The N.C. A&T bowling goes selfie Wednesday afternoon at Brunswick Zone Carolier. try to win the school's first-ever NCAA national championship.
When Strombeck arrived in Greensboro from Durham N.C. A&T had won only 32 times in 141 tries over the previous two seasons. Strombeck, who comes from a family of bowlers, certainly had other college options. Instead of choosing those other options, she decided to be the cornerstone of a once proud program that had fallen on hard times.
Four years later she has a resume that makes her the undisputed greatest bowler in school history with four first-team all-conference recognitions, the MEAC Rookie of the Year award in 2012-13, N.C. A&T Female Freshman of the Year honor, MEAC Bowler of the Year as a sophomore and junior, N.C. A&T Female Athlete of the Year as a sophomore and junior and she is a two-time National Tenpin Coaches Association All-American.
After Strombeck came fellow All-American MacKenzie Robinson and Kristin Shinn. Sophomore Kori Smith came two years after Strombeck. All of sudden the Aggies had the nucleus for a championship team – a national championship team. The Aggies won the 2015 were crowned national champions at the Intercollegiate Team Championships sponsored by the USBC. As the Aggies arrived in New Jersey on Wednesday in an effort to win the university’s first-ever NCAA national championship, Strombeck sounded like a lady gladly telling the nation the Aggies are no longer that team she signed up for in 2012.
“When I got here the program was really going through a tough spot,” said Strombeck Wednesday at a press conference. “My freshman year we just wanted to get to .500 to show the program was viable. My freshman year we got to .500 (49-48) and it just took off from there.”
Therefore, Strombeck and her teammates aren’t willing to take a back seat to any of the other seven teams at the NCAA championships.
“It helps to know we’ve played all the teams that are here this year, and we have beat all the teams who are here this year,” said Strombeck. “It’s not like we’re going to come in here the eighth seed and scared of everyone. That’s not the case. We’re going to be ready to bowl.”
N.C. A&T is ranked eighth in the nation by NTCA. They come in with a school-record 79 wins to go along with 38 losses. The Aggies are the eighth seed behind No. 1 Nebraska followed by Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, McKendree and Central Missouri. The Aggies have nine wins against the field including a 3-1 record against No. 3 seed Vanderbilt.
Competition begins with qualifying rounds in which each team bowls one five-person regular team game against each of the other seven participating teams. Teams will be seeded for bracket play based on their win-loss record during the qualifying rounds. At the conclusion of the qualifying rounds, teams will then compete in best-of-seven Baker matches in the double elimination tournament.
In the Baker format, each of the five team members, in order, bowls a complete frame until a complete (10-frame) game is bowled. A Baker match tied at 3½ a piece after seven games will be decided by a tiebreaker using the Modified Baker format.
“When I came in four years ago we only had five people and no one knew who we really were and what our program was about,” said Strombeck. “It took us a good two years to rebuild which is what I came here to do. My goal before I left here was to compete for an NCAA title, so I’m really happy we accomplished that goal. Now we want to win it.”
COURTESY NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION