Oct. 6, 2009

NCAA Release

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Twenty NCAA men’s and women’s soccer student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were tabbed as finalists today for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the two soccer divisions. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School™, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 men’s candidates and 30 women’s candidates that were announced in August.

Nationwide balloting begins immediately to determine the winner. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winners during the 2009 NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup championships in early December.

The 2009 men’s finalists are: Zak Boggs, University of South Florida; Ronnie Bouemboue, North Carolina State University; Richard Edgar, George Mason University; Rylan Hawkins, University of Washington; Tennant McVea, Loyola University Maryland; Patrick Sampson, Loyola Marymount University; Zack Schilawski, Wake Forest University; Eric Weigman, IUPUI; Jason Yeisley, Pennsylvania State University; and Ben Zemanski, University of Akron.

The women’s finalists for 2009 are: Elizabeth Betterbed, United States Military Academy; Kelsey Davis, University of Portland; Kristi Eveland, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Theresa Ferraina, Loyola University Maryland; Lauren Lopez, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Blakely Mattern, University of South Carolina; Lizzy Nichols, Harvard University; Kelley O’Hara, Stanford University; Emily Peterson, Texas A&M University; and Myra Sack, Dartmouth College.

These 20 names will be placed on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award soccer ballot for a nationwide vote beginning today and concluding November 13. Fan balloting will be available on the award’s official Web site, http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text SOCCER to 74567 to vote for men’s finalists and GOAL to 74567 to vote for women’s finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.

“We commend these student-athletes for their outstanding achievements on and off the field,” said Tom Lamb, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing. “Lowe's is proud of its affiliation with the NCAA and college athletics, and we want to honor these competitors who have displayed a commitment to character, community and the classroom in addition to recognizing their accomplishments on the soccer field."

This marks the third year for the men’s and women’s soccer division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, and more than 175 student-athletes were nominated this year. Wake Forest University midfielder Sam Cronin received the men’s award for the 2008 season, while Kerri Hanks from the University of Notre Dame won the women’s award. In 2007, United States Naval Academy goalkeeper Evan Barnes took home the inaugural men’s soccer award and Stephanie Lopez from the University of Portland received the women’s award.
 
ABOUT THE AWARD

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School™, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition.  The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards that a senior season can bring. Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men’s basketball players leaving school early for the NBA. The award program has expanded the past two years to include a total of nine NCAA® Division I sports – football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men’s and women’s basketball. The award is sponsored by Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, and managed by Premier Sports Management.  For more information, visit www.seniorCLASSaward.com.

ABOUT LOWE’S

With fiscal year 2008 sales of $48.2 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE® 50 company that serves approximately 14 million customers a week at more than 1,675 home improvement stores in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.

ABOUT THE NCAA

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletics opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.NCAA.org and www.NCAA.com for more details about the Association.