WICKLIFFE, Ohio — One team is looking to ‘strike it big’ this weekend in northeast Ohio as the NCAA Women’s Bowling National Championship returns to the Cleveland area.
“Well, it’s much colder here than it is in Houston, but we are excited to be here,” said one student-athlete from Stephen F. Austin University.
Rollhouse is home to the NCAA Women’s Bowling National Championship this weekend.
“We use a format here that is restricted to conference championships and postseason play that is called the Mega Match,” said Michael Fine, Secretary Rules Editor for NCAA Women’s bowling.
80 bowlers make up the eight teams from across the country vying for the sports top prize.
“I say to my teammates all the time is that you have to leave it all out there,” said Rebecca Armand, Senior at Sacred Heart University.
Vanderbilt is the defending national champions of this event. They are chasing the “king pins” when it comes to women’s bowling, Nebraska who has won five national bowling titles.
“Every year our practices get tougher before the National Championship because it’s not going to take the same amount of effort to win another championship,” said Vanderbilt bowler, Maria Bulanova.
This is the third time northeast Ohio has hosted the women’s national bowling championships.
“Bowling mecca, this is a bowling mecca,” said Tony ONeal, Co-Chair of the National Committee NCAA.
The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is hosting the event for the NCAA. Northeast Ohio will have hosted four NCAA tournaments this year alone, bringing $3.3 million dollars to the area.
“We are about a 10 hour drive time through a huge portion of the United States population and since a lot of these schools are within the Midwest or the East Coast it’s really great and accessible to get these teams out here,” said Meredith Painter, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
More universities across the country are adding bowling to their athletic department. The athletes competing this week may soon be competing on an even bigger stage in the near future.
“We are continuing to move toward getting this sport into the Olympics and we see a future for that happening in the not too distant future,” said Glenn White, head women’s bowling coach at Prairie View A&M University.