One of top Indiana recruits inks letter national letter of intent with Ladyjacks
Amber Lemke has spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the Stephen F. Austin bowling program, helping establish the Ladyjacks as one of the top programs in the nation.
Lemke helped the Ladyjacks etch their name among the sport's elite in 2015-16 as SFA captured the 2016 NCAA national championship, the first Division I national title in SFA program history. The Ladyjacks won their last six matches of the tournament, capped by a 4-3 win over reigning champion Nebraska in the nationally televised championship.
SFA set a new record for victories in 2015-16, winning a program-best 88 games with a .662 winning percentage, finishing the year ranked number one nationally by the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA). The Ladyjacks finished in the top-10 of all 11 tournaments during the year, extending their streak of top-10 team finishes to 31-straight tournaments as Lemke upped her career record to 374-214.
Under Lemke's guidance, Stephanie Schwartz continued to establish herself as one of the top players in the country, being named the NTCA National Player of the Year and a first team All-American, as well as the 2016 USBC Female Amateur national champion, earning a spot on Team USA. Schwartz was named to four all-tournament teams while Kiara Grant earned NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, bowling a 224.4 with a program-best 290 against McKendree.
The 2014-15 season proved to be one to remember for the Ladyjacks as SFA put together its best year in the six-year history of the program. The Ladyjacks set a program record with 82 wins on the year with a .678 winning percentage, marking the fourth-straight season Lemke’s Ladyjacks set a new program-best in both categories.
Ranked in the nation’s top-five all season, SFA earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Championships in Richmond Heights, Missouri, and made the most of its opportunity. Entering the tournament as the seventh overall seed, the Ladyjacks went 6-1 in pool play competition against the other seven participants, earning the number one seed in the double elimination bracket tournament. Wins over Fairleigh Dickinson and a pair over her alma mater of Wisconsin-Whitewater put SFA into the nationally televised championship bout where the Ladyjacks dropped a 4-2 decision to Nebraska to earn national runner-up honors and a number two national ranking.
The success of the 2014-15 season brought some prestigious honors to Nacogdoches as Lemke was named the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) Coach of the Year while Stephanie Schwartz was named the NTCA Freshman of the Year as well as a first team All-American, the first in program history. Senior Chelsea King and sophomore Paige Kraushaar were also named NTCA honorable mention All-Americans.
The honors were not limited to the classroom, however, as SFA ranked third in the nation with a team GPA of 3.61 to earn NTCA All-Scholar Team honors. King and Kraushaar both picked up third team Academic All-NTCA honors with five other bowlers being named honorable mention selections as Kraushaar was also a Captial One Academic All-District honoree.
2013-14 saw SFA continue to establish itself as one of the nation’s top teams as the Ladyjacks posted a 76-43 record (.639), setting new program-best marks for both wins and winning percentage. The year also boasted a pair of milestones as the Ladyjacks captured the first team titles in program history, winning the Tulane Invitational and FDU Jamboree in back-to-back tournaments.
The Ladyjacks finished in the top-eight of every tournament on the season, including a second-place showing at the USBC Sectionals in Fort Worth in March. Ranked in the top-10 for the duration of the season, SFA peaked as high as fifth in the NTCA rankings, finishing ninth in the final poll of the season.
A number of Ladyjacks brought home individual honors, highlighted by Nicole Parkhurst being named a second team NTCA All-American and Melanie Crawford garnering third team honors. Parkhurst was also tabbed a first team NTCA All-Academic selection with six other Ladyjacks earning honorable mention honors.
In her second season, Lemke guided SFA to a 66-39 (.629) record, setting new program highs for both wins and winning percentage. Ranked in the NTCA top-10 for the majority of the season, the Ladyjacks finished the year ranked ninth in the NTCA poll as SFA recorded a top-10 team showing in six of its eight tournaments on the season.
SFA also showed its committment in the classroom as the Ladyjacks earned NTCA All-Academic recognition with a team GPA of 3.46 with seven bowlers named honorable mention All-Academic selections. The group was highlighted by Amanda Boethel who earned Capital One Academic All-District honors, the first such recognition in program history.
In her first season in Nacogdoches, Lemke and the Ladyjacks made an impact on the national stage as SFA finished the year with a 62-48 record (.564), finishing 10th in the NTCA national rankings. The Ladyjacks recorded a handful of signature victories over top-10 opponents, finishing in the top-10 in all eight tournaments of the season as well as a third-place showing at the USBC Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Prior to SFA, Lemke was the head coach at her alma mater of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007-11, guiding the Warhawks to USBC collegiate championship appearances in 2010 and 2011, where the Warhawks advanced to the second round. During her tenure Lemke helped the Warhawks roll the top seven team Baker games in the school record book.
Lemke’s emphasis on academics was demonstrated by five members of her 2009-2010 team earning National Tenpin Coaches Association All-Academic honors.
Amber Lemke (then Amber Griffin) was a freshman when UW-W added women’s bowling as a varsity, intercollegiate sport for the 2002-2003 school year. She helped get the program off and running, earning four varsity letters. The Warhawks won Wisconsin Collegiate Bowling Conference championships in 2003, 2004, and 2006. She had a 177.7 average her senior year when she earned NCTA honorable mention All-America honors, following a 167.0 junior year.
Away from the UW-W team, Lemke attended the Junior Gold National Championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006. During the 2005-2006 school year she served as an assistant coach for the Kenosha high school girls team that won the USBC state title.
Lemke graduated cum laude with a degree in middle childhood/early adolescence education with a coaching minor. She completed work on a master’s degree in the spring of 2012.
Lemke is married to her husband, Steve, who serves as an assistant coach to the Ladyjack bowling team. The couple welcomed son Ryder in the summer of 2015.