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Leles One of 10 Finalists for Senior Award
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/30/2009
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 30, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Arizona Softball senior Jenae Leles has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

The Fair Oaks, Calif. native - fresh off of a walk-off home run yesterday - is hitting .379 at the plate with 17 home runs, matching a career high. Her 51 RBI are a career high with still 18 games remaining in the regular season.

Earlier this year, Leles was chosen by the Rockford Thunder at the 2009 National Pro Fastpitch Senior Draft, being taken sixth overall.

An impressive lineup of 10 senior student-athletes who have garnered tremendous achievements both on and off the field have been selected as finalists for the 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the Softball division. Nationwide balloting begins immediately to determine the third annual winner, who will receive the award during the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The finalists were chosen from a list of 30 candidates based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. These four primary areas of criteria include: classroom, community, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has developed into the nation's premier tribute to college seniors. The award, which launched in 2001 with college basketball, is now in its third year for softball. Arizona outfielder Caitlin Lowe won the inaugural softball division award in 2007 and Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher was the 2008 recipient.

The 2009 finalists are: Whitney Haller, Georgia Tech University; Lillian Hammond, University of Tennessee; Jenae Leles, University of Arizona; Jessica Mapes, Arizona State University; Stacey Nelson, University of Florida; Amber Patton, DePaul University; Missy Penna, Stanford University; Samantha Ricketts, University of Oklahoma; Brittany Rogers, University of Alabama; Tammy Williams, Northwestern University.

These 10 names will be placed on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award softball ballot for a nationwide vote beginning March 30 and concluding May 7. Fan balloting, available on the award's official website www.seniorclassaward.com, will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award.

"These outstanding student-athletes deserve recognition for their all-around achievements in the classroom, in the community and on the softball field," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing. "The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is dedicated to honoring individuals who are making an impact on others with their talents. Lowe's commends each of these finalists, along with their respective coaches and universities."

The 2009 award winner will be announced and presented with the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award trophy at the Opening Ceremonies of the NCAA Women's College World Series on June 2nd in Oklahoma City, OK. The Lowe's All-Senior All-America Team, based on final results of the balloting, will also be recognized.

The idea of an award to salute collegiate seniors was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was inspired by the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. The Senior CLASS Award was formed to honor senior student-athletes who fulfill their entire collegiate athletic eligibility, earn a college degree and give back to their community.

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, expanded the award in 2007 to include six other NCAA sports: men's hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball, softball, men's soccer and women's soccer. Football (Bowl Subdivision) was added in 2008 to bring the total sports affiliated with the award to nine.

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Up Next: Arizona heads to Washington for a Friday matchup with the Huskies, then travels to UCLA to finish up the weekend against the Bruins. Saturday and Sunday's games can be heard on KCUB 1290 AM, with David Kelly behind the mic.

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