Wright State women’s bowling wins first tournament title since joining NCAA

Beofre this season, Raiders competed for many years as a club team

It was more than a win for the Raiders, it was a much-needed morale booster.

The Wright State women won their first tournament since joining the NCAA ranks this season, winning the Raider Classic at Poelking Woodman Lanes on Sunday.

“It validates all the hard work we have put in for the past two months,” Raiders coach Jeff Fleck said.

The Raiders sat in second place from the field of 18 teams after completing five games of traditional bowling and 16 Baker games over two days. Trine University had a 725-pin advantage as the Thunder led all teams with 7,883. But the top four teams all advanced to the finals giving the Raiders (7,155), Notre Dame-Ohio (7,147) and Ohio State University (7,033) a shot at the title.

The Thunder continued their winning ways snagging a spot in the title match with a field-leading 794. The Raiders grabbed the second spot with 746. Ohio State and Notre Dame-Ohio finished third and fourth, respectively.

Wright State bowled its way to a slim eight-pin advantage in Game 1 against the powerhouse Trine team, 189-181, and managed to stay ahead in Game 2 to clinch the title, 376-360.

“It is definitely a morale booster and a confidence booster,” Raiders senior Zoe Paxhia-Poppaw said. “It has been a little jarring being around teams that are so much better than what we’re used to seeing.”

While the move to the NCAA was a welcome one, it has presented additional challenges and an increased level of competition.

“A lot of the NCAA teams are much more advanced than some of the club teams we used to play,” Paxhia-Poppaw said.

The perennially competitive Raiders started the season with 12th and 14th-place finishes before posting a fourth-place finish at the University of Pikeville Orange and Black Classic. Fleck has seen steady improvement by his young squad – which sports nine freshmen – in the early going this season.

“The mechanics are becoming more solid and repeatable,” he said.

It marked the fourth time in 17 years of hosting the tournament that the Wright State women have claimed the title.

The Raiders also celebrated individual success as Paxhia-Poppaw bowled her way onto the all-tournament team with a second-place finish – 987 for five games. Trine’s Jenna Beatty topped all bowlers with 996.

“Everyone stepped up and executed,” Fleck said. “And our freshmen have matured in a hurry.”

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