NEB BOWLING: Huskers Head to Florida for Season Opener - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

NEB BOWLING: Huskers Head to Florida for Season Opener

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

#1 Nebraska Cornhuskers
at Wildcat Invitational

Friday-Sunday, October 21-23, 9 a.m., 9 a.m., 8:30 a.m. (CT) – Orlando, Fla. (Boardwalk Bowl)

Huskers Head to Florida for Season Opener
The top-ranked Nebraska bowling team opens its season this Friday through Sunday at the Wildcat Invitational at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The tournament is hosted by Bethune-Cookman.

Fourteen teams will compete this weekend in Florida, including 10 ranked teams and two others receiving votes in the National Tenpin Coaches Association 2016-17 Preseason Poll. The top three teams in the nation and six of the top 10 teams in the preseason poll will bowl at the tournament.

The list of teams joining the Huskers in Florida this weekend includes defending NCAA champion and second-ranked Stephen F. Austin and No. 3 Arkansas State. No. 6 Sam Houston State, No. 8 North Carolina A&T and No. 10 Fairleigh Dickinson will also compete at the Wildcat Invitational this weekend. No. 11 Maryland-Eastern Shore, No. 16 Monmouth, No. 18 Tulane and No. 22 Prairie View A&M will also be in attendance. Hosts Bethune-Cookman and Alabama State received votes in the preseason poll, while Alabama A&M and Florida A&M round out the list of teams at the tournament.

Head Coach Bill Straub’s Huskers will be led by a trio of All-Americans returning for the 2016-17 season. Junior Julia Bond was a first-team NTCA All-American a season ago, and led the Huskers with a 210 average in 2015-16. Senior Gazmine Mason has been named a third-team NTCA All-American in each of the last two seasons, while fellow senior Briana Zabierek caught fire at the end of her junior season on the way to honorable-mention NTCA All-America status.

Competition begins Friday morning at 9 a.m. (CT) with five five-game Baker matches, followed by five traditional matches on Saturday morning, beginning at 9 a.m. Combined results from Friday and Saturday will determine the seeding for Sunday’s bracket-play championship tournament, in which each team will play three rounds of best-of-seven Baker matches.

Huskers Voted Preseason No. 1
Nebraska earned the top spot in the National Tenpin Coaches Association 2016-17 Preseason Poll, released on Oct. 3. The Huskers garnered eight first-place votes and 1,312 points in the poll, just ahead of 2016 NCAA champion Stephen F. Austin, which received 1,302 points. Arkansas State ranked third, while Vanderbilt and McKendree rounded out the top five.

All-Americans Return in 2016-17
A trio of NTCA All-Americans return for Nebraska in the 2016-17 season. Julia Bond earned first-team NTCA All-America honors as a sophomore in 2015-16 after earning third-team honors as a freshman. Bond led the Huskers with an average of 210 out of the anchor spot last season, finishing first overall at the NCAA Championship with an average of 228.4. Gazmine Mason earned third-team NTCA All-America accolades for the second-consecutive year after posting a season average of 204.4 as a junior in 2015-16. Briana Zabierek earned honorable-mention All-America honors as a junior last season after averaging 203.6 on the year.

Seniors Look to Finish on Top in 2017
Gazmine Mason, Alexandra Mosquera and Briana Zabierek have each won an NCAA championship and been members of two NCAA runner-up squads and are looking to capture the NCAA title again in 2017. Mason, a two-time NTCA All-American, posted one victory and two top-five finishes a season ago, while Zabierek earned NTCA honorable-mention All-America honors after notching two top-five finishes last season. Alexandra Mosquera has provided valuable depth throughout her Husker career, but looks to take a step forward and become a consistent contributor as a senior.

Junior Class Hopes to Take Next Step This Season
Juniors Julia Bond and Kelly Belzeski were a large part of Nebraska’s success in 2015-16, and each hopes to reach new heights this year. Bond earned two individual victories last season, including a first-place finish with a score of 228.4 at the NCAA Championship. She was a first-team All-American in 2015-16 and was the Most Outstanding Bowler at the 2015 NCAA Championship. Belzeski participated in nine of Nebraska’s 10 events a season ago and averaged a shade under 200 for the year. She looks to grab ahold of a top-five roster spot as a junior this season in hopes of helping Nebraska to another NCAA title.

Four Huskers Prepared to Step Up in Second Season
Sophomore Meghan Straub and redshirt freshmen Kelly Huddleston, Julie Lohman and Allison Morris added depth to the Big Red in 2015-16 and each will take on an increased role this season. Straub, the daughter of Nebraska Head Coach Bill and three-time All-American Kim (Berke) Straub, saw action in eight of Nebraska’s 10 events last season and added a top-10 finish at the Warhawk Invitational. Huddleston, Lohman and Morris each took a redshirt season and added valuable depth to the Huskers in 2015-16.

Freshmen Look to Contribute to Nebraska’s Success in 2016-17
Raquel Orozco, from Tijuana, Mexico, and Estefania Prieto, from Bogota, Colombia, join the Nebraska program as freshmen in 2016-17, with each bringing international experience to the Huskers. Orozco is a six-time Mexican national champion who represented her country at the 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships this summer at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln. Prieto competed for her country in multiple junior events, and was the 2012 Central America and Caribbean Sub-16 Champion.

Huskers Gain International Experience in 2016
Gazmine Mason and Julia Bond were selected to Junior Team USA for the 2016 season at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Team USA Trials held in early January. Bond and Mason represented the United States at the 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships, held July 24-August 3 at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln. Freshman Raquel Orozco also competed at the tournament for her native Mexico. Mason earned gold medals in singles and all-events, silver in doubles and team-of-four and bronze in masters, while Bond earned silver medals in doubles and team-of-four and bronze in singles.

Kuhlkin Sets Record with Three-Game Series Score of 890
Lizabeth Kuhlkin, a Husker from 2011 to 2015, set a USBC women’s record with a three-game series score of 890, which she bowled on Monday, Oct. 17 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial League at Towne Bowling Academy in Schenectady, N.Y. Kuhlkin, a member of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, was a three-time All-American and the 2015 National Collegiate Player of the Year for the Big Red.

Looking Ahead
Nebraska will return to action at the KAT Klash the weekend of Nov. 4-6 in Houston, Texas. The Huskers have won the past two editions of the Klash, which is hosted by 2014 NCAA champion Sam Houston State. Julia Bond and Gazmine Mason posted top-five finishes and earned spots on the all-tournament team at the tournament a season ago, as Bond finished third in the individual standings with a 214.4 average and Mason placed fifth with a 208.6 average.

Wildcat Invitational - Teams Competing
Nebraska
Bethune-Cookman
Alabama A&M
Alabama State
Arkansas State
Fairleigh Dickinson
Florida A&M
Maryland-Eastern Shore
Monmouth
North Carolina A&T
Prairie View A&M
Sam Houston State
Stephen F. Austin
Tulane

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