bowling-nc flag

Ben Bokun | | July 11, 2019

Ex-collegiate bowling standouts with PWBA titles

2019 Bowling Championship Round 5: Vanderbilt vs. Nebraska

Since the inaugural NCAA Bowling Championship in 2004, an impressive pool of collegiate alumni from schools including Fairleigh-Dickinson, Vanderbilt and Nebraska are showing out at the professional level.

We took a look at the former NCAA bowlers who have added on to their list of accolades with tournament title victories in the Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) since 2015, the year the league came back from a 12-year hiatus. 

Danielle McEwan, Fairleigh-Dickinson (2009-13), 5 tournament wins (2015-19)

Danielle McEwan bowling at Fairleigh-Dickinson.

McEwan stands as one of the best bowlers, professional and collegiate, in the history of the sport. The 2012 and 2013 NCAA player of the year won a national title in 2010 and collected three first-team All-American awards. 

She converted a strike 54.3 percent of the time she stepped up to the lane as a senior, leading to an average of over 200 in five of the events Fairleigh-Dickinson participated in that season. McEwan even scored a 210.92 average per match during the 2011-12 campaign.

Her talent has translated well in the PWBA, where she's gained the second-highest earnings total ($34,250) and second-best accumulated points with 70,210 in 2019. And the New York native is just getting started, graduating from school just seven years ago. 

Josie Barnes (Earnest), Vanderbilt (2007-10), 3 tournament wins (2016, 2018, 2019)

Josie Earnest Barnes playing at Vanderbilt.

Barnes was the force that pushed the Commodores to a 2007 National Championship as the MVP of the tournament. In three seasons at Vanderbilt, she was the first bowler in the NCAA to receive two player of the year honors and shared the 2008 Co-Tennessee Amateur Athlete of the Year with basketball legend Candace Parker. 

She ended her Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame career averaging 214.9 a game — leading the entire nation by almost 14 pins. 

Hitting the top 5 in prize money this season in the pros with $21,100, she's racked up over 45,000 points this year and notched three career wins in the PWBA. She is currently an assistant coach for her alma mater and is still crushing pins simultaneously. 

Jordan Richard, Arkansas State (2016-18), 2 tournament wins (2018, 2019)

Jordan Richard bowling at Arkansas State.

Richard is a newcomer in the PWBA but has made an instant impact with rookie of the year honors. And her success was no less at Arkansas State. 

The three-time NTCA first-team All-American and two-time collegiate Player of the Year scored an astounding 214.91 per game her junior year. She capitalized on that number with an average of 213.62 her final season and became the first bowler in school history to notch multiple Player of the Year awards. 

In 2019, Richard has tallied over 50,000 points and pocketed over 20 thousand dollars in earnings. 

Liz Kuhlkin, Nebraska (2012-15), 2 tournament wins (2015, 2018)

Liz Kuhlkin playing at Nebraska.

Kuhlkin's trophy shelf is packed after her time with the Cornhuskers, gathering the 2013 and 2015 national titles, a 2015 NCAA player of the year bid and three first-team All-American prizes. 

MORE: NCAA Bowling History

Gaining almost 45,000 points this season in the PWBA, she's been on a roll with a 209.61 average. 

Erin McCarthy, Nebraska, 1 tournament win (2018)

Erin McCarthy at Nebraska.

She wasn't a teammate of Kuhlkin's, but McCarthy set the stage for the most successful bowling program in the NCAA. After transferring from Midland and joining Nebraska, she won the 2009 national championship with the 'Huskers. 

Since turning pro and heading to the PWBA, she's maintained top-20 point marks in 2019 with 30,875.

Maria Jose Rodriguez, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (2007-11), 1 tournament win (2018)

Maria Rodriguez at UMES.

At UMES, Rodriguez created nothing short of a dynasty in her four collegiate seasons, winning two national championships in 2008 and 2011. The four-time All-American also took home the 2011 NCAA player of the year.

Statistically, the Columbia native is a top-20 bowler in the PWBA, sitting with 35,470 points and a score of 208.82 in 2019. 

Maria Rodriguez was a champion at UMES.

Bryanna Coté (Caldwell), Central Missouri (2005-08), 1 tournament win (2016)

Some might argue Coté (Caldwell in college) was the best college bowler in NCAA history; some might even say her achievements make her one of the best athletes of all time. 

Here's the proof: she is one of only four student-athletes across every eligible sport to earn four national player of the year awards in the NCAA. Woah. 

And Coté is a steady producer in the PWBA, obtaining a 208 average per match, 43,285 points and over $17,000 in winnings throughout 2019. 

Elysia Current, Fairleigh-Dickinson (2004-07), 1 tournament win (2015)

Elysia Current throwing the ball at Fairleigh-Dickinson.

The former first-team All-American with Fairleigh-Dickinson was a member of the team when NCAA Bowling Championship got its start in 2004. Current won the Female Athlete of the Year twice at her school in 2004 and 2005.

As a professional this season, Current preserves a 201.55 average with just under 13,000 points. 

Shannon O'Keefe, McKendree (coach), 8 tournament wins, 2 mixed doubles tournament wins (2015-19)

Shannon O'Keefe at McKendree.Professional bowler Shannon O'Keefe (right) poses with her husband, Bryan, as she's introduced as the incoming head coach of the McKendree women's bowling program.

Though she never played in college, O'Keefe won a 2017 national title as the head coach of the women's bowling team at McKendree.

She's also a historic figure of the game. 

In the pros, she owns top 3 status in every statistical category in the 2019 season -- over $36,000 earned, 71,350 points total and a 214.69 average score. 

Vanderbilt wins 2023 NCAA bowling championship

The Commodores won their third title in program history by defeating Arkansas State 4-3 in comeback fashion.

2023 NCAA bowling championship selections announced

The 2023 NC bowling championship field has been announced. 17 teams will compete for the national title April 14-15.