DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The 19th-ranked Bethune-Cookman University bowling team gets back to action this weekend traveling north to the Frederick E. Underwood Tournament in Laurel, Md. The event is being hosted by Bowie State University and will take place January 18-20 at the AMF Laurel Lanes.

Bethune-Cookman has not participated in an event since securing a third place showing at the second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Southern Division event of the season on Dec. 1-2 in Chesapeake, Virginia.

B-CU head coach Tony O'Neal believes the break was important for the team to work on some things and get ready for the second half of the schedule. Not to mention, the roster includes the addition of sophomore Rebecca Gomez from San José, Costa Rica, as well as assistant coach Charles Thomas. So, team chemistry will be a must for the future.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity for the team to gel even more, and this will give us the opportunity to see where we are and work out some kinks from early-on," said O'Neal prior to the team departing Wednesday evening. "The field is a pretty good field, and it'll give us the opportunity to compete. I want to see the improvement from one semester to the next."

Prior to the holiday break, Bethune-Cookman took part in four events - playing host twice - and bowled against several other nationally ranked teams. Now, O'Neal has focused his attention on getting the team better and hopes his Wildcats will finish high in each of the remaining events leading into the MEAC Championships in late March.

When asked about which bowlers have made improvements since their last event, O'Neal took the time to mention two, in particular, that have made strides in improving their game for the second half push.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Rachel Moore step up this weekend," expressed O'Neal. "We worked out some kinks over the break and she worked hard at improving her game. I'm looking forward to Ypretycia Crumity stepping up for us as well. Both of those young ladies work hard during the break, and it'll be interesting to see their improvement this weekend."

O'Neal knows the weekend's field will be strong and gunning for his Wildcats, but he's confident the team can respond and get ready for the Kutztown Invitational two weekends from now with a high-powered field expected in Ready, Pennsylvania.

"Any time you can compete, it gets you ready," said O'Neal. "This will actually benefit us because - from a record standpoint - if we do as well as I think we can, when we go to Kutztown being ranked, I think it'll only make us stronger.

"I'll learn just how mentally tough we are this weekend. This field will demand us to be mentally tough and be ready for everything they throw at us."

The Frederick E. Underwood Tournament begins Friday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. For more information, please visit BSUbulldogs.com.

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