NCAA Bowling

Vandy Freshmen Help Dores Climb the Leaderboard

Vandy Freshmen Help Dores Climb the Leaderboard

SMYRNA, Tenn. — A pair of freshmen stole a piece of the Senior Weekend spotlight and highlighted Vanderbilt’s fifth-place standing after the first day of qualifying at the Music City Classic.

Haley Lindley and Natalie Kent played key roles in the Commodores’ 4-0 won-loss mark. Vandy downed Central Missouri, Wright State, Marian and McKendree.

Jacksonville State led the 33-team field, followed by Arkansas State, Sam Houston and North Carolina A&T, which edge Vanderbilt by five pins.

History shows that the Commodores have generally gotten off to plodding starts and this year was no exception. The Dores could muster just 932 pins in their first Baker Game (a bye due to a team dropping out of the tournament) that put them in 11th place and over 200 pins behind the leader. They totaled just 958 in a win over Central Missouri.

“We started a little slow and that seems characteristic for our home tournament,” head coach John Williamson said later. “But we settled in and competed well.”

The tournament—one of the nation’s biggest and the 20th annual—featured several special touches, most notably the attendance of Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, who threw the ceremonial first ball to an appreciative reception from the crowd. Sprinkled throughout the crowd during the day was a number of Commodore bowling alumni.

Kent, who had finished third on these lanes a week ago in the U.S. Bowling Comission Intercollegiate Singles sectional, was in the rotation from the git-go for the first time this season and she responded well. Williamson said her strong showing last week was not a big factor in the thinking to start her.

“She’s been throwing it well in practice, and she had a good look on the pattern” he said. “We thought she would strike a lot. Last week was not a major factor, it was more about what she was doing in practice.”

Kent said she had some nerves at the beginning but also a feeling of confidence.

“I felt like I had a good look and was pretty comfortable with where I was playing so I was confident in that,” she said. “I tend to be nervous in the beginning. I think that’s pretty common for bowlers in general but once I saw my ball reaction, I became more confident in it.”

“Last week definitely helped my confidence,” Kent continued. “I saw that I can be comfortable. I started coming out of the nervousness and knew coming back here I could be confident.”

Natalie was also spurred on by a big family…

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