Josie Barnes of Vanderbilt won the biggest prize in women’s bowling

Vanderbilt bowling associate head coach Josie Barnes sat in a car Wednesday morning on his way to an airport, ready to return to his home state of Tennessee after winning the US Women’s Open in Rohnert Park, California.

She thought, “It’s really cool, but I really think I want to win Queens now.”

VICTORY:Vanderbilt assistant bowling coach Josie Earnest Barnes wins US Women’s Open

Barnes, 33, was already thinking about winning her next major tournament, shortly after winning the $ 100,000 prize – the biggest prize ever awarded at a women’s professional bowling event – and the iconic green jacket for having won her first major tournament in the professional women’s tournament. Bowling association tour on Tuesday.

Barnes edged Singaporean Cherie Tan, 198-194.

“Some days I feel like you’re trying to take one day at a time and figure out life, and I don’t feel like everything I do is amazing, but I’m just trying to put one foot in it in front of the other, ”Barnes said. “I’m just a girl from a very small town, you know. Like big things don’t really happen like that where I’m from. I was raised to be just that blue collar, hardworking kid. . “

Josie Earnest Barnes was two-time NCAA Player of the Year for Vanderbilt.  Now she splits her time between professional bowling and the assistant coach job for the Commodores.

Born to bowling (and dominate)

Barnes grew up in Illinois and was 2-3 years old when her parents opened a bowling center, which set her on a fast track to bowling stardom.

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At the age of 12, she beat bowlers six to 10 years older than her to finish in the top five of a state tournament.

She dated Vanderbilt from 2006 to 2010 and built a career that brought her to the Vanderbilt Track and Field Hall of Fame. Barnes became the first bowler to be named two-time NCAA Player of the Year. As a freshman, she helped lead the Commodores to their first national team title in any sport and was named the tournament’s MVP.

She joined the Commodores staff after graduation.

Developing women’s football

Barnes’ win at the US Open took him to No. 1 on the PWBA Tour’s season-winning list at $ 106,550. His winnings are more than double the bowler who is next on the list across 17 events – Liz Johnson at $ 50,325.

Barnes said the PWBA Tour’s governing body recently pledged to have equal prize funds for men’s and women’s events.

It’s a step in the right direction, argues Barnes. But she hopes women’s football can develop enough to allow more players to earn a living from tour income alone. Most players need a second source of income, she said.

In the meantime, she’s also focused on winning more tournaments – another major tournament, perhaps – while increasing the sport’s popularity through college programs like Vanderbilt’s.

“It allows girls to get an education while competing at the highest level,” Barnes said. “And I think the more colleges learn about it, we’ll just continue to see the sport develop.” said Barnes.

US Open Women's Champion and Vanderbilt Bowling Associate Head Coach Josie Barnes, left, with USBC President Melissa McDaniel on Tuesday, August 31.

His coaching role allows him to have a more direct hand in developing well-rounded athletes who may not pursue a professional career in bowling. If so, that’s fine with Barnes.

“If we have a kid who, you know, doesn’t see himself competing professionally on the road, but turns into a big guy who eventually wants to reinvest in sports… that would probably be one of the happiest days of my life. life, ”Barnes said.

Claire Kuwana is a sports reporting intern at Memphis Commercial Appeal. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @clairekuwana.

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