2020 graduates Tim Rooney and Maria Cegledy are the winners of the Bob James Memorial Scholarship Award. The scholarship award recognizes one female and one male student-athlete that have achieved a minimum grade point average of a 3.50 and have displayed good character, leadership and citizenship.
A student-athlete can be nominated for the award within the year in which they complete a full season of eligibility. The scholarship is for $5,000 and is awarded in honor of Bob James, the second commissioner in MAC history. This is the 32nd year that this scholarship has been awarded to deserving student athletes.
Rooney has many years of community service prior to college. But being an athlete at Kent State, his volunteering did not stop. He and his team have volunteered to read at schools like Fishcreek Elementary in Stow. Rooney also had an internship that was a volunteer experience with the Cleveland Clinic.
At the Cleveland Clinic, Rooney was a cardiac rehab intern in Copley, Ohio. He got to assist patients with COPD, lung disease and emphysema. “The experience was really rewarding,” said Rooney. “It was really cool to hang out with them 3 to 4 days a week for an hour, and I got to build relationships with each of them.”
Immediately following graduating from Kent State, Rooney began a physician’s program at Baldwin Wallace University.
“Kent really helped me find my route in my degree and figure out what’s best for me,” said Rooney. In Rooney’s five years at Kent State, he was a four-time MAC scholar athlete, a two-time MAC distinguished scholar athlete and a three-time NWCA Scholar All American.
Rooney is not saying goodbye to wrestling forever either. Although he won’t be competing, he has been invited to be a volunteer for the Baldwin Wallace wrestling team.
Both Rooney and Cegledy brought up how helpful, understanding and trustworthy professor Adam Jajtner was for them during their time at Kent State. Jajtner is a part of the exercise physiology faculty. He was also a student-athlete at Valparaiso University.
“Dr. Jajtner was my go-to professor for everything; he knew everything I was going through from an athletes standpoint, he was always accommodative, he helped me through pretty much any little thing I needed him for, even outside of office hours. He even attended a dinner or two with me, he deserved to be recognized too,” said Rooney.
The other recipient of the post-graduate award was Maria Cegledy. She has earned a degree in exercise science and has moved on to physical therapy school at Ohio University. She played for Kent State’s Softball team.
Cegledy had the opportunity to do volunteering during her time at Kent State. Her favorite time was making peace baskets for the King Kennedy Center in Ravenna, OH.
Cegledy earned the MAC's Medal of Excellence Award, is a two-time Academic All-American and is one of 30 finalists for the softball Senior CLASS Award. She is also a two-time MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete and a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete. “My favorite game was my freshman year, winning the MAC, I couldn't run fast enough to the huddle to celebrate, it was an amazing moment,” said Cegledy.
Cegledy went on to talked about different memories she had with her teammates through her four years at Kent State, and although she did not get to finish her senior season, she still was happy talking about how helpful her family of teammates has been through the recent months.
“I want to thank my teammates for everything, they are 100 percent the reason I had the experiences that I did,” said Cegledy. “I also want to thank my coaches for always being there for me on and off the field, no matter what.”
Jessica Urig covers Sports. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.