OKLAHOMA CITY ?- Arizona’s All-American outfielder, Caitlin Lowe, has combined her on-field and off-field achievements to earn the honor of being the first-ever recipient of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for softball. The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to college softball’s outstanding NCAA Division I senior student athlete.
The trophy was presented to the Tustin, Calif., native during pre-tournament festivities at the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, in which the defending NCAA champion Wildcats are playing.
“This is a tremendous honor that goes beyond any on-field accomplishments and honors,” said Lowe. “I am simply flattered that anyone would recognize what I do as a person, and in that regard, this award should not go to me as much as it should go to my family for making me who I am."
Lowe is the Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and later this week is expected to become just the second, four-time First Team All-American in softball history at Arizona. She led her team to the top seed in the NCAA Tournament and, after Sunday’s win over Cal State Fullerton, on to the Women’s College World Series. As a senior, Lowe has batted .425 with 49 stolen bases and 55 runs scored.
While developing herself into one of the best softball players in the nation, Lowe has also been a model student and community leader. She is on track to graduate with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business. She is a leader on campus, working with PAL ?- Arizona’s Peer Athletic Leaders ?- which is dedicated to helping fellow student athletes make the transition to the university.
In the Tucson community, Lowe has participated in numerous events to raise money for charity, including Diabetes, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Ronald McDonald House and Arizona Cancer Center. She also joined several other Arizona athletes in a local Tucson television commercial “Survive the Drive” promoting safe driving and warning about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"This award could not go to a better person,” said Arizona head softball coach Mike Candrea. “Caitlin is the type of kid that you get once in a lifetime. On the field, I am continually impressed by the way she practices. You never know when she is practicing or playing in a game because she always has the same approach. That passion and dedication on the field can also be attributed to how she lives her life. She is a very grounded person and does things the way you wish every student-athlete would. She takes care of business by going to class, gives back to the community and is a role model for so many different people."
"This is an extremely exciting time of year for us at Lowe's because awarding the Senior CLASS Award is about so much more than honoring talented athletes," said Bob Gfeller, SVP of Marketing and Advertising at Lowe’s. "The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is about acknowledging hard-working students who embody the spirit of their communities. Caitlin has set a great example for us as she reflects on the goals she has accomplished and the promising future ahead of her."
Earlier this year, Lowe’s announced the addition of softball and three other NCAA sports to the award program that originally was launched in 2001 with basketball.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School
, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation’s premier tribute to college seniors.
The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student athlete, with criteria including excellence in the classroom, character and community, as well as competition in sports.
Arizona will take on eighth-seeded Baylor, which is making its first WCWS appearance, on Thursday at 8 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised live to a national audience on ESPN.