Florida Pitcher Stacey Nelson Wins the 2009 Softball Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

May 27, 2009

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(Oklahoma City, OK) – University of Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson, who has earned the rare distinction as both a softball All-American and Academic All-American, has been selected as the winner of the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the softball division. 

The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to college softball’s outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete.  The announcement and trophy presentation were made today by Lowe’s, an Official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, during the NCAA Women’s College World Series Opening Ceremonies in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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.

“I am extremely honored to be the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award recipient,” Nelson said.  “Just to be considered was an honor and to come out on top is something I never dreamed of.  I want to thank all the people who have been here for me in my collegiate career.  I want to thank the University of Florida for the opportunity and tools to allow me to excel in the classroom and reach out in the community.  I want to thank the UF softball program for giving me the opportunity to play softball and to the Lowe’s Senior Class Award committee for giving me the chance to be a part of this great award.”

As a senior, Nelson has led the Gators to the No. 1 ranking in the nation and the top seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The two-time All-American recently was named the 2009 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year with a 39-3 record, including two no-hitters.  The right-hander has the lowest ERA (0.41) in the country and is second in wins.  She was also named to the All-SEC first team and the SEC All-Defensive team for the second straight year.  It was her second Pitcher of the Year Award. With 134 career wins, Nelson ranks seventh all-time on the NCAA victories list and second in SEC history.  Her 1,025 strikeouts are first in the UF record books and seventh in the SEC’s

In the classroom, the Academic All-American is a philosophy major who has been a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.  Her ambition is to attend law school where she would like to study humanitarian law and work for the International Criminal Court.

The number of Nelson’s extra-curricular activities rivals her athletic awards.  A representative for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), she was a co-chairman of Climb for Cancer, which gives children with cancer a chance to play sports with UF student-athletes.  She also has spent time at various elementary schools in the Gainesville area, reading to children and being a mentor.  As a member of the softball team, Nelson helped build a home for a local family through Habitat for Humanity and has spent the last four holiday seasons delivering sneakers to children through the UAA’s Gator Tracks program.

“This is a tremendous honor for Stacey, for our softball program and for the University of Florida,” said Gators head softball coach, Tim Walton.  “Stacey truly exemplifies what it means to be a class act on and off the field.  On behalf of the entire softball program, I want to thank Lowe’s for recognizing a great person.”

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team each year based on voting results of the finalists.  Joining Nelson on the 2009 first team is:  Whitney Haller, Georgia Tech; Amber Patton, DePaul University; Brittany Rogers, University of Alabama and Tammy Williams, Northwestern University. The second team includes Lillian Hammond, University of Tennessee; Jenae Leles, University of Arizona; Jessica Mapes, Arizona State University; Missy Penna, Stanford University and Samantha Ricketts, University of Oklahoma.

“The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has developed into a wonderful tribute for college student-athletes,” said Bob Gfeller, senior vice president of marketing at Lowe’s. “On behalf of more than 228,000 associates at Lowe’s, we salute Stacey for a tremendous collegiate career at the University of Florida.  She has been a role model for many youngsters and has clearly taken her status as a college student-athlete and used it to benefit others.”

This marks the third year for the softball division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Arizona’s Caitlin Lowe was the inaugural winner in 2007 and Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher was the recipient in 2008.

Lowe’s expanded the Senior CLASS Award program in 2007 to include NCAA Division I softball, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey and men’s lacrosse to go along with the original sports of men’s and women’s basketball.  With the addition of football (Bowl Subdivision) in 2008, the award is now presented in nine NCAA sports. 

Softball 2009 Winner

Name Position School
Stacey Nelson Pitcher University of Florida

First Team

Name Position School
Whitney Haller First Base Georgia Tech
Amber Patton Third Base DePaul University
Brittany Rogers Outfield Alabama
Tammy Williams Shortstop Northwestern University

Second Team

Name Position School
Lillian Hammond Outfield University of Tennessee
Jenae Leles Third Base Arizona
Jessica Mapes Outfield Arizona State University
Missy Penna Pitcher Stanford
Samantha Ricketts First Base University of Oklahoma