CHESAPEAKE, Va.,—Behind a clutch final frame from freshman Chloe Skurzynski, Maryland Eastern Shore defeated North Carolina A&T State 4-3 on Sunday to win the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Bowling Championship at the AMF Lanes.
The Hawks won their 10th MEAC title overall and second in three years.
North Carolina A&T State, the No. 2 seed and defending champion, had the lead heading into the final frame, and Skurzynski needed two strikes to give the Hawks the comeback win. She converted on her first two attempts of the final frame, giving Maryland Eastern Shore 208 to the Aggies’ 200.
Skurzynski was named the tournament’s Outstanding Performer.
The finish was the culmination of what had been a tightly-contested, back-and-forth affair. These two teams met in the final for the third year in a row, and the Aggies threw the opening salvo to the tune of a 221-179 win. North Carolina A&T State had strikes in frames 7, 8 and 9, before Ana Olaya struck and spared in the final frame.
But the Hawks bounced back to take the second game 189-185, before the Aggies won the third game – 212-156 – by virtue of having no open frames.
Sturzynski shined in the end of the fourth game, giving a preview of what was to come, going strike-spare in the final frame to give the Hawks a 192-184 win to tie the Baker best-of-seven match at two apiece.
The Hawks carried that momentum into the fifth game, taking advantage of the Aggies leaving the seventh frame open by recording strikes in frames 8 and 9 to win the game 200-178 and take a 3-2 lead in the match.
But North Carolina A&T State converted on frames 1 through 9 in game six to tie the match at 3-3, setting up the decisive fourth game. Maryland Eastern Shore opened the final game with three straight strikes, before the Aggies stormed back with three straight strikes of their own in frames 5, 6 and 7.
The Hawks left the seventh frame open, seemingly opening the door for the Aggies. Instead, it set up Skurzynski’s heroics.
Kayla Bandy of Maryland Eastern Shore was named the tournament’s Outstanding Coach. Joining Skurzynski on the All-Tournament Team were teammate Brigitte Jacobs, Delaware State’s Alexis Neuer, and Olaya and Ericka Quesada from North Carolina A&T State.
The Hawks earn the MEAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA National Bowling Championship. The NCAA selection show will be Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST, streamed live on NCAA.com.
Fans can watch the championship match on ESPNU via rebroadcast on Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m. EST.