Four Finalists for Senior CLASS Award

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Four Pac-12 players are finalists for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in softball, the award committee announced Wednesday. CALIFORNIA pitcher/first baseman Valerie Arioto, ARIZONA STATE shortstop Katelyn Boyd, STANFORD shortstop Ashley Hansen and WASHINGTON utility player Niki Williams were among the 10 finalists chosen from the list of 30 candidates released in February.

Arioto, an American Studies major who completed her degree requirements in December, is excelling in her senior season for the top-ranked Golden Bears after missing last year due to a broken leg. Arioto is currently leading the Pac-12 on the mound and behind the plate with a 1.03 ERA, 1.092 slugging percentage, .646 on-base percentage and 15 home runs. She was named to the U.S. Senior National Team in January.

Boyd, a family studies major, was named an Academic All-American in both 2010 and 2011. She earned first team All-America recognition and was named a finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player last year as the Sun Devils captured the national title. Boyd is currently batting .448 and leads the Conference with 45 runs scored and 94 total bases. She also has 14 home runs this spring.

A management, science and engineering major at Stanford, Hansen is a two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American and the reigning USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She was the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year and has already broken the school record for career doubles (74) and ranks in the top-10 in program history in hits (274), triples (14), RBI (165) and runs scored (169).

Williams is an individualized studies major who was named to the Dean's List at Washington last quarter. She was a second team All-American and a top-25 finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year in 2011. Williams is currently hitting .300 with 33 runs, 27 hits and 31 RBI.

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.

Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website, www.seniorCLASSaward.com, through May 14. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I softball head coaches' votes to determine the winner.

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.

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series, which will be held May 31-June 6 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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