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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Bowling: Vanderbilt closes fall semester with third place finish at Hawk Classic

Through four tournaments, the Commodores have only won one title but never placed lower than bronze.
Arianna Santiago
Vanderbilt Bowling wrapped up its fourth and final tournament of the fall with a third place finish at the Hawk Classic. (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago)

No. 1 Vanderbilt Bowling completed its fall slate of tournaments with a third place finish at the Hawk Classic in Woodbridge, Va from Nov. 17-19. Competing in a crowded field of 22 teams — including a whopping 17 of the NTCA Top 25 — the Commodores finished with a 7-4 record that put them behind No. 6 Youngstown State and No. 7 Jacksonville State.

The tournament was formatted with five Baker matches on Friday, five traditional matches on Saturday and one additional traditional match followed by Baker bracket play on Sunday. With bracket seeding determined by pin count, the Commodores were able to overcome their subpar match record and still hold a shot at the tournament title entering the final day.

On opening day, the Commodores did not struggle to score, but they did struggle to score more than their opponents. In a sport without defense, the only way to stop a team on a heater is to be on an even bigger heater. Vanderbilt bowled well on day one, but not better than its opponents. With losses to No. 23 Delaware State, St. Francis and No. 17 Sacred Heart, the Commodores had their first day below .500 all season.

Nevertheless, a team average of 1,109.2 pins per-game kept Vanderbilt in third place entering the second day of competition. With traditional match play, the Commodore athletes were up for individual awards, and they showed out accordingly. Freshman Haley Lindley led the way with an average of 226 pins per-game followed by senior Amanda Naujokas with 224 and sophomore Victoria Varano at 218.8. With more strong performances by the rest of the roster, the Commodores went undefeated on Saturday with wins over five ranked teams.

Sunday opened with one final traditional match against No. 4 North Carolina A&T — the highest ranked team at the tournament besides Vanderbilt. Despite boasting an impressive 1,075 pins in the match, Vanderbilt once again fell short of an incredible performance by its opponent, with the Aggies boasting a final score of 1,125. Despite the loss, Vanderbilt entered bracket play in third with a shot at making yet another tournament championship match.

In the semifinal, the Commodores found themselves opposite C-USA rival Youngstown State. Three weeks prior, at Destination Orlando, Vanderbilt and Youngstown State had also squared off in the first round of bracket play, with the Penguins taking the best-of-seven series 4-2. This time, the Commodores — after falling down 3-2 — would stage a furious comeback in game 6, winning by a single pin. Nevertheless, in a do-or-die game 7, Youngstown State stepped up once again and blasted Vanderbilt out of contention with a score of 277-216.

With dreams of another tournament title squashed, the Commodores settled in for a third place game against No. 10 Louisiana Tech. In the first meeting between the two C-USA squads on the season, Vanderbilt got out to a slow start, dropping the first game 179-226. After that point, it was all Commodores, with the Black and Gold winning four straight games by an average margin of 35.5 pins en route to a series victory. 

With finishes of first, third, second and third, the top-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores have gotten off to a strong, albeit not dominant, start to the season. The team will have the rest of the fall semester off before regrouping at the Stormin’ Blue and White Classic in Las Vegas from Jan. 8-10. The last time the team traveled to Las Vegas, they came home with a national championship. That won’t be up for grabs this time around, but only six regular season tournaments remain before the Commodores will get a shot at the repeat.

Baker Match Scores:

Delaware State defeats Vanderbilt 1,162-1,137

Vanderbilt defeats Monmouth 1,177-1,014

Vanderbilt defeats Morgan State 1,178-915

St. Francis defeats Vanderbilt 1,053-999

Sacred Heart defeats Vanderbilt 1,112-1,055

Traditional Match Scores:

Vanderbilt defeats Merrimack 1,023-955

Vanderbilt defeats Duquesne 1,128-1,000

Vanderbilt defeats Mount St. Mary’s 1,103-1,083

Vanderbilt defeats Maryland Eastern Shore 1,064-838

Vanderbilt defeats Fairleigh Dickinson 1,162-1,081

North Carolina A&T defeats Vanderbilt 1,125-1,075

Baker Bracket Scores:

Youngstown State defeats Vanderbilt 4-3

Vanderbilt defeats Louisiana Tech 4-1

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About the Contributors
Jayce Pollard
Jayce Pollard, Non-revenue Sports Specialist
Jayce Pollard (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in public policy and economics and minoring in data science and Spanish. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can catch Jayce trying to learn the rules of soccer, hating on the Arkansas Razorbacks and being chronically on Twitter. He can be reached at [email protected]
Arianna Santiago
Arianna Santiago, Senior Staff Photographer
Arianna Santiago ('24) is from Bremerton, Wash., and studying electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering. When not shooting for The Hustler or for freelance work, Arianna can be found leading campus tours, organizing events for University Catholic, attempting to study and procrastinating her lab reports. You can reach her at [email protected].
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