You are currently viewing Top Women’s College Bowling Teams: Find Your Perfect Fit [2024 Rankings]

Top Women’s College Bowling Teams: Find Your Perfect Fit [2024 Rankings]

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Women’s bowling has rapidly grown in popularity at the collegiate level over the past few decades. What was once a niche sport has now blossomed into a fiercely competitive arena with over 200 NCAA and club programs across the United States.

Joining a college bowling team offers female student-athletes a unique opportunity to hone their skills, travel for competitions, forge lasting bonds with teammates, and potentially earn athletic scholarships.

For aspiring bowlers looking to take their passion to the next level, finding the right college program is crucial. This guide will explore the world of collegiate women’s bowling, highlight some of the top programs in the nation, and provide valuable insights for prospective recruits navigating the process.

What is Collegiate Bowling?

The history of collegiate bowling can be traced back to the 1960s when student-run clubs began sprouting up across campuses. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the sport gained significant recognition, with the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) establishing the Intercollegiate Team Championships in 1998.

Today, collegiate bowling is governed by several organizations, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the USBC Collegiate, and various conference and club associations.

Competitions typically involve traditional team games, where individual scores are combined, as well as the baker format, in which teammates alternate frames to complete a single game.

How to Find the Right Bowling Program

Choosing the right college bowling program is a highly personal decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. Prospective student-athletes should evaluate not only the strength of the bowling team but also the academic programs, campus culture, coaching staff, facilities, and overall cost of attendance.

It’s essential to research team rankings, accomplishments, and accolades to gauge the program’s competitiveness and success. Additionally, speaking with current players can provide valuable insights into the team dynamics, coaching style, and overall experience.

While bowling prowess is undoubtedly important, it’s crucial to prioritize academic pursuits as well. Finding a program that offers a balanced approach, allowing student-athletes to excel both on the lanes and in the classroom, is key to long-term success.

Top Women’s Bowling College Programs

Division I

  1. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
    • Bowling Highlights: 2 NCAA National Championships (2007, 2018), 14 NCAA Championship appearances
    • Head Coach: John Williamson (since 2004)
    • Facilities: Vanderbilt’s own Student Recreation Center features 30 lanes, pro shop, and lounge area
    • Admissions: 9% acceptance rate, average SAT score of 1510
    • Cost of Attendance: $76,516 (tuition, fees, room & board)
    • Location: Located in vibrant Nashville, TN, with a bustling music scene and urban setting
  2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)
    • Bowling Highlights: 6 NCAA National Championships (2004, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015), 16 NCAA Championship appearances
    • Head Coach: Paul Klempa (since 2002)
    • Facilities: On-campus East Campus Recreation Center with 24 lanes and amenities
    • Admissions: 58% acceptance rate, average ACT score of 25
    • Cost of Attendance: $28,395 (in-state), $45,305 (out-of-state)
    • Location: Set in the lively college town of Lincoln, with affordable living and an active student life

Division II

  1. McKendree University (Lebanon, IL)
  • Bowling Highlights: 4 NCAA National Championships (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022), 10 NCAA Championship appearances
  • Head Coach: Amanda Burrous (since 2018)
  • Facilities: On-campus McKendree Student Recreation Center with 16 lanes
  • Admissions: 57% acceptance rate, average ACT score of 23
  • Cost of Attendance: $36,150
  • Location: Suburban setting near St. Louis, MO, with a tight-knit campus community

Division III

  1. Moravian University (Bethlehem, PA)
  • Bowling Highlights: 14 NCAA National Championships (2010-2022, 2024), dominant force in Division III
  • Head Coach: Dakota Bradshaw (since 2008)
  • Facilities: On-campus facilities, plus access to local bowling centers
  • Admissions: 70% acceptance rate, average SAT score of 1170
  • Cost of Attendance: $57,410
  • Location: Situated in the historic city of Bethlehem, PA, with easy access to Philadelphia and New York City


  1. Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, CA)
  • Bowling Highlights: 3 NAIA National Championships (2011, 2012, 2014), consistently ranks among the top NAIA programs
  • Head Coach: Jeremy Huff (since 2010)
  • Facilities: University-owned lanes within the Student Life Center
  • Admissions: 69% acceptance rate, average GPA of 3.5
  • Cost of Attendance: $36,870
  • Location: Located in the sunny Central Valley of California, just hours from beaches and national parks

NCAC and Club Bowling

While the NCAA hosts the highest level of collegiate bowling competition, there are numerous opportunities for women to compete at the non-NCAA level as well. The National Collegiate Athletic Conference (NCAC) and various club associations offer a structured platform for bowling programs at smaller colleges and universities.

Notable NCAC programs include:

  • Wichita State University (Wichita, KS)
  • Robert Morris University (Chicago, IL)
  • Webber International University (Babson Park, FL)

Additionally, many schools field competitive club teams that compete against other universities and participate in regional and national tournaments. These programs often serve as a stepping stone for aspiring bowlers to eventually join NCAA teams or continue their passion at a high level.

Recruiting Tips for Prospective Bowlers

If your goal is to bowl at the collegiate level, it’s essential to start the recruiting process early and take proactive steps to get noticed by college coaches. Here are some valuable tips for prospective recruits:

  1. Build an Achievement Resume: Compile a comprehensive resume highlighting your bowling accomplishments, tournament finishes, high scores, and any academic or extracurricular achievements. Include statistical averages, awards, and any video footage showcasing your skills.
  2. Follow NCAA Recruiting Rules: Familiarize yourself with the NCAA’s recruiting rules and timelines, as well as any specific regulations set by the bowling programs you’re interested in. Understand when it’s permissible to start communicating with coaches and what information you can provide.
  3. Connect with College Coaches: Reach out to coaches of programs that interest you, introducing yourself, sharing your resume, and expressing your desire to be considered for their team. Attend camps, clinics, and tournaments where coaches may be scouting talent.
  4. Prioritize Academics: While bowling skills are crucial, college coaches also place a strong emphasis on academic preparedness. Maintain a strong GPA, perform well on standardized tests (SAT/ACT), and take challenging courses to demonstrate your commitment to academics.
  5. Network and Seek Recommendations: Leverage your connections within the bowling community, such as coaches, tournament directors, or respected bowlers, to help advocate for you and provide recommendations to college programs.


Finding the ideal college bowling program is a multifaceted process that requires balancing athletic aspirations with academic goals, personal preferences, and financial considerations.

By conducting thorough research, networking with coaches, and showcasing your dedication both on and off the lanes, you can increase your chances of landing a spot on a top women’s bowling team.

Remember, there are excellent opportunities available at the Division I, II, III, NAIA, and club levels, each offering unique experiences and pathways to success. Stay focused, persistent, and open to exploring all options to make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term objectives.

We’ve covered some of the most prominent women’s bowling programs in the nation, but there are many more outstanding options out there.

If you have any recommendations for other colleges with strong bowling teams or personal experiences to share, please leave a comment below. Your insights could help fellow aspiring bowlers find their perfect collegiate fit.