Kent State Softball Player Has Short, but Distinguished Senior Season
Before her graduation in May 2020, Maria Cegledy had plans for an unforgettable final softball season alongside her teammates at Kent State University. Cegledy looked forward to participating in a senior day, enjoying all the special moments that accompany being a student athlete and playing her final game at Kent State.
Then came COVID-19, which changed the trajectory of her life as she had known it. For Cegledy and her teammates, the traditional academic and athletic career was cut short.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 took away the last 30 games of not only my senior season, but my last 30 games as a Golden Flash,” Cegledy said. “My team and I had plans to win the MAC regular season, win the MAC tournament and go on to the NCAA tournament like we did my freshman year in 2017. Again, COVID-19 altered those plans and we did not get to play any conference games nor have either tournament.”
During her shortened senior season, Cegledy started all 19 games for the Golden Flashes in center field. She was second on the team in doubles (5) and third in runs scored (9) and RBIs (7).
COVID-19 did not prevent Cegledy from being a distinguished student-athlete, graduating with a perfect 4.00 grade point average and earning her degree in exercise science along with earning numerous academic and sports accolades including:
- District® 5 Softball Team, selected by CoSIDA, the College Sports Information Directors of America, for the third year in a row.
- The MAC’s Medal of Excellence Award.
- One of 30 finalists for the softball Senior CLASS Award.
- Two-time MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete.
- Three-time NFCA Scholar-Athlete
- Academic All American, 2019 and 2020
In addition, Cegledy learned recently that she has been named one of the recipients of the 2020 Bob James Memorial Scholarship Award by the Mid-American Conference Faculty Athletics Representatives as announced by the league office today. The $5,000 post-graduate scholarship, in its 32nd-year, is awarded in honor of Bob James, the second commissioner in Mid-American Conference history (1964-71).
The Bob James Memorial Scholarship Award recognizes one female and one male student who have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.50 and have displayed good character, leadership and citizenship. The students are nominated during the year in which they complete their final season of eligibility.
Cegledy is currently a student at Ohio University in the physical therapy program and is looking forward to becoming a physical therapist.
Though Cegledy’s college days at Kent State were packed with activities, she found time to volunteer at the King Kennedy Center preparing peace baskets during the holidays and serving as an advocate for the softball team's annual “She Will” game, which is dedicated to promoting the participation of girls and women in sports.
Before Cegledy could complete her final year at Kent State, she had to adapt to the new normal of online classes and keeping her distance from her teammates. That meant making a schedule to do something different every day.
“Whether it was working out, running, reading, cleaning, or starting a new show on Netflix, I wanted to keep each day interesting and tried to have something to look forward to each day,” she said. “I also kept my classes at their normal times so that I could still have somewhat of a schedule.”
During that time, Cegledy leaned on the lessons she learned from playing softball since she was 7 years old. Sports taught her adaptability, how to work through tough situations and how to keep the lines of communication open.
Cegledy has words of wisdom for athletes in the class of 2021: Appreciate and take advantage of each day as it comes, despite the challenges you may encounter. “Not every day will be the best day and things might not always go exactly as planned, but it really is about the journey and the people standing next to you through it all,” she said. “Enjoy your time at such an incredible place filled with the most amazing people. Give one hundred percent in everything that you do because it’s true, you never know when it will be your last. Flashes Forever!”