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Inaugural Lowe's CLASS Award Finalists Named

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ten of the nation’s top female student athletes have been selected as finalists for the softball division of the 2007 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award, which recognizes the Outstanding Senior Student Athlete in six NCAA sports, is in its first year for softball. 

Beginning this season, the award will be presented annually to an NCAA Division I senior softball player who excels both on and off the field. The Lowe’s Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award first started with men’s and women’s basketball six years ago and has now been extended to four additional NCAA sports, including softball. 

The 2007 softball finalists are: Stephanie Brown, Notre Dame, Garland Cooper, Northwestern, Lindsey Gerheim, Army, Kristina Hull, Georgia Tech, Dominique Lastrapes, Washington, Caitlin Lowe, Arizona, Katie Martin, Missouri State, Jamie Reiss, Creighton, Lindsay Schutzler, Tennessee, and Kate Sheaks, DePaul. 

These 10 finalists will be placed on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award ballot for a nationwide vote beginning April 26 and concluding May 23. Fan balloting, available on the award’s official website , will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the 2007 award. 

The award winner will be announced and presented the award during the opening ceremonies of the 2007 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. 

Finalists were selected from a list of 20 candidates based on personal qualities that define a complete student athlete. While the on-the-field performance thus far during the college softball season was a factor in determining the finalists, the criteria also includes a high emphasis on the classroom, character and community service. 

“These 10 softball players have shown a tremendous track record in all aspects of student life – on the playing field, in the classroom and in their local communities,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising. “They are very deserving finalists for the first ever Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for the sport of softball. We congratulate them on reaching this level and we look forward to announcing the winner at the NCAA Women’s College World Series in May.” 

The initial concept of a special award for seniors was conceived by CBS sportscaster Dick Enberg, who was inspired in 2001 by the story of Shane Battier who turned down offers from the NBA to return for his senior season at Duke despite the trend of college basketball players leaving school early. He led the Blue Devils to the national championship and earned his college degree during a sensational senior season. 

Since that time, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has become recognized as the nation’s premier tribute to college seniors.