KANSAS CITYˇ?Arizona senior catcher Callista Balko has been named a candidate for the Loweˇ?s Senior CLASS Award honoring NCAA Division I student-athletes for their competitive focus on all aspects of the collegiate student-athlete experience.
The ˇ?CLASSˇ± is an acronym for ˇ?celebrating loyalty and achievement for staying in school,ˇ± as the award initially was aimed in 2001 at college basketball seniors who chose to forego professional opportunities to complete their athletic eligibility and pursue a degree.? Since that time, NCAA corporate partner Loweˇ?s has expanded the award to include seven other NCAA sports.
2008 will be the second year for the softball division. Arizona outfielder Caitlin Lowe won the inaugural honor in 2007.
Balko, who turns 22 next month, is a senior from Tucson majoring in history with a business minor. She is among 30 candidates for the award. A national media committee will pare the list to 10 finalists late this month, for a subsequent nationwide vote including coaches, media and fans. The award winner is to be recognized at the NCAA Womenˇ?s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
She is among three Pac-10 players nominated, along with Anjelica Selden of UCLA and Jackie Vasquez of Arizona State.
Sportscaster Dick Enberg conceived the idea of an award in 2001 in response to the trend for menˇ?s basketball players to leave school early for the NBA. It later was expanded to include menˇ?s hockey, menˇ?s lacrosse, baseball, softball and menˇ?s and womenˇ?s soccer programs.
2008 Loweˇ?s Senior CLASS Nominees:
Callista Balko, Arizona catcher
Beth Boden, Tenneessee Tech shortstop
Sara Cerrone, Stony Brook outfielder
Jessica Chrabaszc, Delaware State first baseman
Jessica DePippo, Long Island catcher
Pam Dreslinski, Hosftra shortstop
Sara Dyer, Tulsa first baseman
Lauren Eckermann, Oklahoma pitcher
Jamie Fitzpatrick, Kent State first baseman
Lorena Floccari, Saint Louis pitcher
Rachel Folden, Marshall catcher
Shelly Madick, Harvard pitcher
Tiffany McDonald, Florida State pitcher
Aileen Morales, Georgia Tech infielder
Katya Muller, North Texas shortstop
Tiffany Prager, Alabama outfielder
Lauren Proctor, Massachusetts outfielder
Amanda Renth, Missouri first baseman
Megan Rhodes, Tennessee pitcher
Amanda Scarborough, Texas A&M pitcher/1B
Anjelica Selden, UCLA pitcher
Dana Shepherd, UMBC infielder
Shannon Stacy, Portland State outfielder
Angela Tincher, Virginia Tech pitcher
Jessica Toochck, kent State shortstop
Allison Vallas, Bowling Green State infielder
Jackie Vasquez, Arizona State outfielder
Sandy Vojik, DePaul utility player
Andrea Appia, Valparaiso pitcher