Hornet bowlers take next step toward NCAA Championships

The latest rankings are not out yet, but the Alabama State bowling team has been busy since the last poll had them at No. 19.

The Lady Hornets competed in the Kat Klash in Houston, Texas and performed well in front of a star-studded lineup of 19 teams that included some of the best collegiate bowling teams in America, then capped off the month of February by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship on Monday.

It’s the first time in the program’s short history (the NCAA only started recognizing bowling in 2004) and another in a long list of great achievements for the women’s programs at ASU, which won the SWAC volleyball tournament and the cross-country title in the fall and the women’s indoor track championship on Monday.

“I’m very proud of the ladies and the work they have put in,” ASU coach Andrew Chatmon said. “They’re now starting to realize that anything can be done once they set their minds to it and execute the proper plan.”

The day before a story on the team ran in the Advertiser, the bowlers defeated second-ranked Nebraska and they’ve added wins over sixth-ranked Stephen F. Austin and 13th-ranked Long Island to their resume in the past few weeks.

When the NCAA rankings come out, Alabama State should make a significant jump to put itself in contention for the top eight spots that earn a berth in the NCAA Championships in April.

Danielle Walker was selected as the SWAC Player of The Year after helping ASU win the conference with a total pinfall of 5,637. She was joined on the first team all-conference squad by teammate Kaila Ryan. Senior Briana Wells was named second team all-conference.

Chatmon said his team’s progress is a testimony to the work of volunteer assistant Rick Wilson, who works on the mental aspects of the game with the players.

“One of the proudest moments is when we got on the bus (after the SWAC round-up) and instead of focusing on the regular season championship they just won, the first thing they said was we got to work longer and harder and have to focus more and we are not finished with what we have set out to do this year,” Chatmon said.

The Lady Hornets return to action in the Music City Invitational on March 7-9, then close out the regular season with the SWAC Tournament in Arlington, Texas.

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About tgayle

Tim Gayle is a sports reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper and montgomeryadvertiser.com.
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