"HAWKS FLY HIGH AFTER TRIP TO THE WHITE HOUSE”
UMES honored by President George W. Bush
G. STAN BRADLEY
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Jessica Worsley, a senior that recently graduated. “It is a great honor to be one of the few to meet the president.”
The team was invited to The White House after garnering the first NCAA Championship in school history and just the fifth overall in the sport of women’s collegiate bowling. They are just the second collegiate bowling team to be guests of The President and just the second bowling team in general to go to The White House in 37 years.
Head Coach Sharon Brummell, the Division I Coach of the Year was also elated. “It was a wonderful experience. Being there with 19 other teams in their respected sports was very exciting. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Upon entering the room where the bowling team was stationed, the Commander in Chief joked with the team and made them feel instantly at ease. He then posed for a team photo with the squad and took time to even answer a couple of questions. “He is really funny,” said Worsley.
“Have you been down to the lanes,” President Bush joked, referring to the two separate sets of bowling lanes in The White House.
The team was ready to challenge The President to a friendly game, but unfortunately for them his time was reserved meeting the other 19 teams present at the event.
The team was also impressed with The President’s knowledge of their event. “He knew all about our championship,” Worsley said. “He knew what happened in the finals and the whole tournament”
President Bush asked about the team’s defeat of Arkansas State University and how the match went, even knew the score.
Coach Sharon Brummell and the team exchanged gifts with President Bush
before taking a photograph.
The team also had a different experience for two of their players. Martha Perez and Maria Rodriguez, both Columbian citizens were also impressed by meeting the “Leader of the Free World.” “It was more than I expected,” said Perez. “It is really an honor to know the person who has power in the country,” she added.
After their photo the team was escorted to The Rose Garden where they waited until they were announced and took a seat on the South Lawn where the President would make remarks to all 20 teams.
Links to photo galleries, the Official White House Team Photo, transcripts of the President’s remarks and video will be available through www.umeshawks.com.