With the first half of the NCAA bowling season in the books, the Bearkats remain in the top 5 at the break.


The Kats dropped one spot to No. 5, switching places with Arkansas State, in the latest NTCA top 25 poll released this week. 


The Bearkats have posted a 33-18 record this season and have finished in the top 5 of every tournament this year.


"This semester we went through some growing pains not because we didn't have the talent but mostly because we needed to believe in the process,” said head coach Brad Hagen. “We were able to finish the last two events averaging nearly 76% which was huge and will keep us in the hunt for April.”  


The Kats have been consistent in the four tournaments this season, and have been particularly good on Sundays. After a tough 0-3 start to the season at the Tulane Invitational, the Bearkats posted an 8-1 mark during bracket play in the final three events of the year, including perfect 3-0 days at the Warhawk Classic and the UMES Hawk Classic to close out the first half of the season.


"I feel confident how we ended and it showed growth,” Hagen said. “As long as everyone does their part the next four weeks, and we continue to build on that, our competitiveness, as well as our confidence, we'll be able to pick back up in January where we left off."


After a 14-12 start to the season, Sam Houston got things rolling at the Warhawk Classic. They closed out the two tournaments in November with a 19-6 mark. They will now turn their attention to the Mid-Winter Invitational hosted by Arkansas State. It will be the first of four events in a one month span for the Kats.


“The road doesn't get easier moving forward,” Hagen said. “But the guidelines through break have been laid out, our mission clear, and now it’s about recharging the batteries and putting in the work. " 


The NTCA poll had a new team at the top, with McKendree University climbing one spot to take over No. 1 in the poll. Nebraska is also up a spot to No. 2 while preseason No. 1 Vanderbilt dropped two spots to No. 3. Other notable moves in the poll include fellow Southland Bowling League member Tulane climbing four spots to No. 6, their highest ranking in program history, and Stephen F. Austin falling four spots to No. 10.