St. Ambrose men, Mount Mercy women win 2020 Hoosier Classic

MEN: Team Qualifying | Individual | Bracket
WOMEN: Team Qualifying | Individual | Bracket

INDIANAPOLIS - The St. Ambrose men and Mount Mercy women closed the 2019-2020 United States Bowling Congress Collegiate regular season with wins Sunday at the 51st Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis.

The final Tier I event of the season was held at Western Bowl, bringing together 78 men's varsity programs and 64 women's varsity teams. All competitors bowled six traditional games Saturday and 15 Baker games Sunday before the top eight in each division advanced to bracket play, based on total pinfall.

The first two rounds of the bracket featured best-of-three Baker matches, while the championship round was a best-of-five match. provided livestream coverage of the 2020 event.

021618StAmbrose_637In the men's bracket, St. Ambrose survived elimination games against Indiana Tech (2-1) and Webber International (2-1) to advance to the title match against Wichita State. The Shockers advanced to the finals with 2-1 victories over Lindenwood and Marian.

Wichita State started the title tilt with a 290-179 victory and was on the brink of taking a 2-0 advantage. The Shockers' Brandon Biondo delivered a double in the 10th and had the chance to lock out St. Ambrose, but a 2-8 combination on his fill ball gave St. Ambrose the opportunity to steal Game 2 and even the match.

St. Ambrose's Cameron Crowe delivered a strike on his fill ball to give the Fighting Bees a 216-215 win and the momentum moving ahead. St. Ambrose recorded wins of 237-182 and 205-189 in Games 3 and 4 to collect the 3-1 win and its second consecutive Tier I title. The Fighting Bees also won the Kegel/ISBPA Midwest Collegiate Classic in January.

Webber International led qualifying with a 9,251 total, while Wichita State (9,180) and St. Ambrose (9,020) qualified second and fifth, respectively. Mount Mercy earned the final spot in the eight-team bracket with 8,893.

The men's all-tournament team was led by Marian's Jordan Shepherd, who averaged 232 for his six games Saturday for a 1,392 total. Calumet's Kevin McCune was second with 1,346, while SCAD-Savannah's Dylan Byars recorded his third consecutive top-10 finish at the Hoosier Classic by tying for third place with 1,342.

Byars' total was matched by Emmanuel's Ryan Lopano, and Kansas Wesleyan's Nathan Mercer finished fifth with 1,338.

021620MountMercy_637On the women's side, Mount Mercy earned the top seed through qualifying with an 8,849 total and swept Baker and Alma on its way to the title match. The Mustangs were joined in the finals by Pikeville, which earned its spot with wins over Webber International (2-0) and Robert Morris-Illinois (2-1).

A back-and-forth championship round included a 212-212 tie in Game 3, ultimately leading to a sixth game with the teams even at 2.5-2.5. In Game 6, Mount Mercy made a jump left and took the lead with an early double. The Mustangs retained the advantage as Pikeville was unable to double in the finale, taking the deciding game, 189-166.

Mount Mercy, which advanced to bracket play at the Hoosier Classic for the first time in program history Sunday, claimed its second Tier I title of the season. The Mustangs also won the National Collegiate Team Match Games last November.

Pikeville finished qualifying in third place with 8,764, and Baker secured the final spot in the bracket with 8,460.

Robert Morris-Illinois' Mattie Brandos averaged more than 241 on Saturday to lead the women's all-tournament team, finishing with a 1,450 total. She was followed by Webber's Caitlyn Johnson (1,411) and Pikeville's Lauren Piotrowski (1,366), who was the 2019 individual champion at the Hoosier Classic.

Brandos' teammate, Veronica Dreyfus, finished fourth with 1,323, and Alma's Rachel Kuczajda earned the final spot in the top five with 1,313.

With the conclusion of the regular season, sectional announcements for the 2020 Intercollegiate Team Championships will be made Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Eastern and broadcast live on BowlTV.

The top 80 men's teams and top 64 women's programs will advance to one of four sectionals across the country - Addison, Illinois; Dallas; Smyrna, Tennessee; and Stratford, New Jersey. The sectional qualifiers will be held March 13-15.

The top four teams at each sectional will advance to the Intercollegiate Team Championships, which will take place along with the Intercollegiate Singles Championships from April 13-18 in Wyoming, Michigan.