SHSU bowling team begins season, hopes to make NCAA tournament
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 01:09
With the Sam Houston Bowling team’s motto being “redemption” this year, head coach Brad Hagen and his girls look to forget barely missing the NCAA tournament last year and come back strong.
The team lost three seniors, who all contributed greatly in the team’s success. Luckily, they gained five new bowlers, including two transfers, in their place who have made it clear that they are hungry for a national championship.
“This is where I wanted to go to continue bowling and my education,” Becca Pittser said, who transferred from McKendree University. “I can reach both my bowling and my educational goals here.”
The other transfer, Kelsey Smith, transferred from Arkansas State, who competed with Sam Houston last season.
“Ever since my freshman year I had been stuck between Sam Houston and Arkansas State,” Smith said. “I’m glad I’m here, but I’m glad we can still be friends with Arkansas.”
The three returnees are senior Michelle Secours and juniors Neishka Cardona and Kimi Davidson. They will continue to pursue what they sought after last year.
“We are going to win a national title,” Davidson said. “We are carrying intensity and we are pushing each other to go 110 percent and we hope to not end up in the same place as last year.”
Freshmen Anna Grove, Erin Brown and Hannah Harrison make up the rest of the transfers who said that they have settled in nicely.
“The staff members [are the reason I came to Sam Houston],” Erin Brown said. “I love the fact that Sam Houston is not a small campus, but it also is not a big campus.”
Hagen was one of the biggest reasons the new bowlers feel settled in here at Sam Houston.
“I loved the campus when I first visited. Talking to Coach Hagen and being able to get involved really made me love Sam Houston,” Hannah Harrison said.
Over the summer, Hagen was included on the Bowlers Journal International 7th annual 100 Top Coaches list.
“Humbling,” Hagen said. “That list is made by a professional committee and to be a part of that is humbling. There are coaches on this list that I looked up to and it is really to be on that same list as those other coaches around the world.”
Hagen has done nothing but good for the Sam Houston bowling team. The Bearkats became the first program to earn a berth in the NCAA Elite Eight in its first season as a team in in the 2010-11 season, in which they finished the season ranked no. 8 nationally. Last year, they finished ranked no. 9, barely missing the tournament.
Hagen said that he and the team are going to take a different approach to get the tournament this season.
“We are going to take one step at a time to get to where we want to be,” Hagen said. “We are not going to get ahead of ourselves and we are going to take care of the present before anything else. We are going to focus on our motto.”
With their new mindset, Hagen and his team are going to work harder than ever to bring home a championship to Sam Houston State University.