Another Buffalo team is on its way to the NCAA Tournament.
While all eyes have been on the University at Buffalo’s men’s and women’s hoops squads, Medaille College’s women’s bowling team earned the same title shot, claiming the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference title on Sunday over Mount Aloysius College in a best-of-seven championship in the Pittsburgh suburb of Beaver Falls. What’s particularly noteworthy is Medaille is a Division III school, and the other programs in the tournament are Division I.
The NCAA Tournament bid is a first for any AMCC school or Buffalo-area bowling program. In fact, only two other D3 schools have ever earned NCAA bids. The AMCC champion was designated an automatic tournament bid by the NCAA for first time this year.
The NCAA tourney runs April 11-13 in the Cleveland suburb of Wickliffe.
While Medaille took the AMCC Title in each of the past two seasons, this would be the first time that AMCC Championship comes with an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Since its inception in 2004, only two Division III programs have qualified, with Wisconsin-Whitewater being the last to do so in 2015.
The tournament selection show will be 4 p.m. Wednesday, at which point Medaille’s bowlers will have a clearer picture of what teams they’ll face in Ohio.
The Mavericks have been a dominating force this season in their conference. They came into the AMCC Tournament with the No. 1 overall seed after going 13-1 in conference play.
Medaille Athletic Director and Vice President for Student Development Amy M. DeKay took to Twitter to praise the team’s win minutes after the last roll in Beaver Falls: “For the first time in @medaillemavshistory, @Mavsbowling1 has won the @AMCCsports championship and is headed to the NCAA tournament. One of only three D3 schools to ever qualify for such an accomplishment! You women just made all of @MedailleCollegeproud! #HorsePower.”
The “HorsePower” hashtag is a tip of the hat to the school’s Mavericks team name.
“By earning this NCAA tourney bid, they’re going to have a chance to prove their mettle against some big-name programs, and really compete on the level they’ve been performing at all season,” DeKay noted.
News of the NCAA bid was welcomed by Medaille President Dr. Kenneth M. Macur, who said the entire administration of the 2,200-student school was “proud and excited” over the win.
“Any time our student-athletes dominate their sport, we’re excited, and we’ll be cheering our bowling champs on next month in Ohio,” he said. “Go Mavs!”