As the regular season is beginning to come to a close, the Sam Houston bowling team remains in position for one of the four automatic bids to the NCAA Finals in Cleveland.

The National Tenpin Coaches Association released its February Top 25 poll and the Bearkats remain in fifth. They held the spot over Maryland Eastern Shore, which received just 8 fewer points in the voting.

“The goal for us every year is to be at the site of the finals and play for a shot at the national championship,” said head coach Brad Hagen. “This year, with the new format, only the top four teams are guaranteed as spot in Cleveland, so we still have some work to do.”

The Bearkats have an overall record of 52-25. The 52 wins are most among teams in the top 10 and are fourth-most in the country. 

McKendree received 29 of 39 first place votes to hold on to the No. 1 ranking to start the second semester. With a 48-15 record the Bearcats have stayed on a steady pace with top four finishes at the Mid-Winter Invitational and Saints Invite. McKendree also tops the charts in team scoring average with a 204.4. 

The Commodores of Vanderbilt took home the title from the Mid-Winter Invitational to start 2019, and jumped one spot to No. 2. Vanderbilt added a 21-5 record since the beginning of December to increase their record to 46-17. 

Nebraska drops one spot to No. 3. The team is coming off a first place finish at the Maryville Saints Invite. The Cornhuskers currently lead NCAA bowling in winning percentage (49-15), and win/loss record vs the top 10 ranked teams (based on average). 

Arkansas State holds on to the No. 4 spot in the rankings. The Red Wolves added a pair of second place finishes (Mid-Winter Classic and the Kutztown Invitational) to their resume. 

Maryland Eastern Shore moved up two spots to No. 6, while the Ladyjacks of Stephen F. Austin made the biggest jump in the top 10, after winning the Kutztown Invitational, to move up to No. 7. Fairleigh Dickinson University falls one spot to No. 8, as Tulane University falls three spots to No. 9. The Aggies of North Carolina A&T improve one spot to round out the top ten. 

NCAA bowling competes as a National Collegiate sport, in which all three divisions compete for one National Championship. New this year, the national committee will select 12 teams during the selection process. Eight conferences will receive automatic qualifiers (AMCC, CIAA, ECC, MIAA, MEAC, NEC, Southland, SWAC) and four teams will receive at-large bids. Four teams will be seeded into the championship bracket, while the eight remaining teams will compete in four play-in matches. The winners of these matches will then be seeding into the eight-team championship bracket. The 2019 National Championship will be held April 11-13 at Game of Wickliffe in Cleveland, OH where the Bearkats won the school’s only Division I National Championship in 2014.