Kelly Belzeski and the Huskers head to Wisconsin this weekend for the Warhawk Invitational.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Travel to Wisconsin for Warhawk Invitational

By NU Athletic Communications

#1 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Warhawk Invitational

Friday-Sunday, Nov. 11-13, 11 a.m., 9:35 a.m., 8 a.m. (CT) – Kenosha, Wis. (Sheridan Lanes)

Huskers Travel to Wisconsin for Warhawk Invitational
The top-ranked Nebraska bowling team has its sights set on its first tournament championship of the season this Friday through Sunday at the Warhawk Invitational at Sheridan Lanes in Kenosha, Wis. The tournament is hosted by Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the Cornhuskers won the title last season. The Warhawk Invitational is the last tournament the Huskers will compete in during the 2016 calendar year.

Eighteen teams will compete this weekend in Wisconsin, including 13 ranked teams and one other team receiving votes in the National Tenpin Coaches Association 2016-17 Preseason Poll. The top five teams in the nation and 10 of the top 15 teams in the preseason poll will be represented at the tournament.

The list of teams joining the Huskers in Wisconsin this weekend includes second-ranked Stephen F. Austin, No. 3 Arkansas State, No. 4 Vanderbilt and No. 5 McKendree. Ninth-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater and No. 10 Fairleigh Dickinson are also top-10 teams that will also bowl in Wisconsin. No. 13 LIU Brooklyn, No. 14 Sacred Heart, No. 15 St. Francis (Pa.), No. 19 Adelphi, No. 21 Valparaiso and No. 25 Elmhurst will also be in attendance. Lincoln Memorial received votes in the preseason poll, while Aurora, Lincoln (Mo.), Maryville and Nebraska Wesleyan round out the list of teams competing in the tournament.

The Huskers are coming off of a runner-up finish at the KAT Klash last weekend. Gazmine Mason led the way for NU, finishing 11th overall with an average of 206.2. Kelly Belzeski added her second-consecutive top-20 finish, posting a 198 average, good for 20th overall. The Big Red fell to hosts Sam Houston State in the championship match, but posted a strong record of 10-3 on the weekend.

Competition begins Friday morning at 11 a.m. (CT) with five sets of five-game Baker matches, followed by five traditional matches on Saturday morning, beginning at 9:35 a.m. Combined results from Friday and Saturday will determine the seeding for Sunday’s bracket-play championship tournament, in which each team will play three rounds of best-of-seven Baker matches, beginning at 8 a.m.

Warhawk Invitational Notes
The Huskers won the Warhawk Invitational last season, after having not competed at a tournament hosted by Wisconsin-Whitewater since winning the title at the 2008 edition. NU swept Central Missouri in the championship match, 4-0, last season. Nebraska’s team average of 1,072.6 at the tournament last season was good for eighth-most in school history. Julia Bond finished second overall with a career-high average of 229, while Briana Zabierek finished third with an average of 225.2. The Huskers also competed at tournaments hosted by Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. Shannon Pluhowsky’s Nebraska record for single-tournament average of 254 came at the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational on Nov. 9, 2003. Nebraska also has ties to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst is a 1990 graduate of Wisconsin-Whitewater and served as the Director of Athletics for UWW from 1999 to 2003.

Huskers Finish Second at KAT Klash
Nebraska posted its highest finish of the season at the KAT Klash last weekend at Emerald Lanes in Houston. The Huskers went 9-1 over the first two days of competition, leading the tournament heading into the final day. The Huskers dropped their opening round match in the championship tournament, but rebounded with a win over fourth-ranked Vanderbilt to reach the final. Sam Houston State defeated the Huskers by a score of 4.5-1.5 to win the title. NU went 10-3 overall during the tournament, defeating eight ranked teams. Gazmine Mason posted a 206.2 average to lead the Big Red.

Huskers Open Season with Fifth-Place Finish
Nebraska opened its season with a fifth-place finish at the Wildcat Invitational at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando, Fla., the weekend of Oct. 21-23. NU defeated 16th-ranked Monmouth in the fifth-place match, one of three ranked teams the Huskers took down on the weekend. NU went 6-6 overall during the tournament.

Bond Posts Top-Five Finish
Junior Julia Bond led the way for the Huskers in the individual standings at the Wildcat Invitational, finishing fifth-overall with a 220.2 average. Bond now has nine top-five finishes in her career. Kelly Belzeski finished with an average of 192.6, which was good for 15th overall. Meghan Straub added a top-20 finish, earning the 18th spot with a 190.2 average, while Gazmine Mason finished 21st with a 189.4 average. Briana Zabierek, Allison Morris and Raquel Orozco also participated at the tournament to help the Huskers earn the fifth-place finish in Florida.

Huskers Voted Preseason No. 1
Nebraska earned the top spot in the National Tenpin Coaches Association 2016-17 Preseason Poll, released on Oct. 3. The Huskers garnered eight first-place votes and 1,312 points in the poll, just ahead of 2016 NCAA champion Stephen F. Austin, which received 1,302 points. Arkansas State ranked third, while Vanderbilt and McKendree rounded out the top five.

All-Americans Return in 2016-17
A trio of NTCA All-Americans return for Nebraska in the 2016-17 season. Julia Bond earned first-team NTCA All-America honors as a sophomore in 2015-16 after earning third-team honors as a freshman. Bond led the Huskers with an average of 210 out of the anchor spot last season, finishing first overall at the NCAA Championship with an average of 228.4. Gazmine Mason earned third-team NTCA All-America accolades for the second-consecutive year after posting a season average of 204.4 as a junior in 2015-16. Briana Zabierek earned honorable-mention All-America honors as a junior last season after averaging 203.6 on the year.

Huskers Gain International Experience in 2016
Gazmine Mason and Julia Bond were selected to Junior Team USA for the 2016 season at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Team USA Trials held in early January. Bond and Mason represented the United States at the 2016 World Bowling Youth Championships, held July 24-August 3 at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln. Freshman Raquel Orozco also competed at the tournament for her native Mexico. Mason earned gold medals in singles and all-events, silver in doubles and team-of-four and bronze in masters, while Bond earned silver medals in doubles and team-of-four and bronze in singles.

Kuhlkin Sets Record with Three-Game Series Score of 890
Lizabeth Kuhlkin, a Husker from 2011 to 2015, set a USBC women’s record with a three-game series score of 890, which she bowled on Monday, Oct. 17 in the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial League at Towne Bowling Academy in Schenectady, N.Y. Kuhlkin, a member of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, was a three-time All-American and the 2015 National Collegiate Player of the Year for the Big Red.

Looking Ahead
Following winter break, the Huskers will return to action at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Ark., the weekend of Jan. 13-15, 2017. NU finished seventh at the 2016 edition of the tournament, after finishing in the top five every year in which it had competed from 2007 to 2015. The Huskers won the tournament in 2013.

Warhawk Invitational - Teams Competing
No. 1 Nebraska
No. 2 Stephen F. Austin
No. 3 Arkansas State
No. 4 Vanderbilt
No. 5 McKendree
No. 9 Wisconsin-Whitewater
No. 10 Fairleigh Dickinson
No. 13 LIU Brooklyn
No. 14 Sacred Heart
No. 15 St. Francis (Pa.)
No. 19 Adelphi
No. 21 Valparaiso
No. 25 Elmhurst
Lincoln Memorial (RV)
Lincoln (Mo.)
Nebraska Wesleyan


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