Sam Houston’s NCAA Division I national championship women’s bowling team made a triumphant return to the SHSU campus Sunday evening.

A large crowd of the bowlers’ fellow student-athletes and Bearkat staff turned out to welcome the squad after their victory over defending NCAA champion Nebraska Saturday night in Cleveland.

NCAA Division I women's bowling national championsThe title is the first in any sport for the Bearkats since the team moved to Division I in 1986. The bowling team wins its first title in just its fourth year of existence.

“This has been the dream from the beginning,” head coach Brad Hagen said. “Four years ago, we started this program with a national title as our goal. Kimi Davidson was our first recruit and Neishka Cardona joined us soon after. The two seniors have been great leaders for us.”

The title was the Bearkats’ fifth national championship overall. Sam Houston won national championships as an NAIA competitor in football (1964), men’s basketball (1973) and softball (1981) and at the NCAA Division II level (1982).

Sam Houston won the championship match 4-2 over Nebraska before a national television audience on ESPNU. The telecast was rebroadcast on ESPN’s main network on Sunday afternoon.