The Nebraska bowling team started out its quest for back-to-back national championships this weekend at the Crusader Classic in Valparaiso, Ind. The Huskers finished second out of 14 teams at the event, falling to Arkansas State, 4-1, in the championship match.
Nebraska Head Coach Bill Straub was impressed with the overall team performance during the weekend event, noting that there were a lot of new faces bowling for the Huskers.
“It was our first event this year. We had a lot of new people out that have never played collegiate bowling before,” Straub said. “There was a very good field this weekend, so finishing second is something (our team) can certainly feel proud of. Saying that, we need to go home and keep developing.”
Leading the Huskers to the second-place finish was reigning first-team NTCA All-American and Most Valuable Bowler of the NCAA Championships Liz Kuhlkin. The junior New York native placed second overall in the individual standings, averaging an impressive 206 throughout the weekend, earning all-tournament honors.
“Liz is just real good. She, like everybody else is still knocking some of the rust off due to not playing in a while,” Straub said. “Overall her performance was certainly nice.”
Kuhlkin was really happy with how she and the team performed at the Crusader Classic, noting that it felt great finally playing some new competition, after practicing against teammates for over a month.
“It felt great to get back. It is always great to get back to competition after you have been off the lanes for a few months,” Kuhlkin said. “It really puts the team to a test for how we will react. This weekend went very smoothly with that.”
Even though the Huskers didn’t start their 2013-14 season off with a tournament win, Kuhlkin still took a lot of positives from the completion, and believes that the team has a very bright future ahead.
“A second-place finish for the first time bowling together as a new group is a fantastic way to start the season,” Kuhlkin said. “I think our performance shows that a bright future is ahead for the team.”
Kuhlkin wasn’t the only Husker to finish in the top five of the individual standings as redshirt freshman April Campbell took third, averaging a tremendous score of 203 which also placed her on the all-tournament team. Campbell, a Bellevue native, really impressed Straub with her performance over the weekend. Especially considering it was her first collegiate tournament of her career.
“(Campbell) had a terrific performance this weekend,” Straub said. “It is hard to tell how she is going to do in her first meet collegiately with her being a redshirt freshman. She really performed splendidly at this event.”
The Huskers will be back in action in two weeks as they prepare for their lone home event of the year. The Huskers will be hosting the Big Red Invitational at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nov. 21-23. Check Huskers.com for updates regarding the Big Red Invitational and Nebraska bowling.