Bowling Earns SoCal Girl Invitation to White House

Ashley Dunn, third from the left, stands proud with her felllow bowlers, “The Best Bowlers Are From California” (Photo & Article credit – McKendree University Athletic Department)

WASHINGTON D.C. – Ashley Dunn – A young lady whose name is likely familiar to our readers for her Local, National, and International accomplishments as a California youth standout is pictured here with her teammates from the 2016-17 McKendree University Women’s Bowling Team. The team was recently honored at the White House by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for winning the 2017 NCAA National Championship.

The nine McKendree bowlers who took part in the ceremony held Friday November 17, 2017 included Seniors Sarah Wille, Jessica Mellott and Nicole Fung Calleja; Juniors Lauren Pate, Ashley Dunn, Ashley Hathaway and Christie Draper, and Sophomores Breanna Clemmer and Taylor Bailey.

The Bearcats’ title-winning squad were joined by Women’s Head Coach Shannon O’Keefe, Director of Bowling Bryan O’Keefe, graduate Assistant Coach Matt Farber and Director of Athletics Chuck Brueggemann in the event which was part of National Collegiate Champions Day. McKendree was among 18 NCAA programs to be honored at the gathering that included a meeting and photo opportunities with President Donald Trump throughout the Rose Garden, South Lawn and inside the White House.

“Our ladies have been incredibly lucky and blessed to have the experiences they have had over the last few years,” said McKendree women’s bowling Coach Shannon O’Keefe. “This was a truly special experience they had today. They earned this visit due to their hard work, sweat, tears and working through their frustrations that allowed them to relive an incredible championship that they won back in April. It’s a completely humbling honor and something we will all remember for the rest of our lives.”

Last April, McKendree became the first Division II program to capture an NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship. The Bearcats rolled through the eight-team field at the 2017 Women’s Bowling Championship in Baton Rouge, La., sweeping the University of Nebraska 4-0 in the best-of seven title match. It marked the first NCAA National Championship for McKendree in any sport.