Arkansas State maintains lead at 2018 Prairie View A&M Invitational


Team USA member Jordan Richard and her Arkansas State teammates turned in another solid performance Saturday to maintain their place atop the standings at the 2018 Prairie View A&M Invitational.

The Red Wolves set the pace through 25 Baker games Friday and averaged more than 206 as a team during Saturday's five traditional games at the International Training and Research Center to lead the way with a 10,360 total. The team has finished in the top four at the event each year since it debuted in 2012, but still is searching for its first win.

Vanderbilt surged from fifth place after the opening day to second overall with a 10,319 total and is followed by defending National Collegiate Athletic Association and Intercollegiate Team Championships champion McKendree (10,230) and Sam Houston State (10,195).

Five-time defending champion Nebraska crept up to fifth place with a 10,116 total and will need a strong final day for a chance at a sixth consecutive title in the tournament's seven-year history.

At the conclusion of one more traditional game Sunday morning, the 12 teams will be seeded into three brackets for the final phase of the three-day event. Only the top four teams will have a chance to win the tournament, though all teams will compete in the best-of-seven Baker matches.

Arkansas State owns the best record of the weekend at 8-2, followed by Sam Houston State and Fairleigh Dickinson (7-3) and Vanderbilt and Nebraska (6-4).

Individually, Sacred Heart's Amanda Nardiello averaged nearly 232 to set the pace with a five-game total of 1,159, which included a 257 finish. Vanderbilt's Maria Bulanova is second with 1,134, Richard is third with 1,130, Jordan Newham of Vanderbilt is fourth with 1,129 and Cameron Strombeck of North Carolina A&T and McKendree's Breanna Clemmer round out the top five with 1,122.

The three-day event features a combination of Baker and traditional games, with total pinfall determining the seeding for Sunday's best-of-seven Baker brackets, but each individual match along the way also counts toward the teams' records for the 2017-2018 season.

The 2018 edition features 12 of the top 25, and eight of the top 10, teams in the most recent poll and a variety of exciting formats.

All 12 teams in the field bowled five five-game Baker matches Friday and five traditional team games Saturday. They'll be back on the lanes Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern for one additional team game, before the winner emerges from the best-of-seven match-play brackets Sunday afternoon.

Seeding for the brackets will be based on total pinfall from the 25 Baker games and six traditional games.

Along with the Prairie View A&M Invitational trophy on the line, each match the teams bowl goes toward their overall record, which helps determine the teams that qualify for the 2018 NCAA Bowling Championship being held in St. Louis from April 12-14.

All rounds of the 2018 Prairie View A&M Invitational are being broadcast live on BowlTV.

Here's the lineup of teams as they appeared on the featured pairs Friday and Saturday. Sunday's final team game will not be live streamed, but BowlTV action will resume with the championship bracket starting at 10:50 a.m. Eastern.

Match 1: Sacred Heart vs. Louisiana Tech; McKendree vs. Vanderbilt
Match 2: North Carolina A&T vs. Sam Houston State; Louisiana Tech vs. Nebraska
Match 3: Nebraska vs. Maryland Eastern Shore; Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston State
Match 4: McKendree vs. Stephen F. Austin; North Carolina A&T vs. Arkansas State
Match 5: Louisiana Tech vs. Vanderbilt; Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Prairie View A&M

Match 6: Sam Houston State vs. Prairie View A&M; Sacred Heart v. Fairleigh Dickinson
Match 7: Stephen F. Austin vs. Nebraska; Arkansas State vs. McKendree
Match 8: Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Arkansas State; Nebraska vs. North Carolina A&T
Match 9: Prairie View A&M vs. Sacred Heart; Sam Houston State vs. Louisiana Tech
Match 10: Fairleigh Dickinson vs. McKendree; Vanderbilt vs. Stephen F. Austin

Prairie View A&M Invitational champions
2012 - Vanderbilt
2013 - Nebraska
2014 - Nebraska
2015 - Nebraska
2016 - Nebraska
2017 - Nebraska