MEAC Rookie of the Year Sara Pelayo

March 21, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) women's bowling team had four student-athletes earn recognition from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) the league announced today. Mariana Alvarado, Megan Buja and Victoria Jones were all named All-MEAC First Team selections while freshman Sara Pelayo was named the conference Rookie of the Year.

Alvarado (Leon, Mexico), Buja (Rockford, Ill.) and Jones (Baltimore, Md.) dominated the league statistics, owning three of the top five team game averages. Pelayo (Distrito Federal, Mexico) was clearly the best newcomer, owning one of the best six averages in the league of any bowler.

"I am so proud of all of our young ladies," said head coach Kayla Bandy. "It is great to see these individuals earn these accolades and be recognized for everything they put into this season. It is even more special to me as a coach to know that they sacrificed personal gain to be team players and do whatever we needed, bowling in whatever position we needed. In doing that, their skill as players really shone through."

Pelayo averaged a 198 even, bowling in 31 team games and 43 Baker games. She knocked down 5,157 pins along the way and recorded a season high 243 in a win against Coppin State earlier in the season. Pelayo filled 84% of the frames she bowled and had an impressive 91% single-pin spare percentage. She was named MEAC Bowler of the Week twice during her freshman campaign, once in February and once in November. She twice earned the UMES PRMC Athlete of the Week accolade.



Mariana Alvarado

Alvarado, a 2013 All-American, had another season worthy of that honor. The junior averaged just under a 199 in 39 team games and tossed a career-high 279 at the UMES Hawk Classic, winning the high-game award. She also rolled in 51 Baker games, averaging a 207 in that format. She filled 85% of her frames bowled and earned numerous accolades, including the All-Tournament Team at the Kutztown Invitational, being a pre-season All-MEAC selection and earning two MEAC Bowler of the Week honors, one in January and one in November.

Megan Buja

Buja, a 2013 Academic All-American and the lone senior on the squad averaged just under 200 for the season. She knocked down 6,987 pins over 35 team games. She tossed 53 Baker games and averaged a 199 while filling 89% of her frames filled. She made an amazing 95% of her single pin spares. Buja was a pre-season All-MEAC selection and earned two conference bowler of the week awards in November and March. She was an All-Tournament Team selection at the Music City Classic where she threw a career high 280 in a win over Valparaiso. She added another All-Tournament Team honor at the home UMES Hawk Classic. Her senior campaign was clearly the best of her career individually.

Victoria Jones

Jones came out of her shell in her junior year. The lefty from Baltimore is hitting her stride in the end of the season. She earned MVP and All-Tournament Team honors at the last regular season event of the year, the Music City Classic and tossed a career high 267 in the win over Tulane. She earned MEAC Bowler of the Week honors in March and averaged just over a 198 while knocking down 5,157 pins over 26 team games. She bowled in 51 Baker matches as well, including several as anchor towards the end of the year.

In other awards the conference head coaches and sports information directors selected North Carolina A&T's Emily Strombeck as the Player of the Year and their head coach James Williams as Coach of the Year. Strombeck averaged a 202 on the season. The Aggies made a big push this season taking second place in the southern division and being ranked as high as No. 13 in the NTCA poll. They went 36-17 overall and 15-7 in MEAC play.

Norfolk State's Thea Aspiras was also selected as a first-team nod after being picked as pre-season Player of the Year.

Second-team All-Conference selections included Bethune-Cookman's Felcia Baker, Howard's Alexzandria Johnson, Delaware State's Briana Bush and Stephanie Sheridan and NCAT's Kristin Shinn who made the team as a freshman, despite Pelayo winning the Rookie of the Year and not making the team.

The 2014 MEAC Bowling Championship begins today, Friday, March 21 at the AMF Lanes in Chesapeake, Virginia at 8:30 a.m. Teams will compete in traditional games to determine seeding for day two action.

Play continues on Saturday with teams competing in a best-of-seven Baker series. The championship concludes on Sunday, March 23 beginning with the semifinal round at 9:30 a.m. and concluding with the championship final at noon.

The championship finale will air tape-delayed on ESPNU on March 31 at 10:30 p.m.

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