The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference gives out an All-Sports Award each year.

May 26, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Seventy six and a half points is what the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) tallied in the race for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Mary McLeod Bethune Women's All-Sports Award. That is out of a possible 96 points, a pretty good score for a successful women's program. It was, unfortunately for the Lady Hawks' athletic teams, a half point short. Hampton University tallied 77 points to claim their 11th overall All-Sports award, eighth straight for the women.

This is the second year in a row that Hampton topped UMES. Last season they topped the Hawks by a margin of two points, 79-77.

Coming in second didn't sit well with UMES as a consolation prize doesn't exist. "We really want to win this award," said Director of Athletics Keith Davidson. "I think we have a very strong athletic program here at UMES, on both sides. We are proving that each year by how close we are getting to winning this award. Last year it was two points, this year a half point, next year I hope to leap Hampton and start our own streak."

Hampton will receive a check for $25,000. Norfolk State won the title on the men's side with 63.5 out of 84 points.

UMES made the race close by improving in every sport. Women's cross-country captured the MEAC title while women's volleyball won the northern division of the conference, securing the maximum points. Women's bowling tied for first place in the league and split first and second place points with Delaware State. The always tough women's track and field teams did their part as well, capturing third place during the indoor season and runner-up honors for outdoor. Women's basketball was fourth in the league, scoring eight points out of the 12 possible. Softball, which made a dramatic improvement, finished fourth in the northern division securing points they did not have last season. Women's tennis also moved up one spot in the standings from last season to round out a stellar campaign.

Norfolk State women were third in the race with 66 points while Howard, North Carolina A&T and Delaware State rounded out the top six.

UMES' men finished seventh in their race for the title but scored 42 points, an impressive total considering that the conference awards points in football which UMES can not receive. They were eight points out of second place in a tight overall race.

Points are awarded in a descending order beginning with 12 points for championship or first place finishes. The second place teams get 10 points. Teams tied split the total points.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Award, named after the founder of Bethune-Cookman College, awards the top overall women's athletic program during the course of one full academic year. The first award was given to Delaware State in 1987. Florida &AM leads all MEAC schools with nine awards. The men's award is named after the late Talmadge Layman Hill, a former player and coach at Morgan State and former Chairman of the MEAC Steering and Planning Committee, as well as the league's first president. Howard won the first honor in 1972 while South Carolina State holds the record with 11 awards.

UMES has never won either award. The quest for the title will begin anew in August when the reigning Northern Division Champion volleyball team starts their season.



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