December 14, 2007

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(Cary, NC) – A tremendous leader and one of America’s brightest young collegians, Evan Barnes of the United States Naval Academy has been selected as the men’s soccer recipient of the 2007 Senior CLASS Award. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to the outstanding NCAA® Division I senior student-athlete in men’s soccer.

Lowe’s, an official corporate sponsor of the NCAA®, will honor the senior goalkeeper, who becomes the first-ever winner in the new men’s soccer division of the award, with an on-field trophy presentation today during the NCAA® Men’s College Cup® in Cary, NC.

Earlier this year, Lowe’s announced the addition of men’s and women’s soccer to the award program, bringing the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award to a total of eight NCAA® sports. The award was originally 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.

“First, I want to thank Lowe’s and everyone involved for creating this award recognizing student-athletes in NCAA soccer,” Barnes said. “I was flattered to even be considered for the award and I am truly honored to be selected from a group of such accomplished individuals and distinguished sports programs. Without the support of my family, friends, teammates and coaches, none of this would be possible. I am proud to represent them as well as the Naval Academy soccer program.”

Barnes, who was recently named third team Academic All-America, posted a 1.39 GAA and a .705 save percentage during his senior season. He recorded 31 saves and three shutouts and was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 4, after leading Navy to a pair of season-opening shutouts.

In the classroom, Barnes is an Honors Systems engineering major with a 3.88 overall GPA and has posted a 4.0 every semester he has been on the soccer team. He is chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference where he is responsible for the planning and execution of the nation’s premier undergraduate leadership conference, a four-day event involving over 250 participants from more than 26 colleges and universities.

In the community, Barnes is involved with a broad spectrum of fascinating projects that are making an impact from campus to other countries. His global reach came on a project called Blood: Water Mission, an effort to provide clean water for people in Africa, to promote healthier communities, and protect individuals infected with AIDS from deadly water parasites and bacteria. Barnes has also volunteered extensively at The Center of Ohio Science and Industry (COSI), teaching basic scientific principles to elementary and middle school students. He has also dedicated his time to his fellow students as the founder of a company peer tutor program. Through the tutor program Barnes assigned mentors to individuals struggling academically and kept track of all meetings and academic progress.

“It has been an absolute honor for the coaching staff to work with a gentleman such as Evan Barnes,” said Rich Miranda, men’s soccer coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. “His commitment, determination and passion set the standard for student-athletes at any level. In addition, his leadership and desire to understand, learn and seek self improvement is what embodies the Naval Academy student-athlete and ultimately contributed to his on-going success. We are very proud he is a part of our soccer program. Evan represents what academics and athletics is all about.”

“Lowe’s is extremely pleased to honor student-athletes who work hard to achieve goals in every aspect of life,” said Bob Gfeller, SVP of Marketing and Advertising at Lowe’s. “Evan Barnes has displayed a tremendous amount of dedication and leadership in pursuing excellence during his athletic and academic career. His desire to utilize his skills to make an impact on other people is very evident. He is an outstanding choice for the first ever Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner in men’s soccer.”

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team based on voting results of the finalists. Joining Barnes on the 2007 First Team are: Kevin Forrest of the University of Washington, Trini Gomez of Loyola Marymount University, Julius James of the University of Connecticut and Tim Jepson of Duke University. The Second Team consists of: Stephen King of the University of Maryland, Peter Lowry of Santa Clara University, Brad Peetoom of Syracuse University, Julian Valentin of Wake Forest University and Mike Zaher of UCLA 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.

Lowe’s has expanded the Senior CLASS Award program this year to include NCAA® Division I men’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men’s and women’s basketball and now men’s and women’s soccer. The winner in each sport is announced at the respective NCAA® Championship events.

“Recognizing the many achievements of student-athletes is a goal the NCAA proudly shares with our corporate partner Lowe’s,” said Greg Shaheen, NCAA Senior Vice President for Basketball and Business Strategies. “The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award places a spotlight on the quality attributes of our future student-athlete graduates. The NCAA is proud to honor student-athlete leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to excel on the field of competition while they earn their degrees. ”