St. Francis-Illinois women, Robert Morris-Illinois men win 2019 Hoosier Classic


- The United States Bowling Congress Collegiate regular season came to a close Sunday as the St. Francis-Illinois women and Robert Morris-Illinois men captured titles at the 50th Annual Columbia 300 Hoosier Classic.

The final Tier 1 event of the 2018-2019 season was held at Western Bowl and concluded with the top eight teams in each division facing off in a single-elimination bracket. The first two rounds of bracket play featured a best-of-three Baker format, while the championship match expanded to a best-of-five round.

StFrancis637The St. Francis-Illinois women, the No. 7 seed entering match play, went undefeated during the first two rounds to advance to the championship match against No. 5 Webber International. After exchanging wins during the first two games, St. Francis-Illinois began to roll, finishing with games of 238 and 211 to secure the win, 3-1.

The Fighting Saints swept No. 3 Indiana Tech in the semifinals, while Webber bested No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2-0.

RMU19_637The men's title tilt went to the deciding game as Robert Morris-Illinois, the top overall qualifier, and No. 7 Wisconsin-Whitewater battled back and forth. After dropping the opening game, Robert Morris-Illinois collected back-to-back wins to take a 2-1 advantage.

Wisconsin-Whitewater rolled a clean game to take Game 4, 199-191, but was unable to bring that momentum into the finale. Robert Morris-Illinois filled seven of its first eight frames to take the advantage and closed out the win with a 170-145 victory.

The Eagles advanced to the championship round after defeating No. 5 William Penn in the semifinals, 2-1, and Wisconsin-Whitewater swept No. 3 Grand View, 2-0, to move to the finals.

For Sunday's bracket matches, the lanes were oiled by hand by Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Len Nicholson, who served as the PBA Tour's lane maintenance director for more than 20 years.

Competition at the 2019 event consisted of six traditional games Saturday and 15 Baker games Sunday to determine the eight teams in each division advancing to bracket play. The field included 78 men's teams and 66 women's programs.

Saturday's traditional games also determined the all-tournament teams in each division. The men's individual champion was Midland's Kristopher Yadao, who earned the top spot with a six-game total of 1,354, a 225.7 average. He was joined by Savannah College of Art and Design - Savannah's Dylan Byars (1,339), Robert Morris-Illinois' Chase Benites (1,306), Grand View's Adam Morse (1,274) and Midland's Zach Karr (1,274)

The women's all-tournament team was led by Pikeville's Lauren Piotrowski, who finished one pin ahead of Lindenwood's Haley Cummings with a 1,271 total. William Penn's Nicole Craft (1,233) and Lindenwood's Taylor Lee (1,223) took third and fourth, respectively, while William Penn's Kayla Gifford and Savannah College of Art and Design's Veronica Cepeda tied for fifth with 1,221.

BowlTV provided livestream coverage throughout the weekend, and the archived content can be found here.

With the regular season concluding this weekend, USBC Collegiate will announce sectional assignments for the 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships on Wednesday, Feb. 20 live on BowlTV. The broadcast will take place at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Sectionals will take place March 8-10 at four locations across the country. The locations for 2019 are Stratford, New Jersey; Smyrna, Tennessee; Addison, Illinois; and Dallas.

The 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships and Intercollegiate Singles Championships will be held April 15-20 at Poelking Lanes South in Dayton, Ohio.