A strong start to the season has vaulted the Sam Houston bowling team in the latest top 25 poll. The latest NTCA poll has the Kats up three spots to No. 2 in the country.
The Kats won two events this fall, and have an overall record of 36-15. The No. 2 ranking equals the highest for the program since winning the national title in 2014. They also finished the first half of the 2016-17 season as the No. 2 team in the country.
"We had a strong finish to the fall and I think that is reflected here,” said head coach Brad Hagen. “We have had some really good weekends, and have put ourselves in the mix to win just about every time out.”
McKendree is tops in the poll, receiving 14 of 37 first place votes. The Kats received eight first place votes. Nebraska is third despite receiving 15 first-place votes. The Kats trail McKendree by just 8 points in the balloting, one of the closest votes in the history of the poll. Arkansas State, No. 4, and Vanderbilt, No. 5, round out the top five in the poll.
With new guidelines in place this season for selection for the NCAA championships, including giving the top four teams thee chance to host the opening rounds, Hagen knows the importance of maintaining one of the top spots in the rankings.
“This was a conversation we had at the beginning of the year,” Hagen said. “You never want to leave your postseason fate in the hands of the selection committee. One way to do that is to win the Southland, but the other way is to build a resume throughout the season and I think we are off to a good start there. Still a lot of work to do though.”
The Bearkats are off until January 17, when they head to the Northeast Classic in Limerick, Penn. It will be the first of six events in the spring for the Kats before heading to Conroe for the Southland Bowling League Championships on March 20.