Defending national champs UMES capture Hawk Classic title in thriller
MILLSBORO, Del. -- After leading almost the entire tournament, Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) got four critical strikes in game seven of the championship match to best the University of Central Missouri (UCM) 4-3 and claim their second Hawk Classic title.
UMES last won the Hawk Classic in 2010. They went on that year to have arguably the best season ever in women's collegiate bowling, winning the 2011 MEAC, NCAA and USBC Collegiate titles.
This year though is different than the others, new head coach Kristina Frahm was at the helm and juggled her lineup each day, going with who she thought had the hot hand. The Hawks started Sunday with a 4.5-1.5 loss to the same UCM team they topped on Day Two. They came back though and topped Vanderbilt 4-3, setting up a rematch with the Jennies. It was hard fought, but in the end UMES came out on top getting one critical strike from Anggie Ramirez in the ninth and three even bigger ones from T'nia Falbo in the 10th to secure the win.
"It was a tough match," said Frahm. "These girls are clutch and when it mattered and it came down to the wire they threw strikes and that is what helped us get this win."
In the championship match UMES inserted Valentina Collazos and Victoria Jones into the line-up at the first and third positions respectively, a move they had made earlier against Vanderbilt. It seemed to work for the most part, but open frames and splits took their toll on the Hawks and they reinserted freshman Kristie Lopez back into the lead-off position for the final two games of the match. It worked.
The two teams split the first pair of games with UCM taking game one 225-183 and UMES winning game two 222-207. They carried the momentum through game three with a 190-180 win but the Jennies rebounded to get game four 236-214. UMES responded with a 226-189 win and UCM with a 207-192 win. During that sixth game Lopez was reinserted and her strikes propelled UMES onward.
In the final game the Hawks were cruising until the eighth frame when Jones split, leaving the 6-7-10, getting two on the spare attempt. That gave UCM the window they needed. They took a lead but UMES held close. Ramirez calmly struck in the ninth bettering the Jennies spare. It came down to the anchor spot and Falbo needed a pair. Her first ball carried all 10 pins but the UCM anchor went Brooklyn, also collecting all 10 pins. Falbo struck again, forcing the Jennies to do so as well, but they got only eight and the spare. Falbo needed just three pins for the win, but she got all 10 anyway.
"I am so proud of them," added Frahm. "It is our first full tournament of the year and to get the win and see the hard work pay off is great."
Following the match, Ramirez was awarded the high game of the tournament award for her career best 279 from Saturday.
Central Missouri, Vanderbilt, Fairleigh Dickinson and Stephen F. Austin rounded out the top five finishers. Adelphi, Sam Houston State, Sacred Heart, Kutztown and Valparaiso finished six through 10 respectively. New Jersey City, Saint Francis (N.Y.), Norfolk State, Monmouth, Howard, Delaware State, Hampton and Morgan State rounded out the field.
Natalie Jiminez and Mary Wells from UCM, Kimi Davidson from Sam Houston State, Danielle McEwan from FDU and Amanda Fry from Vanderbilt were named to the All-Tournament Team and received their awards from UMES Hall of Fame coach Sharon Brummell who was on hand for the final two days of the championship.