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UMES sports champs part of public tribute

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Champions WayPRINCESS ANNE, MD -  (April 21, 2014) - Fifty years of championship titles earned by lower Eastern Shore collegiate and professional teams are now on display together at the corner of West Main and North Division streets in Salisbury, where civic leaders last week unveiled "Champions Way."   

    A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held during the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District's monthly "Third Friday" celebration.  Flags commemorate 26 winning teams from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Salisbury University and the Delmarva Shorebirds, spanning from 1963 to 2013. UMES President Juliette B. Bell was among those on hand to launch the celebration. 

    "The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has a long tradition of combining the best of academics and athletics, and we are happy to share our story of successes on the fields of play through this exciting project," Bell said. "The UMES Hawks proudly take our place along Champions Way alongside the SU Sea Gulls and the Delmarva Shorebirds"  

    The Champions Way project arose from suggestion by Pastor Ryan Weaver of Remedy Church, located on Salisbury's Downtown Plaza, as a way to celebrate the region's athletic victories. 

    "We are so proud of the legacy of champions who have represented our community," Weaver said. "Champions Way is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the successes of the many students, athletes and coaches who have sacrificed much on fields and courts.

    Supporters of the recognition project point to Champions Way as an example of the collaboration that exists between the City of Salisbury, the local universities that engage in intercollegiate athletics and the Shorebirds. 

    "I applaud efforts to solidify partnerships between community stakeholders," Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach said. "We appreciate the opportunity to celebrate not only SU's outstanding record of athletic excellence, but those of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the Shorebirds.  Interestingly, all our mascots have feathers, and it seems appropriate that we flock together on Champions Way."  

    Salisbury City Council President Jake Day agreed:  "We have so much to be proud of in this community. In this small display of collaboration and partnership we are able to celebrate the dozens of champions in our midst whose talent was tested and proven to be the best." 

    Chris Bitters, general manager of the Shorebirds, said, "This will be a great way to recognize the local teams in the community that have won championships in their respective leagues and/or sports.  The Shorebirds are proud to be a part of Salisbury's very own Champions Way." 

    Each of the 26 aluminum flags on Champions Way will commemorate a specific athletic victory win. They include:

    •          UMES women's bowling 2008, 2011 and 2012 NCAA championships, and 2011 and 2013 USBC championships
    •          UMES men's outdoor track and field 1963 NCAA and NAIA championships