It was the first trip to sectionals for the men and the second, in as many years, for the women who finished 13th last year.
The format of the tourney included moving to a different pair of lanes after every four Baker games with the top four teams, for both men and women, advancing to the National Championships Finals in Reno (NV) in April.
Vying for a top four finish, the No. 22 Forester women started out strong on Saturday by rolling a 180.5 Baker average through first 16 games to find themselves in 6th place, only 67 pins out of 4th place. They continued to bowl well until the last four games Saturday afternoon where they averaged just 164.5, and fell to 7th place, 254 pins out of 4th.
On Sunday, they picked up where they had left off, continuing to average 164.5, to slip to 9th after 48 games but were able to climb a spot over the final 16 games to increase their position and finish 8th overall. Only 7.5 pins per game proved to be the difference between their 8th place finish and the 4th and final spot for nationals.
Every four Baker games, HU bowled against a different opponent. They finished with 7 wins, 8 losses and one tie over the two days. They defeated Wisconsin Madison, Morehead State, Campbellsville, Urbana, Lindenwood, University of Northern Ohio, Martin Methodist and tied Notre Dame College.
No. 4 Lindenwood, No. 27 Bellarmine, No. 8 Notre Dame College and No. 24 will represent the Smyrna qualifier at the national championship finals.
The women now turn their attention to NAIA Team Invitational Team Championships slated for March 28-20 in Vernon Hills (IL). The Foresters, based on their 11th place ranking in the NAIA, were one of 20 teams invited to this tournament. Representing HU will be Emerald Leong, Ayla Yeiter, Shelby New, Brooke Ewing, Emily O'Leary and Casandra Griffith.
The Forester bowling team of Daniel Miller, Joseph Miller, Tyler Neff, Connor Brown, Seth Walker, Derek Beckler, Adam Harris-Shoemaker and James Knapp wrapped up their season at sectionals.
After the first 16 games on Saturday, HU was in 14th place and looking to move up. Unfortunately, with no re-oiling the lanes at lunch, lane conditions began drying out and changing quickly. Averaging 184 through the first 12 games Saturday afternoon, the dryer conditions proved tough for HU as they only averaged 144 the last four games on Saturday and fell to 15th place going into Sunday's final day.
Their struggles continued Sunday morning when they averaged 151 through the first 16 games and dropped to 16th going into the final stretch. In the final 16 games, HU bowled better than they did in the morning but dropped to their final 17th place finish.
The Foresters posted five wins against ten losses (there was one vacancy). They defeated Wisconsin Madison, Cumberland, North Carolina State, Youngstown State University and Central Florida. The four advancing men's teams to the national finals were No. 5 Lindenwood, No. 17 San Jose State, No. 10 Urbana and No. 15 Morehead State.
In singles competition on Friday, 120 women and 168 men each competed for four spots to the national singles finals in Reno in April. Each athlete bowled six games, moving six to eight pairs of lanes each game.
Five Forester women finished in the top 50 with Ayla Yeiter finishing 17th (186.7ave), Casandra Griffith 31st (180.3ave), Emerald Leong 36th (179.1ave), Brooke Ewing 37th (178.5ave), Shelby New 50th (174.8ave) and Emily O'Leary 60th (171.6ave). It took an average of 208.5 over six games to advance to nationals.
On the men's side, Joseph Miller and Connor Brown were the only HU bowlers to finish in the top 100. Miller was the high finisher for HU finishing 56th (189.8 ave) and Connor Brown finishing 75th (184.3 ave).
Other averages were Seth Walker (178.6ave), Derek Beckler (178.1ave), Daniel Miller (176ave), Tyler Neff (175.3 ave), James Knapp (174.6ave), Emilio Chantaca (159.3ave) and Adam Harris-Shoemaker (141.5ave). On the men's side, it took an average of 218.1 to advance to nationals.
The links to the full sectional team and singles results for all locations are: