ALL-ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS TURN THEIR TASSEL
May 17, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - For a Division I student-athlete competing at the NCAA Championships is the highlight of your career, winning it is just icing on the cake. Often with those appearances come individual accolades, the highest of which is All-America status. For a trio of Hawks, all graduating with academic honors today, Friday May 17, earning that honor once wasn't enough. They combined for 11 All-America nods in their illustrious careers, becoming some of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of UMES Athletics.
For T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.), Anggie Ramirez (Bogota, Colombia) and Andre Walsh (St. Catherine, Jamaica) attending the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) wasn't just about being the best in their sport, but being the best in the classroom as well.
"An opportunity like this isn't a mere formality; it is a unique opportunity," said Walsh. "Therefore, I treated it as such. I was diligent and stuck to the task of both academics and athletics. I knew it was a privilege that other talented individuals would have hoped to have, so I made the most out of the opportunities that being a student-athlete afforded me."
While neither of the three carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average, the lowest of the three is over a 3.6, not too shabby considering their athletic resume that shows the hours of practicing and training they had to do to perfect their craft. All graduated with honors.
"Fulfilling my academic requirements at UMES wasn't easy, but was certainly easier than it could have been," said Ramirez. "Thanks to the great support of our professors and academic advisors as well as the opportunities athletics afforded me with study hall, tutoring and advising, they made sure I was able to succeed."
Falbo and Ramirez are two of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of UMES Athletics. Falbo sports three All-America nods on her resume while Ramirez bested her to tally four. The pair have both been MEAC Bowlers of the Year and together, won a record four National Championships over their four-year careers. In terms of championship success, they are the most accomplished student-athletes to ever grace the Princess Anne campus.
Walsh holds his own. The sprinter has dominated the nation in several events, earning four All-America nods from the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) in NCAA indoor and outdoor championships. Walsh also holds numerous school records.
Walsh was recently selected by a University committee to give the Student Commentary at the Spring 2013 Commencement, a speech he gave with poise, thoughtfulness and spirit. He attributes his success in and out of the classroom to support.
"I have been successful at UMES because of the great support of my teammates and knowing that my family was always rooting for me," said Walsh. "It really came down to a combination of me knowing what I wanted to do and having an awesome team of individuals both on and off the track that would help me to work towards that goal."
While the student-athlete title may no longer apply after this week ends, the trio feels that the experience they had in college has prepared them for life after school.
"I am excited to start the next chapter," said Falbo. "I feel UMES has prepared me for whatever life has in store for my future."
All three plan on attending graduate school, Falbo will come back to the Eastern Shore to attend Salisbury University, pursuing an MBA and expanding on her accounting degree. Walsh will also continue to study beyond his English degree and Ramirez is headed to Chicago to start working in her field of computer science and save up money for graduate school.
"I have been exposed to a host of great things," said Walsh. "I have found areas of interest that have me excited for pursuing further studies in the dynamic field of Communication."
Having achieved both athletically and academically all three members of the class of 2013 will carry the UMES banner high, waving it proudly.
"Once a Hawk always a Hawk," said Ramirez. "There were definitely some ups and downs but I will never regret coming to UMES. It has been a life change experience!"
"I am proud to call myself a Hawk," Falbo concluded. "This experience is one I will never forget. Not many people can call themselves a National Champion, let alone a four-time National Champion. It's a great feeling to leave Princess Anne knowing not only that I have great memories and life skills that will always be with me, but friendships that will last a lifetime."