St. Francis-Illinois, Webber International Bowlers Claim MVP honors

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 0

DAYTON, Ohio – Abby Ragsdale, a junior at St. Francis-Illinois, and Webber International senior Matt Russo were selected by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) as the Most Valuable Players for the 2018-2019 college bowling season.

The NCBCA announced its MVPs and All-America teams during Wednesday’s Night of Champions banquet for the 32 teams that will compete in the Intercollegiate Team Championships. The tournament starts Thursday at Poelking Lanes South and all qualifying and match-play rounds will be shown live on BowlTV.com.

The International Bowling Media Association (IBMA) award winners also were announced, with Russo and Lauren Piotrowski of Pikeville selected as Collegiate Bowlers of the Year.

Ragsdale, also selected as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Player of the Year, averaged 205.25 to lead the NAIA. In the Fighting Saints’ nine events this season, she finished in the top-10 in six events and was named all-tournament at four, including taking the top honor at the Collegiate Shoot-Out.

She was the NCBCA Rookie of the Year in 2016-2017, her freshman year.

“It’s really cool because it’s seeing all your hard work, the hours you put on the lanes, pay off,” Ragsdale said. “Not only that, but the people who support you, like teammates, coaches and my family, it’s nice for them to also see it. They are always there supporting me, giving me whatever I need to succeed.”

Joining Ragsdale on the All-America first team are Caitlyn Johnson, a junior at Webber International and last season’s NCBCA MVP, junior Lauren Piotrowski and sophomore Mallory Liversedge of Pikeville, and Lindenwood senior Haley Cummings.

Madison Stiffler, a freshman at Wright State, was selected as the NCBCA Rookie of the Year and also was named to the All-America second team.

Russo, the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion, led the nation with a 225.97 average this season. He claimed individual honors at the Las Vegas Invitational, Collegiate Shoot-Out and Peach State Classic during the Warriors’ stretch of eight consecutive tournament victories. He was a second-team All-American last season.

“It was a lot of hard work the past four years and to go out as MVP is something I wanted to do,” Russo said. “I try to go out and prove myself every year and I think this year I made a statement as to the bowler I am. This is it, and obviously I want to win (the ITC), but I just want to enjoy it with the guys. That’s the most important thing to me.”

In addition to Russo, all selections to the All-America first team are seniors – Michael Martell of Robert Morris-Illinois, Dallas Leong of Nevada-Las Vegas, Tyler Perry of Vincennes and Arizona State’s Chase Nadeau.

St. Francis-Illinois freshman Robert Kicmal was named the NCBCA Rookie of the Year, in addition to being an All-America team honorable mention.

The NCBCA Kerm Helmer Coach of the Year awards were presented to McKendree men’s coach Dennis Knepper and Lindenwood women’s coach Phil Vida.

David Jones of the American Heartland Intercollegiate Bowling Conference was presented with the Gordon Teigen Meritorious Service Award. The annual award recognizes an individual for outstanding service to collegiate bowling.

Visit BOWL.com/Collegiate for more information on USBC Collegiate, including past All-America teams, and go to BOWL.com/ITC for information on the Intercollegiate Team Championships.

NATIONAL COLLEGIATE BOWLING COACHES ASSOCIATION
2018-2019 ALL-AMERICA TEAMS
MEN
First team –
 Matt Russo, Webber International; Michael Martell, Robert Morris-Illinois; Dallas Leong, Nevada-Las Vegas; Tyler Perry, Vincennes; Chase Nadeau, Arizona State.
Second team – Chase Benites, Robert Morris-Illinois; Bryan Bourget, Robert Morris-Illinois; Andrew Dekowski, William Paterson; Josh Pate, Wisconsin-Whitewater; Daniel Hanson, Robert Morris-Illinois.
Honorable mention – Sam Cantrell, Grand View; Ryan Liederbach, Notre Dame College; Collin Smith, McKendree; Robert Kicmal, St. Francis-Illinois; Pete Vergos, Calumet.
Most Valuable Player – Matt Russo, Webber International.
Rookie of the Year – Robert Kicmal, St. Francis-Illinois.
Kerm Helmer Coach of the Year – Dennis Knepper. McKendree

WOMEN
First Team – 
Abby Ragsdale, St. Francis-Illinois; Caitlyn Johnson, Webber International; Lauren Piotrowski, Pikeville; Haley Cummings, Lindenwood; Mallory Liversedge, Pikeville.
Second Team – Jessica Wolfe, Pikeville; Maryssa Carey, Indiana Tech; Madison Stiffler, Wright State; Andrea Staples, Minnesota State-Mankato; Rebekah Commane, SCAD-Savannah.
Honorable Mention – Serenity Quintero, Lindenwood; Emily Ornelas, Grand Canyon; Sierra Kanemoto, Wichita State; Tori Pappas, Wright State; Sarah Doyle, Cumberlands.
Most Valuable Player – Abby Ragsdale, St. Francis-Illinois.
Rookie of the Year – Madison Stiffler, Wright State.
Kerm Helmer Coach of the Year – Phil Vida, Lindenwood

Teigen Meritorious Service Award – David Jones, American Heartland Intercollegiate Bowling Conference

INTERNATIONAL BOWLING MEDIA ASSOCIATION
2018-2019 COLLEGIATE AWARDS
MEN
Bowler of the Year – 
Matthew Russo, Webber International.
Runners-up – Dallas Leong, Nevada-Las Vegas; Michael Martell, Robert Morris-Illinois; Bryan Bourget, Robert Morris-Illinois; Chase Nadeau, Arizona State.
Honorable mention – Andrew Dekowski, William Paterson; Tyler Perry, Vincennes; Josh Pate, Wisconsin-Whitewater.

WOMEN
Bowler of the Year –
 Lauren Piotrowski, Pikeville.
Runners-up – Abby Ragsdale, St. Francis-Illinois; Haley Cummings, Lindenwood; Caitlyn Johnson, Webber International; Breanna Clemmer, McKendree.
Honorable mention – Mallory Liversedge, Pikeville; Jessica Wolfe, Pikeville; Maryssa Carey, Indiana Tech.

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