CHICAGO- One of the best bowlers in Hawks’ history to step on an approach, Maria Jose Rodriguez continues to wow the bowling world, just a few years removed from her collegiate successes. Now, she has earned one of the top accolades for a professional bowler, being named to the Bowler’s Journal International All-American Team.
The team is “one of the bowling industry’s most anticipated annual measures of success on the lanes,” according to BJI editor Gianmarc Manzione. Rodriguez is a new face to the team and according to Manzione, “the highly accomplished former standout with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore bowling program, made a bid to become the Jason Belmonte of women’s bowling when she nearly won the back-to-back titles at the United States Bowling Congress Queens, the women’s equivalent of the Masters.”
Rodriguez eventually bowed out in fourth place, but made the television finals. No bowler had won the Queens back-to-back since 1981. BJI selected her because “at a time in bowling history when women’s access to major title events is so profoundly limited, Rodriguez made a bid to win two major titles within a year when she won the 2014 USBC Queens on July 3, 2014 and the again made the show this year, finishing fourth.” It went on to say “Despite Team USA’s dominance at the 2014 PABCON Women’s Championships, the Colombian squeezed her way onto the medal stand by winning bronze in trios with countrywomen Clara Guerrero and Rocio Restrepo.”
Maria Rodriguez was joined on the team by fellow countrywoman Guerrero, Missy Parkin, former Nebraska star Shannon Pluhowsky and captain Liz Johnson who won the 2015 Queen’s title.
Rodriguez is the first UMES bowler to make the team and the most decorated. A three-time National Champion while at UMES, she was also named the 2011 NTCA Collegiate Bowler of the Year and won numerous collegiate All-American accolades while also winning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Rookie and Player of the Year awards.
Rodriguez wasn’t the only Hawk featured in the August issue of Bowler’s Journal International. Upcoming senior Thanshaina Seraus (Oranjestad, Aruba) was featured in the Generation Next section of the publication. After a rookie campaign that saw her win three All-American honors, Seraus caught the attention of the media, not just for her bowling prowess. The publication quoted her article in local publication, DelmarvaNow.com and told the story of her six-year old son, home in Aruba with her family. “I want to be a role model for my son, not to give up even if you have hard obstacles,” she said.