There's so much good news happening around Maryland athletes and athletics, I can't keep up. This is the third in a series of stories and my apologies go out in advance to the programs and and athletes I might miss.
So, because I have such warped and misplaced priorities, I had planned to start with a story that features the student part of being a student athlete. Then I came to my senses and thought, @"Who's interested in reading about the student part?"@ (The visible '@' signs represent my best effort to reproduce the sarcasm font.) For this one, the focus goes to three special Terrapins: Shannon Bustillos, Josh Polacek, and Casey Ikeda.
B1G Postgraduate scholarship to Shannon Bustillos
Although the season on the field didn't end for the team as she, her coaches or her teammates would have hoped, the last few weeks have been very good to Maryland softball's Shannon Bustillos. Bustillos, who has been the starting catcher for Maryland's softball team since she set foot on campus was a three time member of the All-ACC Academic Team. (The B1G has not yet released its all-academic team for spring sports.)
At the end of April, I wrote that Bustillos was named a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Ethnic Minority Program Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics. Last week, she did it again. The Big Ten named her as one of Maryland's two recipients of its annual Postgraduate Scholarship Awards.
As it does with its Medal of Honor, the Big Ten Conference awards a one time $7,500 postgraduate scholarship to one male and one female athlete from each of its member institutions. Maryland's female athlete winner Bustillos not only sets records on the field but is active off the field as well where she serves on the Maryland Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The aspiring law student will graduate with a degree in criminology and criminal justice.
B1G postgraduate scholarship winner - Josh Polacek
Maryland's male recipient of the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship is wrestler Josh Polacek. Over his career, Polacek has wrestled at both 133 pounds and, this past season at 125 pounds. He was named to the 2015 All-Big Ten Academic Team this season and is set to graduate with a degree in general biology in May and will attend dental school in the fall.
These scholarships are awarded based primarily on the academic achievements of the student athletes. According to a press release, the minimum qualifications are: "Recipients of the postgraduate scholarship had to have been in their final season of NCAA athletics eligibility while earning an overall undergraduate minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.200 or its equivalent, including all hours earned at all institutions attended."
USILA Scholar All-American - Casey Ikeda
Casey Ikeda rounds out the academic awards though in his case it's not purely academic. Ikeda, who was named the B1G Men's Lacrosse Defender of the Year, was named a 2015 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-American. He will graduate with a degree in family science with a cumulative 3.16 grade point average.
The senior, who has been named a Scholar Athlete six times and to the Dean's List three times throughout his time at Maryland, is only the 19th player in Maryland men's lacrosse history to be named a USILA Scholar All-American. Ten of those 19 have come since John Tillman became the head coach with the most recent coming in 2013 when Jesse Bernhardt, Owen Blye, and Landon Carr received the honor.
Ikeda was also recently named to the Maryland Medallion Society and is also very active in the wider community. He has been part of the Big Brother program, assisted in setting up a youth lacrosse league through Prince George's County Parks & Recreation and delivered meals for the Food & Friends program in the DC area.