Leles Makes Lowe's Candidates List

March 9, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Arizona Softball senior Jenae Leles was named one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award on Friday.

Leles is currently batting .392 with nine home runs - six of them coming this past weekend. With the home runs, she is now tied for ninth on the UA career home runs list alongside Toni Mascarenas and Callista Balko with 43.

Both Leles and Laine Roth were named to the preseason watch list for the award. In 2008, Balko and Taryne Mowatt were named to the watch list.

Thirty elite collegiate softball student-athletes who excel not only on the playing field but also in the classroom and in their community were selected as candidates for the 2009 softball division of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

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 those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact.

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, expanded the award program in 2007 to include six additional NCAA Division I sports - men's and women's soccer, men's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball, and softball. With the addition of football this past fall, the number of sports encompassed by the nation's premier award for seniors increased to nine.

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: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition.

Twenty-nine NCAA colleges and universities are represented among the 30 candidates for the 2009 award, with the University of Alabama being the lone school with two selections.

The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. The ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans. The award winner will be announced and recognized at the 2009 NCAA® Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

'These 30 young women represent the tremendous opportunities offered by collegiate athletics,' said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. 'We at Lowe's are pleased to highlight student-athletes of this caliber and help lead the way in building our nation's future leaders.'

This marks the third year for the softball division of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Angela Tincher, pitcher for Virginia Tech University, captured the award in 2008 and University of Arizona outfielder Caitlin Lowe was the inaugural winner in 2007.

Sportscaster Dick Enberg, Honorary Chairman of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of men's basketball players leaving school early for the NBA. The award was launched to honor senior student-athletes who remained in college, exhausting their collegiate athletic eligibility, to pursue their college degree.

Up Next: Arizona will take on Simon Fraser University in a doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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