PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- University of Maryland Eastern Shore student Megan Buja walks away from her college career with a perfect GPA and four women’s bowling National Championships to place her among the best Hawks of all-time.
A few short weeks ago, Buja walked across a stage at UMES to receive her degree in human ecology where the four-time National Champion finished her undergraduate career with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, graduated Summa Cum Laude and is at the top of her sport in winning, achieving near perfection in her college career.
“Graduation was a really bittersweet day for me,” Buja said. “It marked the end of a major chapter in my life and I can no longer say I am a student-athlete.”
Only last week it was announced that Buja was named to the Capital One Academic All-District II Team. She was a First-Team selection in the University Division for women’s at-large teams for the third straight year.
“Knowing that Megan is the only bowler in the country to earn this honor, that just floors me,” said head coach Kayla Bandy. “In a sport with less than 100 teams, for the voters to hold her in such high regard for her academic and athletic career, I think that is something every student-athlete strives for and something the sport should be proud of.”
Eligibility for this award, requires a student -athlete to carry a minimum 3.3 grade-point average and is a starter or key reserve on a team. The award is selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performance in the classroom and in their sport.
This season, Buja also won the NCAA’s Elite 89 award for the third year in a row. That award is presented in all 89 sports the NCAA sponsors and goes to the highest GPA of any student-athlete competing at the finals site in their respective sport.
As a senior, Buja had her best season to date, averaging a 204.5 and earning the coveted National Tenpins Coaches Association (NTCA) All-America distinction, something that had eluded her throughout her college career.
“It's been a goal of mine for a long time to be an All-American,” Buja said. “I've worked really hard over the years to become the best bowler I can be and have come a long way.”
To add to Buja's list of achievements, she was also named the UMES Female Athlete of the Year earlier this month at the department’s award ceremony, “The Harry’s.” She became the first student-athlete in UMES history to earn both Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year honors in the same season.
“Megan is the poster child for being a student-athlete,” said Director of Athletics Keith Davidson. “She graduated in four years, with a 4.0 and four National Championships.”
Buja will return to Princess Anne next fall, working with the department of human ecology, fulfilling a 41-week supervised practice program in dietetics. This allows her to sit for a credentialing exam that she has to pass to become a registered dietitian.
“My career at UMES has been an amazing one and it gets to continue,” Buja said.“Four years ago I never would have expected to have four national championship rings when I graduated.”