CHICAGO – Sam Houston State University sophomore and 2019 NCAA Women’s Bowling Division I Rookie of the Year Bea Hernandez has been named the winner of the 2019 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award which recognizes scholastic excellence and achievements in bowling.


Originally from the Philippines, the 19-year-old international business major is entering her second year as a member of the Sam Houston State Bearkats women’s bowling team. She holds a 3.9 grade point average, was named to the Dean’s list in 2018 and most recently named to the President’s list in the spring of 2019.


In addition to her Rookie of the Year honor, she was named NCAA second team All-American, Southland Bowling Conference Championship Most Valuable Player and Newcomer of the Year. Hernandez was also named to the NTCA academic all-America team

“As a foreign student from a developing economy who is studying here in the U.S., the scholarship means so much to me and my family,” said Hernandez.  “It will definitely help me fulfill my dream of being able to finish my studies here (at Sam Houston State) and at the same time being able to continue to bowl at a high level of competition. "I also would like to extend my gratitude to PBA for this honor and to Sam Houston State bowling coach Brad Hagen, for making me a better person both on and off the lanes, and to my Bearkat teammates and the SHSU Athletics Department for making me feel at home.”

In addition to her bowling accomplishments at Sam Houston State, Hernandez is also a member of both the Philippine national bowling team and national youth team. She earned a bronze medal in doubles in the 2017 Asian Youth Bowling Championships.


The $1,000 scholarship award was established to annually recognize a college student who combines outstanding bowling talents with academic excellence. Welu, who passed away in 1974, was best known for his expert analysis alongside legendary ABC broadcaster and PBA Hall of Famer Chris Schenkel on the “Pro Bowlers Tour” series. Welu was a two-time PBA Tour champion and a member of the PBA Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1975.              




2019 – Bea Hernandez (Sam Houston State University)

2018 – Wesley Low Jr. (Wichita State)

2017 – Kristie Lopez (Wichita State)

2016 – Sydney Brummett (Wichita State)

2015 – Ramon Hilferink (Webber International)

2014 – Melanie Hannon (Fairleigh Dickinson)

2013 – Katie Thornton (Webber International)

2012 – Danielle McEwan (Fairleigh Dickinson)

2011 – Kristina Frahm (Maryland Eastern Shore)

2010 – Kim Yioulos (Pikeville)

2009 – Elizabeth Seibel (Penn State)

2008 – Heather D’Errico (Robert Morris-Illinois)

2007 – Ricki Williams (Wichita State)

2006 – Jerrod Reece (Creighton University)

2005 – Mandy Pezzano (U of Penn)

2004 – Holly Pusok (University of Houston)

2003 – Robby Spigner (Indiana University)

2002 – N/A

2001 – Jennie Snoddy (Notre Dame College of Ohio)

2000 – Jackie Edwards (Cal State-Fresno)

1999 – Steven Svetlik (University of Illinois-Chicago)

1998 – Nicholas Hoagland (Indiana University)

1997 – Preston Brunswig (Wichita State)

1996 – Brenda Dosher (University of Southern Indiana)

1995 – Michael Lamont (University of Florida)

1994 – Joe Ciccone (Erie Community College)

1993 – N/A

1992 – Stephen Dale Jr. (Northeastern University)

1991 – Kari Murph (Morehead State)

1990 – Kimberly Berke (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

1989 – Ronni Shehorn (San Jose State)

1988 – Julie Powell (University of Michigan)             

1987 – N/A

1986 – Paul Kaib (University of Florida)

1985 – Curt Pezzano (University of Miami (Fla.)

1984 – Michelle Mullen (University of Illinois)

1983 – Jeri Edwards (Penn State)

1982 – Patricia Bowie (Arizona State)