OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Pitcher Chelsea Kelley of Radford University has been selected as the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner in softball. The announcement and trophy presentation were made today in Oklahoma City by Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA®, during the Women’s College World Series®.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I head coaches, national media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I softball. 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 – community, classroom, character and competition.
“I feel very honored to be the recipient of the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The entire Lowe's journey this year has been so great for me. This experience has allowed me to get out in the community and try to make a positive impact on those I meet,” Kelley said. “Although Radford is in a smaller community, every person I have met during my collegiate career has positively influenced the person that I am today. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of the Radford community for the last four years and just want to thank everyone who has led me to where I am today.”
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.
Recently named the Big South Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Kelley maintained a 3.94 grade point average through her career. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in sports medicine and has been accepted into the university’s physical therapy doctoral program. A member of Radford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Kelley has represented the school at the Big South’s leadership conference. She is involved in numerous charitable activities, including Special Olympics and the Ronald McDonald House.
“I am so honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach Chelsea over the past four years. To see a kid go through so many challenges throughout her career, and to see her handle each obstacle with such dignity is a true testament to her character,” head coach Mickey Dean said. “One of the more astonishing things is for this young lady to win the fan vote against such great odds. I believe that shows the incredible impact she has on the people she has come in contact with.”
Kelley’s exploits on the softball field have led to Radford winning three straight Big South regular-season championships and advancing to its first two NCAA tournaments. Kelley finished in the top five in eight career pitching categories at Radford, including second in saves and third in wins.
“Chelsea has certainly fought through injuries during her outstanding career, but she’s proven that giving up on her dream was never a consideration,” said David Geren, Lowe’s vice president of marketing. “She’s used her experiences to make herself a better player on the field and to build a better community off the field.”
-Courtesy of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award