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Ralph Ventre | | April 14, 2016

Sam Houston St. leads the field after Day 1

2016 Championship: Qualifying Round, Block One Recap

NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The Garden State was fertile ground for a team from Texas on Thursday.

Sam Houston State topped the eight-participant field by winning four of five preliminary round matches during the opening day of the 2016 NCAA Bowling Championship at BrunswickZone Carolier Lanes.

“We were looking to start solidly and gain some information [on lane play] during the first couple matches,” said SHSU head coach Brad Hagen. “We’ve been health-stricken at times this season, so we wanted to use this first day to build some momentum mentally.”

The Bearkats still have ways to go if they hope to repeat the feat they accomplished in 2014 when they captured the national crown in Wickliffe, Ohio.

Unfolding in New Jersey for the second time in event history, and hosted by the Somerset-headquartered Northeast Conference, the 2016 NCAA Championship will play out over three days.

MORE: Complete spring championship selection show schedule

Nebraska looks to defend the NCAA title it won last April in St. Louis. The Huskers, who fell to Fairleigh Dickinson in the 2010 championship final at Carolier Lanes, own a record five national crowns.

In addition to Nebraska and SHSU, Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas State, Central Missouri and Vanderbilt return from last year's field. McKendree and North Carolina A&T are contesting the event for the first time in program history.

After two more rounds of preliminary round play on Friday morning, the tournament format will move to double-elimination championship bracket play in the afternoon. The results from preliminary round competition will determine the bracket’s seeding.

The 2016 NCAA Championship Final is set for Saturday, April 16 at 6:30 pm ET and will air live on ESPNU.

NCAA softball tournament: Sam Houston State stuns No. 9 Texas in Austin regional

Junior Tiffany Thompson hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning, and senior Lindsey McLeod tossed six shutout innings as Sam Houston State stunned No. 9 Texas 2-1 in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament’s Austin Regional Friday at Red and Susan McCombs Stadium.

7 teams on the cusp of conference titles no one saw coming

Well, you can send those predictions through the paper shredder. The conference races are down to their final days – if they’re not settled already – and one thing is clear. A lot of pre-season forecasts were looking the wrong direction.

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