Remembers Bowling Team Wins Championships, But Wants More Fans

“Everybody in Husker nation needed a win, needed something to celebrate, even if it’s just bowling,” Klempa said. “It’s not football, it’s not basketball, or baseball, but at least it was something and it made people feel good about it.”

The next day, they piled off the bus, trophy in hand, and walked to the third baseline at a Husker home baseball game. The chancellor took them to a luncheon. President Ted Carter hosted a dinner. But sophomore bowler Kayla Verstraete from Illinois said after those weeks passed, attention shifted away.

“It was like, ‘Okay, now Husker football again,'” she said. “So it was kind of just like, we had our three weeks of fame, and then everything stopped.”

It’s a lack of recognition that puzzles some members of the championship team. Last weekend, junior bowler Kendyl Hofmeister, who’s from Michigan, was working at the bowling alley and saw two men looking at the large NCAA 2021 trophy on a glass shelf along with the other trophies.

“And I just overheard a conversation the other day of a couple of older gentlemen saying that he didn’t know that the bowling team had won a national championship. And I was kind of shocked,” she said. “I’m like, ‘How do they not know?’ I mean, they have like all this Husker gear on. They have a bumper sticker on their car that says #1 Nebraska fan and they still don’t know that bowling team won.”

Bowlers Verstraete and Hofmeister wish the team received more attention. But junior bowler Gwen Maeha from Hawaii has a practical explanation for the lack of recognition.

“Would it be lovely to get it? Yes, it would,” she said. “But we also need to understand that when it comes down to it, we don’t bring any revenue to the athletic department. So it’s hard.”

By comparison, Husker football brought in $31,442,119 of revenue last year. Despite the lack of publicity, Maeha appreciates the fans’ support.

“It’s amazing to know that the Husker fan support system is so big here,” she said. “And it’s just so good to have people there for our sport, especially when we’re not that big. So, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The team hopes Nebraskans can watch its only home tournament on the last weekend of February at the Hollywood Bowl in Lincoln. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the match live for the first time.

Editor’s Note: Credits to the NCAA and ESPN for the audio of the Huskers winning the national championship in the audio story.

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