DETROIT -- Maria Rodriguez has a big hand in the success of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's (UMES) women's bowling program and Wednesday she was recognized for it with the NCAA sport's highest honor.


Rodriguez was names the Division I Player of the Year by the National Tenpins Coaches Association (NTCA) at the NCAA Tournament Banquet on the eve of the championship.

"What an honor," said Rodriguez. "I am truly humbled by this; it is great to be recognized by the coaches who have driven this sport to where it is. For me it justifies all the hard work, all the sweat, blood and tears that have literally gone into my college career. It is an awesome feeling."

Rodriguez is the first National Player of the Year UMES has ever had since becoming a Division I program and, along with teammate Kristina Frahm  one of two four-time All-Americans in school history.

"I am so proud of Maria," said head coach Sharon Brummell. "I know she feels vindicated. She gave up a lot to come here and start her bowling life anew but in the end it has been great for her and great for our program and university. She has been a driving force in elevating this program to the status we have today. She deserved this award."

Frahm joined Rodriguez as a First-Team All-American, the second selection of her career and fourth overall. Martha Perez was a Second-Team All-American and Anggie Ramirez earned her first All-American selection being named to the third team.

Rodriguez earned her third Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Player of the Year award earlier this season and finished with an average of 210.44. She was named to three All-Tournament Teams this season, was a MEAC Bowler of the Week and even had time to earn the honor of top bowler in her nation's Team Trials. She also earned her third All-MEAC award this season and posted the second highest pinfall of any women's bowler at any ISC sectional.