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WSU alumna places 4th at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest

WSU alumna places 4th at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest

In the world of competitive eating, Wayne State alumna Meredith Boxberger is what some might call a natural. She downed 26 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held in New York on July 4. The prodigious eating display was good enough to place fourth in a field of nine women - the winner of the women's division finished just shy of 37 hot dogs.

While some of her competitors train their stomachs throughout the year for the variety of contests on the Major League Eating circuit, Boxberger simply shows up, eats and then takes a long nap. As an athlete, she always had a bigger appetite, but nothing that would indicate she would one day become the 25th-ranked competitive eater in the world.

"I didn't feel bad at all after eating the 26 hot dogs," commented Boxberger, who keeps to a normal 2,000-2,500 calorie daily diet when she is not competing. "It's like eating a big Thanksgiving dinner. I just went back to my room and took a long nap. The next day I was walking around New York checking out all the sights."

After graduating and finishing a four-year career on the WSU softball team in 2008, Boxberger didn't have any idea she would someday end up on ESPN, chowing down on hot dogs in front of thousands of spectators and almost 2 million television viewers. Ironically, she had aspirations to own a restaurant. That dream came true not long after leaving WSU, when she moved to Barrie, Ontario and opened a Little Caesars pizza franchise. Her experience as a business owner eventually led her to competitive eating.

"I was working so much and realized I was missing out on life so I made a life list one day," said Boxberger. "Entering an eating contest was one of the items on that list. A few months later there was a pizza eating contest in Barrie, so I entered and ended up eating five medium pizzas and taking third place."

Dubbed Meredith "the Deep Fried Diva" Boxberger by Major League Eating, she is considered Canada's top-ranked eater. While the fame of her recent ESPN appearance is opening up new opportunities in the food industry, she isn't planning on making competitive eating a full-time career.

"I'm going to continue to compete in the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest every year as well as some others across Canada and the United States," said the 26year-old Boxberger. "But I'm planning on returning to Michigan this fall to get a graduate degree in business." 

Click here for a video of Boxberger's performance at Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 2013.