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The Evolution of MEAC Bowling
Bowling in the MEAC has come a long way since the conference officially sanctioned it as a sport in 1999.
After less than a decade of competition, the MEAC is home to the reigning NCAA Women’s Bowling national champions, the
That’s a far cry from the sport’s early days when Morgan State, Maryland
“It’s just growing and growing and the competition level has gotten better,’’ says Morgan State coach James Brown, a former professional bowler, who started the bowling program to fill a void created when the Bears’ discontinued wrestling. “ I’m not sure I envisioned it getting this large in the beginning, but when the NCAA said gender equity was required, I felt it could get real large.’’
The NCAA gave bowling “emerging sport’’ status in 1994, and the MEAC became the first conference to gain NCAA sanctioning for women’s bowling when it adopted the sport prior to the 1996-97 school year.
Brown has been bowling coach at
North Carolina A&T, coached at the time by Vernell Stallings who started the Aggies’ program in 1979, won the inaugural MEAC Bowling Championship hosted by
Maryland Eastern Shore has established itself as one of the premier programs among the 53 or so schools that bowl and coach Sharon Brummell is the first female to win a national championship in the sport. The Lady Hawks have competed in the NCAA Tournament five times, including the inaugural event in 2004 when they finished seventh in the eight-team field. They recorded the first 300 baker game in NCAA history during the 2004 tournament. They were runners-up in 2007, losing to Vanderbilt 4-3 in the best-of-seven final series.
The Lady Hawks placed three athletes on the 2008 National Tenpin Coaches Association All-American team, freshmen Kristina Frahm of Oswega, Ill., and Maria Rodriguez of Ilbague Tolima, Colombia, and senior Jessica Worsley of Brick, N.J. It is the second consecutive year that Maryland Eastern Shore has had three All-Americans. Frahm was also voted 2008 Division I Rookie of the Year.
Brown says expanded recruiting is the reason bowling has grown as much as it has in the MEAC, which he says is the strongest conference top to bottom in the country, even though he says here are challenges to be overcome in that area due to the scarcity of information readily available about high school bowlers the way that it is in football and basketball.
In many instances, Brown says he learns about bowlers by word of mouth and frequently high school bowlers will contact him.
“We’ve been able to find areas where there are better bowlers,’’ he says.
And the rest is history.