The second half of the bowling season gets underway on Friday, when the Bearkats head to the Mid-Winter Invitational hosted by Arkansas State.

The Kats, ranked No. 5 in the latest national poll, look to build off a successful first half of the season where they won two tournaments.

“It is important for us to get the second half of the season off on a good note,” said head coach Brad Hagen. “With the new selection format for the NCAA Championships, RPI is even a bigger factor this year and we don’t want to put ourselves in a position to where we are under pressure at the end of the year.”

The field includes 20 teams with 13 teams ranked in the latest version of the National Tenpin Coaches Association poll. Ranked squads competing at the event along with the fifth-ranked Bearkats include No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 McKendree, No. 3 Arkansas State No. 4 Vanderbilt, No. 7 Stephen F. Austin, No. 9 Tulane, No. 11 Central Missouri, No. 14 UAB, No. 19 Louisiana Tech, No. 20 Maryville, No. 22 Alabama State, and No. 23 Lincoln Memorial. Valparaiso, Alabama A&M, Drury, Grambling, Jackson State, Lincoln University (Mo.), and Texas Southern round out the field.

“This is a facility we are very familiar with, and one we have had some success in before,” Hagen said. “It is a strong field so we are going to have to be ready to go from the start. You some times don’t know what to expect after a long break but I think we have looked good in practice and I’m excited to see us get the second half started as we make another push towards the NCAA Championships.”

Friday’s action gets underway at 11:20 a.m. with five, five-game Baker matches, while Saturday will feature five traditional team games starting at 9:40 a.m. Combined results from the first two days will determine the seeding of Sunday’s bracket round, where each team will play three best-of-seven Baker matches beginning at 8:30 a.m.