YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – They’re just months into competition, but the YSU women’s bowling team is already rolling their way to early success.
A year ago, head coach Chelsea Gilliam built the program from the ground up. Now, the Penguins are a team making national headlines.
“When coach said, hey we are ranked. I was like what,,,no way, that is awesome,” said YSU freshman Alexis Grim.
In their first year of existence, the Penguins cracked the Top 25 National Poll…the only first year program this year to accomplish the feat. YSU has already earned the respect of seasoned programs, with 7 freshman and one sophomore making up the squad.
“I do not think the the big teams took us too serious,” said Gilliam. “They were like, ah well we will just beat them and move on. But now, I think they see we are here and want to win too.”
“We were like, OK, we can do this,” said freshman Rachel Darrow. “We are not just these little freshman coming in trying to be with the big dawgs. We can actually hold our own.”
Sam Houston State has been to the NCAA Women’s Bowling tournament the last four years—and won it all back in 2014. That is just one of several ranked teams the Penguins have knocked off this groundbreaking season.
“I think it is amazing,” said Grim. “I do not think many people can say they were a part of a first year program, and you are the first people that are actually on it and experiencing that for this college so I think that is exciting.”
Just two more tournament remain for the Penguins this season before the National Tournament. Only 8 teams qualify of the over 70 programs nationally. A tournament bid may not come this year for YSU, but could be in the near future.
“Oh it is not out of the question whatsoever,” said Darrow. “We are still saying when we go to nationals. There is no “if” at this point, just a “when.”