TOWSON, Md. - - The Wilmington University bowling team won its final two matches in Bracket Play on Sunday to claim seventh at the James Brown Invitational over the weekend, bowling at the AMF Towson Lanes hosted by Morgan State University.
The Wildcats went into Sunday's bracket play in seventh place following full days of Baker Match play (Friday) and five Traditional Matches (Saturday).
The Wildcats dropped a close 4-3 decision to Howard in the first Bracket Match on Sunday, battling from a 3-1 deficit to tie the match, 3-3. The seventh game didn't go Wilmington's way, however, falling 172-152 to the Bison. The Wildcats then met nationally No. 19 Mount St. Mary's in the next Bracket Match, this time battling back from down 2-1 to win the next three games and the match, 4-2. They completed the win with a match high 224 pins in the sixth game.
Battling for seventh place in their final Bracket Match, the Wildcats met up with Howard once again, and once again the match went the distance. The Wildcats found themselves down 3-1, but recovered with a 243-175 victory in the fifth game, then tied the match with a 166-161 win in the sixth game. The Wildcats completed the comeback with a 183-169 victory in the seventh game to win the match, 4-3, and take seventh overall.
The Wildcats were seventh overall going into Sunday, knocking down 4,463 pins in five Traditional Matches on Saturday, going 1-4 in head-to-head games. Wilmington set a new Traditional Match program record in their lone win on Saturday, defeating Howard, 982-918, in their third match of the day. Their previous high was 955 pins at the James Brown Invitational last year.
Individually, the Wildcats were led by Rachel Hirst's 190.6 average, finishing 16th among the 96 bowlers. She bowled a team best 212 in the second match of the day against nationally No. 23 Duquesne. She also went over 200 in the team's win over Howard, knocking down 209 pins. Her five-match total of 953 pins ranks fifth most in program history. Hirst now has three of the five most five-match totals in Wildcat history.
Clare Chaffer finished 31st overall with her second best personal record of 898 total pins, bowling a 179.60 average. She finished with a day's high 198 in the team's first match against St. Francis (N.Y.).
Jocelyn Hood set a new five-match personal record on Saturday, bowling an 894 (178.80 average), besting her previous total by a single pin. She had a day's high in the team's win against Howard with a 204 game. She finished 34th overall in the tournament.
Malia Stout was the final Wildcat to bowl in all five matches on Saturday, placing 39th overall with a 176.60 average (883 total). She knocked down a day's high 192 pins in the match against St. Francis (N.Y.).
Delaware State's Stefanny Toala earned MVP hors for a five-match total of 1,053 (210.60 average), beating her teammate Alexis Neuer by two pins. UMES' Cayla Hicks finished third with 1,037 pins (207.40 average).
Nationally No. 12 Delaware State won the tournament by defeating No. 6 University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the title match, 4-1. Fairleigh Dickinson University defeated Duquesne, 4-2, for third place.
The Wildcats are off next weekend and return to action in their regular season finale starting on March 1 at the Hawk Flight Invite, hosted by Monmouth University. The three-day tournament will take place at the King Pin Bowling in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.