The defending NCAA Champion Nebraska bowling team opens its 2013-14 season this weekend at the Crusader Classic in Valparaiso, Ind.
The tournament starts Friday morning with six sets of Baker games and concludes Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with Baker Match Play.
Nebraska Coach Bill Straub said he was excited to get the season rolling with an experienced group of Huskers.
“The best thing about going into this weekend is out of the six starters that were on the nationalcChampionship team last spring, four are going to be on the bus ride with us to Valparaiso,” Straub said. “On the flip side, three of the seven people who are traveling with us to play are either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen.”
Straub said the team is ready to take on outside competition after practicing against each other for more than a month.
“They are getting real tired of scrimmaging against one and another,” Straub said. “They want to scrimmage against somebody wearing a different colored shirt. We hope they are ready for it.”
Kuhlkin Eager to Start Where She Left Off
Returning first-team NTCA All-American Liz Kuhlkin is set to return to the lanes for the Huskers in 2013-14. The junior from New York is the returning high scorer for NU, as she recorded a team-high 214.9 average throughout the season, before taking her game to an even higher level with a 219.8 average at the NCAA Championships.
“My thoughts going into this season is to keep a level head. It can always be easy to fall into a sense of comfort after proving to be the best in the country,” Kuhlkin said. “Overall, I am very excited about this year, and I have confidence and faith in the ability of everyone. I am looking forward to another successful year.”
During the 2012-13 regular season, Kuhlkin captured a team-best four all-tournament selections, including the Mid-Winter Classic (Jan. 11-13) where Kuhlkin bowled a 218.8 average with total pinfall of 1,094. At Nebraska's next tournament, the Prairie View A&M Invite (Feb. 1-3), Kuhlkin continued to dominate with a 209.8 average (1,049 total pinfall).
Kuhlkin also helped the Huskers sweep the field at the Central Missouri Women’s Bowling Invitational (March 1-3), with a season-high average of 238.4.
A standout in the classroom as well, Kuhlkin earned academic All-Big Ten honors, while earning spots on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in the fall and spring semesters of 2012-13.
Campbell, Mosquera, Zabierek to Make Debuts
Three new faces join the Husker travel roster to open the 2013-14 season. Redshirt freshmen April Campbell and Alexandra Mosquera, will make their collegiate debuts, along with true freshman Briana Zabierek.
Campbell, a Bellevue, Neb., native used the 2012-13 season to improve her consistency and overall skills on the lanes. Campbell was a standout for the Thunder Birds, capturing all-state honors as a senior in 2011-12. She averaged 210 per game as a senior, including a personal-best 299-game three times.
After experiencing international success over the past two years for her home country of Colombia, Mosquera could provide an instant spark to Nebraska in 2013-14. Mosquera, a member on the Colombian National Team, won an individual gold medal at the 2013 Pan Am Games.
“She represented her country at the Pan American Games and won a gold medal - for individual all-events,” Straub said. “That means by defining it that way, she was the most successful individual at the Pan Am Games. That is a very high honor.”
Zabierek joins the Nebraska bowling team after compiling a tremendous high school career at Lockport Township East in Illinois. She posted a high sanctioned series score of 747, while earning two top-20 state finishes in high school.
Zabierek placed 14th in 2012 and 23rd in 2013, while also recording a school-record 211 average during her high school career.