It was never about the third time being the charm, when Stephen F. Austin’s Stephanie Schwartz
advanced to the final round of the 2018 Intercollegiate Singles Championships at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska.
It was more about Schwartz doing what she always knew she could do.
Making her third consecutive appearance in the ISC finals, Schwartz began the title match with five consecutive strikes on her way to a 259-226 victory over Arkansas State’s Haley Richard in the ISC women’s title match.
CBS Sports Network televised the ISC women’s semifinals and title match on Tuesday evening.
“It means a lot to me to finally come through and do what I know I can do and what I’m capable of doing,” said Schwartz, who had 10 strikes and made two single-pin spares in the title match. “I don’t think its hit me yet. I think it will take a couple of days.”
Schwartz had advanced to the ISC television show each of the last two seasons but was knocked out in the semifinals each time. And this year’s semifinal proved to be a nail-biter.
In her semifinal match against Kelly Belzeski of Nebraska, Schwartz could not convert a 2-10 split in the second frame but Belzeski also would open in the fifth. The match remained close, but Schwartz had the chance to close out the match with an eight-count on her final shot.
But Schwartz got just seven pins, leaving the 3-6-10, for a 201 tie to force a deciding two-frame roll-off.
“I say I choked – I know I probably shouldn’t say that,” Schwartz said. “But I knew I could do it and it just fired me up to do better.”
Schwartz took advantage when Belzeski missed on a single-pin spare in the first frame of the roll-off to advance, 40-28, to the title match.
Richard made the final match with a 224-202 victory over Vanderbilt’s Kristin Quah. Richard struck on five of her first six shots and while Quah, who had a 7-10 split in the fourth, fought back with four consecutive strikes, she could not catch Richard.
As for Schwartz, she never imagined getting a college scholarship to bowl. At Stephen F. Austin, her team won an NCAA Women’s College Bowling national title in 2016 a year after a runner-up finish.
“And now, I finally got an individual title, and it’s awesome,” Schwartz said. “My career has been great and I’m ready to move onto the next step. But I will be sad to be leaving.”
She has another semester in school but plans to compete on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour, starting with the United States Bowling Congress Queens in May.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait,” she said. “Hopefully, I can bowl all summer long and have a good career out there.”
CBS Sports Network will broadcast three more shows from the collegiate national championships held at Sun Valley Lanes. The Intercollegiate Singles Championships men’s final will air May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The Intercollegiate Team Championships women’s final will be televised on May 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern and the men’s team final will air May 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Twenty-four women earned spots in the ISC field by qualifying through one of four sectional events in March. The national competition at Sun Valley Lanes consisted of six qualifying games to determine seeding for the single-elimination match-play bracket. Bracket matches were three games, with total pinfall determining the winner.
BOWL.com’s BowlTV provided live coverage of the ISC leading up to the finals on CBS Sports Network. For more information on the Intercollegiate Singles Championships, click here.
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