Elliott, Yamada lead qualifying, stay undefeated on Day 1 of Intercollegiate Singles Championships


– Jacksonville State graduate student Crystal Elliott and Mount Mercy senior Kai Yamada certainly started off on the right foot during Day 1 of competition at the 2024 Intercollegiate Singles Championships, which got underway at Kingpin Lanes in the Greater Louisville area on Tuesday.

Both bowlers put up matching six-game totals of 1,399 (a 233.17 average) to lead their respective divisions during qualifying, Elliott on games of 216, 213, 239, 220, 232 and 279 and Yamada thanks to marks of 220, 245, 264, 180, 259 and 231.

Grabbing the lead during qualifying was not just good for bragging rights; it was important because the top eight qualifiers in both the men’s and women’s divisions earned first-round byes during match play.

After taking advantage of the one-round hiatus, Elliott roared back to life during Round 2 of women’s action, using scores of 235, 246 and 226 to defeat Jacksonville State teammate Keyla Covarrubias by a final score of 707-562 during the three-game, total-pinfall match. 

Yamada’s total wasn’t as high as Elliott’s during his second-round men’s division battle, but the end result was the same as he too took down a teammate, defeating fellow Mustang Kyle Rosenberg by a mark of 609-568 thanks to scores of 204, 218 and 187.

With their victories, both Elliott and Yamada advanced to the quarterfinals, which are scheduled to get underway Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

Elliott’s opponent will be Erica Lohr of Lewis, who earned her place in the quarterfinals by topping Judson’s Chloe Siezega (545-538) during Round 1 and then eliminating Mount Mercy’s Megan Kolberg by a final tally of 520-445 in Round 2.

Wednesday morning’s other women’s quarterfinal matches will feature Kylee Trexler of Louisiana Tech facing Hailey Bozych of Lindenwood, Kayla Smith of Jacksonville State taking on Vanderbilt’s Natalie Kent and Sara Duque of Wichita State battling Viterbo’s Emily Newbauer.

On the men’s side, Yamada will try to retain his position as the man to beat by taking out Carstin Olson of Hastings. Olson earned a berth in the quarterfinals by defeating Kendrick Siders of St. Ambrose (561-523) and Jayvion Colston of Webber International (586-548).

The remaining quarterfinal bouts on the men’s side will have Braden Mallasch of Wichita State opposing Ardani Rodas of St. Francis-Illinois, Jaysen Spanbauer of Marian-Wisconsin going up against Trine’s Zackary Sisk and Newman’s Zachary Smullen trying to take down Wichita State’s Ryan Barnes.

Getting past the quarterfinal round is crucial as the final four players in each division will advance to the semifinals and finals on CBS Sports Network with one-game matches determining the 2024 singles champions. 

The semifinals and finals will be taped at Kingpin Lanes on Saturday with the ISC women’s finals airing on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday, April 23, followed by the ISC men’s finals on April 30.

Elliott, who won the women’s title at the 2024 United States National Amateur Bowling Championships in Las Vegas in January, would love to add another trophy to her case, and in order to make that happen, she just plans on trying to use the same approach that led her to success on Tuesday.

“My look on the lanes wasn’t great to start today, but I was able to execute shots and stay patient with myself, which helped me hone in on what I needed to do and eventually be successful,” Elliott said. “I think that the fact that the lanes got a little tricky today ultimately allowed me to learn a little more going into tomorrow. I just need to stay patient, trust the process and not be scared to make the moves or ball changes I need to make. If I do that, I think it will allow me to stay on the path that I started on today.”

Yamada, too, plans on remaining process oriented, so much so in fact that he isn’t even letting his mind be clouded by thoughts of winning or losing.

“The results really aren’t my number one focus,” Yamada said. “Who I am as a person won’t change as a result of this tournament. I’ve come such a long way during the four years that I’ve attended Mount Mercy, and I don’t regret a single moment of it. For me, I’m just kind of focused on being present and enjoying it because this is my last year and go at it. Obviously, I want to win, but I’m just grateful for my teammates and the experience of being here with them.”

BowlTV.com will have all qualifying and match-play rounds of the ISC leading up to the televised finals.

Visit BOWL.com/ISC for more information on the Intercollegiate Singles Championships.