874, while defending champion St. Ambrose finished third with 9,831.

The all-tournament team in the men's and women's divisions also were announced based on their six-game totals from Saturday. The top six student-athletes in each division are recognized at the National Collegiate Team Match Games.

In the men's division, Lindenwood's Mac Leightner earned the top spot after averaging 239 on Saturday, posting games of 279, 234, 192, 244, 239 and 246 for a 1,434 score. Marian's Jordan Shepherd rolled a 300 game on the way to a second-place finish with 1,423, and he was followed in the standings by Minnesota State-Mankato's Grey Severson (1,411), Lincoln Memorial's Jorge Rodriguez-Rosas (1,402), Marian's Nicholas Graveel (1,392) and Huntington's Austin Schultz (1,391).

In the women's division, Wright State's Madison Stiffler was named the most valuable player after rolling games of 234, 199, 225, 227, 235 and 221 for a 1,341 total (223.5 average). Mount Mercy's Ayra Aminuddin was second with 1,271, and St. Ambrose teammates Kaitlyn Keith (1,264) and Breanna Smith (1,249) finished third and fourth, respectively. Mount Mercy's Cassidy Courey was fifth with 1,241, and Wright State's Ashlyn Stollings and Lindenwood's Merlina San Nicolas tied for the final spot on the all-tournament team with 1,239.

Both days of competition at the 2019 National Collegiate Team Match Games were broadcast live on