HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leilehua High School is now home to a new National Champion, Gwen Maeha and the University of Nebraska women’s bowling team were crowned NCAA National Champs over the weekend — a feeling that is still settling in for the former Mighty Mule.
“It was both challenging and and a fulfilling experience for me.” Maeha told Hawaii News Now. “I’ve still not settled that I actually have a national championship with me and it’s just amazing to be able to represent Hawaii.”
Maeha and her Cornhusker teammates took on Arkansas State in the best of seven-games, using the Baker Format Maeha would bowl the second and seventh frame of each contest. After dropping the first game to the Red Wolves, the Huskers stormed back to take the next four matches and take back the Natty for the first time since 2015 — their fifth title in school history — a sweet reward for Big Red after traversing through the complexities of a COVID-19 season.
“It was actually really surreal at a moment because that’s like always our biggest and ultimate dream is to be in at least the NCAA National Championship round.” Maeha said. “It was really hard, it was hard to try to balance school and athletics, but also not knowing when we would be able to travel.”
The Huskers only played in five regular season tournaments —enough to qualify for the championship — but now that it’s all said and done, the Wahiawa native is full pride knowing she represented her state and it’s Bowling community, hoping to be a beacon for the next generation of Hawaii bowlers.
“Represent not only Hawaii, but Also the Bowling community because not that many people think bowling is a sport or maybe it’s just like fun and games,” Maeha said. “But you can actually get scholarships from it and it’s just amazing to put bowling on the map also just like Hawaii.”
A 2018 graduate of Leilehua high school, Maeha was a two sport athlete for the Mighty Mules playing both softball and Bowling. The latter would take her to heights she never imagined, a three-time HHSAA bowling champion under her long-time coach Chad Pojas, the Former Mule can now add National Champion to her resume — looking to bring more hardware back to Lincoln as the entire 2021 Cornhusker squad will return next year as they attempt to run it back.
“Were trying to run it back one more time.” Maeha said.