By Jeffrey Brown
The Youngstown State University Bowling Club will travel to Indianapolis, Indiana this weekend to participate in the Hoosier Classic.
The Hoosier Classic is the biggest tournament of the season for the Penguins, consisting of 70 men’s and 68 women’s teams.
Jim Hall, head coach for seven years, said he expects his team to fare well and not finish near the bottom, but is keeping his expectations in check due to the youth of his team. The Penguins have only one senior on the women’s team, and none on the men’s.
“There’s gonna be a much higher caliber of play there. With that being said I would expect we’ll be way away from the bottom, we’ll beat plenty of teams,” Hall said. “The men have done extremely well with a little amount of experience, so considering that they’ve done extremely well and the same with the women. The women are already good and we’re only losing one player next year.”
Alex Cifra, team president and second-year bowler, said that this is the biggest tournament the team will play in this year, and that the team is aiming for somewhere in the middle of the pack.
“We have a decent team, so we’re definitely going to compete. It’s going to be a very interesting tournament with a very strong field,” Cifra said. “We don’t have a very strong team, but we definitely have a team with a lot of potential. It’s a very young team. This is more of an experience thing this year.”
The Hoosier Classic will be the toughest test for the Penguins this season, as it is the first Tier 1 Tournament appearance. This combined with the team’s youth leads Coach Hall to believe that the team will be feeling the butterflies before the classic.
“Yeah there will be [butterflies]. Yeah they’re going to be facing some of top teams in the country,” Hall said.
Freshman Lynnette Seebacher has an interesting way of dealing with the butterflies: she doesn’t focus on anything but her bowling — and she doesn’t even know her average.
“I don’t look at the stats because then it gets in your head and affects your mental game,” she said. “So I just go in and try to do my best on each shot at each event and at the end of the year it is what it is.”
Seebacher highlighted the women’s team that Coach Hall calls the best team he’s had in the past five years. Seebacher has had three top five finishes this season, including a victory in the American Heartland Tournament in November. Seebacher said the early success is a result of the hard work she has been putting into her game.
“I’ve been bowling for a long time and have been working on getting better on sports shot. The success just shows there’s something to prove for all of my hard work,” she said.
Seebacher may be in for a pleasant surprise after the season thanks to the hard work she’s put in on her game, according to her coach.
“She doesn’t realize it, but odds are she will be named to all conference team as well, and that’s chosen by the coaches within the conference based on average and finish,” Hall said.
Going into the tournament, collegebowling.com has the men’s team ranked at 100 in their weekly power rankings, and the women’s team comes in ranked slightly higher at 71.