MEAC Woman of the Year, Mariana Alvarado.
July 1, 2015

NORFOLK, Va. - Mariana Alvarado of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) was named the 2015 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Woman of the Year, the conference announced last night. Alvarado, who was a three-time All-American and four-year letter winner in women’s bowling, will be awarded the honor during a special on-campus event to be announced at a later time.

“The MEAC Family is very happy to congratulate Maryland Eastern Shore’s Mariana Alvarado for receiving the honor of Woman of the Year,” said MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas. “Throughout her four-year collegiate career, Miss Alvarado has demonstrated academic and athletic excellence and has displayed an outstanding resume of service and leadership for Maryland Eastern Shore and the MEAC. Further her dedication to her community should be applauded and valued. We salute Miss Alvarado and support her efforts of representing the MEAC in the NCAA Woman of the Year process.”

Alvarado, who graduated in May with honors, a 3.71 GPA and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, was, a two-time National Champion and three-time MEAC Champion in women’s bowling while a Dean’s List student at UMES.

“I’m really honored and surprised to win this award,” said Alvarado who was still practicing her bowling when hearing the news. “I want to thank my family who have been with me every step of the way in my college career. I also have to thank the UMES staff, professors, coaches and athletic administrators for all the support they gave me. And the MEAC, who honor student-athletes with this award and for selecting me as this year’s recipient.”

The award, selected annually by the MEAC Senior Woman Administrators, celebrates the achievements of senior female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership. It was announced recently that Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) was one of 480 student-athletes from all NCAA schools of all divisions as a nominee for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award. She will now make a much smaller list of finalists for the award as the MEAC’s official nominee. All conference nominees are forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division.



Last season, another UMES bowler Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) made the final 30 while her former teammate Kristina Frahm (Oswego, Ill.) made the top 30 in 2011.

From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year. The winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

The NCAA established the Woman of the Year Award in 1991 to celebrate the achievements of women in intercollegiate athletics. The program is in its 25th year and awards ‘graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.’

Alvarado finished the season averaging a 207.27, in a tie for second-place in team game average in the nation according to Alvarado earned a pair of ECAC Bowler of the Week honors, three MEAC Bowler of the Week accolades, the MVP award at the Kutztown Invitational, and three All-Tournament Team honors (Mid-Winter Classic, Kutztown Invitational, ECAC Championships). Alvarado was also part of the lineup that bowled a perfect 300 Baker game this season, also at Kutztown. It was the second time in her career she reached that feat.

Alvarado was named a First-Team All-MEAC player this season, her third straight conference honor, as well as garnering pre-season All-MEAC honors. This season she matched a career high with a 279 game tossed at Kutztown. She helped guide UMES to their third straight MEAC Championship in mid-March and earned All-MEAC academic honors and a spot on the Commissioner’s All-Academic Team. She was a finalist for the MEAC Bowler of the Year and was the team’s Most Valuable Player.

She also earned academic honors from the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) and the National Tenpins Coaches Association (NTCA) throughout her career. She was also a two time honoree for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Team.

The NTCA also named her a second-team All-America selection this season, her third straight All-American distinction.

In addition to her collegiate awards, Alvarado earned many international bowling honors, including awards at the World Youth Championships and the Youth Pan-American Games, bowling for her home country of Mexico.

“As a women’s bowling student-athlete at UMES, I have learned a lot from my professors, coaches and teammates,” Alvarado said in a statement. “I have grown to understand that passion, responsibility and hard work are necessary to succeed and contribute in the classroom, on the lanes and in my community. Without UMES, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Alvarado volunteered with several charities and events during her time at UMES, including Relay for Life, Street Sweep, The Pocomoke City Walk for Cancer at Midway and as a volunteer with The Salisbury Zoo. She also served as a counselor at The Wee Hawks Bowling Camp, a mentor at the Garland Hayward Youth Center and volunteered with various women’s shelters. She also contributed her time to UMES Murphy Residential Housing where she helped in remodeling and decorating the honors housing facility and even served as a tutor on campus.

Alvarado will begin graduate school in the fall at California State University, Sacramento. “In the classroom, I’ve tried to be an example to my teammates, holding myself to high academic standards,” she added. “I’ve dedicated myself to learning the material while using my passion for the field to achieve success. I start graduate school for mechanical engineering, feeling prepared. I know that is because I learned that there is no substitute for hard work and no stronger motivator than being there for your teammates while I was competing. I also gained a valuable sense of how important it is to give back. I was told to whom much is given, much is expected.”

“I am the luckiest woman in the world,” Alvarado concluded. “To be able to spend four year in the women’s bowling program at UMES, with the greatest teammates anyone can have, it has been amazing. They had a large role in shaping me into who I am and making me believe in myself and what I can achieve, I am not who I am today with UMES Bowling and the coaches and teammates I had in my time there.”

This is the third major conference award the Hawks claimed this season. They took the MEAC’s highest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) award earlier this year. In June it was reinforced that UMES is certainly producing quality student-athletes as they won the Male Student-Athlete of the Year with Ishaq Pitt and now have the Woman of the Year in Alvarado. The men’s and women’s All-Sports Awards are the only two the Hawks didn’t win, but did come in second for the men’s award out of the 13 member institutions.