LEBANON — McKendree University sophomore bowler Riley Smith finished in a tie for ninth place at the North Point Junior Gold Championships in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Smith reached double-elimination bracket play by finishing ninth in the 25-game qualifying block throughout the action last week. Smith took on eighth-seeded Darren Tang in the opening round and scored a 455-384 victory to advance in the winner's bracket. In the second round Smith faced the tournament's top seed, Nick Krumi, and was dealt a 431-321 setback for his first loss of the day.
Next up for Smith was a meeting in the third round with Ryan Zagar, the seventh seed in the 16-team field. Just nine pins separated the two, with Zagar scratching out a 364-355 victory to end the tournament for Smith.
Bowlers at the North Pointe Junior Gold Championships were competing for slots on the 2014 Junior Team USA. Smith was bidding to become the second McKendree bowler in three years to grab a spot on the national team. Smith's current junior teammate Adam (A.J.) Johnson was one of the 12 bowlers who competed for the 2012 Junior Team USA.
Smith used a strong finish in the 25-game qualifying block to reach the 16-man, double-elimination bracket in the 20-and-under division at Sunnybrook Lanes in the Detroit suburbs. Smith closed qualifying play with a total of 5,210 pins and landed in ninth place at the conclusion of Thursday's action. More than 1,000 bowlers began qualifying play on Monday.
Smith was a member of the McKendree University men's bowling team that posted a runner-up finish at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships in April. That marked the highest finish ever for the Bearcat men's program at the national tournament.
Two other McKendree bowlers placed in the top 40 during qualifying play but did not reach the double-elimination bracket round. Johnson finished in 22nd place with a total of 5,061 pins, while junior Steven Jarvis took 36th place with 5,013 pins. Johnson was a member of Junior Team USA for 2012.
The McKendree University women's bowling team has been recognized for its achievements in the classroom during the 2012-13 academic year by the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA).
The NTCA recently announced its second annual list of Grade-Point Average Award winners. McKendree was among the 23 institutions who received the 2012-13 honor based on the cumulative GPA of the squad for the past academic year. The Bearcats' bowling squad combined for a 3.34 GPA last year.
"This is a great accomplishment for our team," said McKendree women's bowling coach Danielle Belobraydich. "It shows the commitment that our student-athletes made both on the lanes and in the classroom. We take pride in working hard throughout the year, and this honor shows that determination."
The McKendree University women's bowling team qualified for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships for the ninth consecutive year back in the spring.