McKendree wins 2018 Prairie View A&M Invitational

ARLINGTON, Texas - For the first time since 2013, there is a new champion at the Prairie View A&M Invitational, and it was McKendree hoisting the championship trophy Sunday at the International Training and Research Center.

The Bearcats, the reigning champion at both the National Collegiate Athletic Association Bowling Championship and the Intercollegiate Team Championships, downed top-seeded Arkansas State in the title match, 4-2.

In the best-of-seven portion of the event, the teams switch lanes after each game. The first four games of the championship match were claimed on the right lane, before McKendree took Game 5, and all the momentum, on the left lane. The Bearcats closed things out with a 259-204 victory.

2018PrairieViewMcKendreeForWeb250x140McKendree was dominant in its two matches Sunday, averaging nearly 225 in 11 games. The group advanced to the title tilt with a 4-1 semifinal win against Vanderbilt, which included games of 254, 248 and 257 to start.

Arkansas State led the event through 25 Baker games and six traditional games, then topped Sam Houston State, 4-1, to make a return to the final. The Red Wolves most recently were the runners-up in 2016, falling to Nebraska after being up 2-0 and 3-1.

Nebraska has been the team to beat at the Prairie View A&M Invitational, claiming the title five consecutive times from 2013-2017. Vanderbilt won the inaugural event in 2012.

This time, the Huskers got off to a slow start and crept up the standings on Day 2, but the top-ranked squad fell short of making the championship bracket, qualifying seventh for the final round of competition.

The Huskers settled for seventh place overall, losing to Stephen F. Austin in the opening round of bracket matches, before defeating Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-0, in the final match of the weekend.

In the match to decide third and fourth place Sunday, Sam Houston topped last year's runner-up, Vanderbilt, 4-3, including an exciting 249-222 effort in the finale. The Bearkats took a quick 2-0 lead, but the Commodores were able to fight back and take the match to a deciding seventh game.

All 12 teams in the field bowled five five-game Baker matches Friday, five traditional team games Saturday and one traditional game Sunday, before being seeded into three best-of-seven match-play brackets based on total pinfall from the three days of competition.

The top four teams were placed in one bracket, all with a chance to win the tournament. Seeds No. 5 though No. 8 were in a second bracket, with fifth place being the best they could finish. The No. 9 through No. 12 seeds competed in the third bracket, with ninth place being the best possible finish.

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.

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

Arkansas State led the way in the win column this weekend at the ITRC with a 10-3 mark. Sam Houston State and Nebraska were next at 8-5.

Individually, Sacred Heart's Amanda Nardiello set the pace on the 40-foot oil pattern with a 1,416 six-game total, a 236 average. The performance earned her most-valuable-player honors and a spot on the all-tournament team.

This year's individual runner-up was Jordan Richard of Arkansas State, the individual champion in 2017 and runner-up in 2016. This time, she finished with a 1,378 total.

Nardiello and Richard were joined on the all-tournament team by Maria Bulanova of Vanderbilt (1,358), McKendree's Breanna Clemmer (1,342) and Jordan Newham of Vanderbilt (1,339).

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

Here's the lineup of teams as they appeared on the featured pairs. Sunday's final team game was not livestreamed.

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

Match 1 (5-8 bracket): Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Sacred Heart; Nebraska vs. Stephen F. Austin
Match 2 (1-4 bracket): Arkansas State vs. McKendree (championship match); Vanderbilt vs. Sam Houston State (for third place)

Final finishing positions for all teams (weekend record):
1, McKendree (7-6)
2, Arkansas State (10-3)
3, Sam Houston State (8-5)
4, Vanderbilt (7-6)
5, Stephen F. Austin (6-7)
6, Sacred Heart (6-7)
7, Nebraska (8-5)
8, Fairleigh Dickinson (7-6)
9, North Carolina A&T (5-8)
10, Prairie View A&M (3-10)
11, Maryland Eastern Shore (7-6)
12, Louisiana Tech (4-9)

Complete results

Day 1 standings

Day 2 standings

Prairie View A&M Invitational champions
2012 - Vanderbilt
2013 - Nebraska
2014 - Nebraska
2015 - Nebraska
2016 - Nebraska
2017 - Nebraska
2018 - McKendree