Bowlers are looking forward to competition

As the Penn State Altoona women’s bowling program embarks on its ninth season, the Lady Lions look to remain competitive within the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.

Last season, the team came in fifth place in the conference championships, and coach Toni Watt is hoping that her squad can make the necessary improvements to ascend the standings this year.

“I see this team as one that will greatly progress as the season develops,” said Watt, who is entering her second year as the head coach of the program.

The Lady Lions’ roster includes three players with previous experience on the team: juniors Nicole Watt and Asia James and sophomore Rylee Duck. Watt, who is the sister of Toni, is the Lady Lions’ top returner. Last season, she averaged 158.26 per game in the traditional format while posting a baker average of 10.04. James returns to the roster after having bowled for the team in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, and Duck was also a member of the Lady Lions’ roster last winter.

“My returners are great team leaders,” Watt said. “They bring with them the experience and wherewithal to succeed in tough matches.”

Penn State Altoona also features two newcomers to the squad: sophomore Claudia Ochoa and freshman Sierra Snigier. Ochoa and Snigier will be expected to contribute right away for the Lady Lions this season.

“My newcomers bring new energy with them,” Watt said. “They have a fun excitement for the game and a great team mentality.”

The schedule gets underway this weekend when the Lady Lions will host the first of two regular-season AMCC round-robin competitions at Holiday Bowl in Altoona. The second AMCC event is scheduled the weekend of Feb. 3-4 and will be hosted by Thiel College.

In the conference round robins, the league’s teams (Penn State Altoona, Thiel, Medaille College, Penn State Behrend, Hilbert College, Mount Aloysius College, New Jersey City University, and Pitt-Bradford) bowl head-to-head, with one day featuring traditional team matches and the other day comprised of baker format games. The AMCC season comes down to the conference championships, which will be hosted by Medaille on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4.

The Lady Lions are also expected to compete in several non-conference events to round out the schedule. The Lady Lions will take part in a three-day tournament in Wilmington, Del. beginning on Friday, Dec. 1, and the team will start the new year by bowling in the Bowie State University Lady Bulldog Classic the weekend of Jan. 14-15.

After a dual meet at Saint Vincent College on Jan. 21, the Lady Lions return to Altoona for the three-day Saint Francis University Red Flash Invitational, starting on Friday, Jan. 26. Penn State Altoona will also compete in the Brother Patrick Lacey Memorial Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 18, hosted by St. Vincent.