For most Southwestern Athletic Conference teams, the only way to earn national acclaim is to win the conference tournament and the automatic NCAA tournament berth that accompanies it.
Even then, it’s an uphill battle to grab recognition. When the men’s basketball team makes it, they’re labeled as one of the four worst teams in March Madness and sent to Dayton, Ohio. When the golf team makes it, they go to a regional as the last seeded team in the tournament.
The Alabama State women’s bowling team earned its own recognition this week as fellow Division I-A coaches voted Andrew Chatmon’s team among the best in the country by ranking them in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Poll.
The Hornets (15-10) broke into the rankings at No. 20.
“The Top 20 ranking made me feel good but for the ladies it showed them that their hard work is paying off,” Chatmon said. “It’s just a portion of what they wanted to do this year, what their goals were, but it shows them that they can do it and they’ve got to continue working hard to improve and get better.”
ASU reached the championship round of its own tournament last month before losing to fourth-ranked San Houston State and defeated top-ranked Fairleigh Dickenson in a tournament at Bethune-Cookman. The Hornets also beat rival Alabama A&M three out of four times when the Bulldogs were ranked 17th.