December 13, 2008

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(Frisco, TX) – Two-year Wake Forest team captain Sam Cronin – leader of the country’s top-ranked men’s soccer team, high-achieving student and active community citizen – has been selected as the 2008 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner in the men’s soccer division.  The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to the most outstanding NCAA® Division I senior student-athlete in nine sports.

The announcement and trophy presentation were made today by Lowe’s executives during halftime of the second semi-finals game of the NCAA® Men’s College Cup in Frisco, Texas.  This marks the second year for the men’s soccer division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Evan Barnes of the United States Naval Academy was the inaugural winner in 2007. 

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 on the field.

“It’s a great honor to receive the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award,” Cronin said.  “To see the attention it has received from the community really makes this award special.  I’m definitely honored to be mentioned with the other players that were nominated. It’s a great honor.  It’s good for myself, the soccer team, and the Wake Forest athletic department as a whole.”

Cronin helped lead Wake Forest to the National Championship in 2007 and is attempting to repeat that accomplishment as a senior in 2008.  While sparking the Deacons to the number one ranking throughout the ‘08 season, Cronin is now the Wake Forest all-time leader in games played and games started.  In addition, he has recently become one of 15 semifinalists for the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy and an All-ACC First Team Member.  He has scored ten goals along with four assists this season in spearheading Wake’s 21-1-1 record heading into the NCAA® Men’s College Cup.

Not only a competitor on the pitch, Cronin will graduate this month with a degree in political science.  His classroom success spurred selection to the ACC All-Academic Team and he is a three-time member of the ACC Honor Roll.

A native of Winston-Salem, Cronin takes time from his studies and life as a Division I athlete to give back to his community.  He participates in several volunteer service activities including “Eat with the Deacs,” the Ronald McDonald House, and Read Across America.  He has also been active on campus, serving on the Wake Forest Student Athlete Advisory Committee since 2006.

“We’re so excited for Sam and our soccer program,” said Wake Forest Head Coach Jay Vidovich.  “What a tremendous honor for him to be recognized nationally for everything he does, not only on the soccer field, leading us to a national championship, three straight College Cups and an undefeated regular season this year, but also for what he does around the community, his leadership on campus and his performance in the classroom.  It’s so fitting that he would be recognized with this award because he is a perfect role model for everything that we hope Wake Forest soccer represents.”

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team each year based on voting results of the finalists.  Joining Cronin on the 2008 first team is:  Michael Fucito, Harvard; Dylan Curtis, University of California Davis; A.J. Glubzinski, United States Military Academy; and Adam Gartner, Eastern Illinois University.  The second team includes Yohance Marshall, University of South Florida; Matt Besler, University of Notre Dame; O’Brian White, University of Connecticut; Dylan Sheehan, Brown University; and Garret Guthrie, University of Missouri – Kansas City.

“When Lowe’s began to recognize NCAA Division I student-athletes who excel both on and off the field, we were looking for models like Sam Cronin,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising.  “Sam is the epitome of the total student-athlete and we are so proud to shine the spotlight on him for his achievements.”

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, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA®, expanded the Senior CLASS Award program in 2007 to include NCAA® Division I men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball, and softball.  Football (Bowl Subdivision) has been added in 2008, bringing the total of NCAA sports to nine.

“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 of 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. ”

Men’s Soccer 2008 Winner

Name Position School
Sam Cronin Midfielder Wake Forest University

First Team

Name Position School
Dylan Curtis Midfielder UC Davis
Michael Fucito Midfielder Harvard
Adam Gartner Defender Eastern Illinois
A.J. Glubzinski Goalkeeper United States Military Academy

Second Team

Name Position School
Matt Besler Defender University of Notre Dame
Garret Guthrie Defender UMKC
Yohance Marshall Defender University of South Florida
Dylan Sheehan Forward Brown University
O’Brian White Forward University of Connecticut