May 9, 2007
Kansas City, MO - Saint Mary's senior outfielder Eric Cattoni was selected as one of 10 finalists for the Baseball Division of the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award, which recognizes the Outstanding Senior Student Athlete in six NCAA sports, is in its first year for baseball.
Beginning this season, the award will be presented annually to an NCAA Division I senior baseball player who excels both on and off the field. The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award first started with men's and women's basketball six years ago and has now been extended to four additional NCAA sports including baseball.
The 2007 baseball finalists are: Austin Adams, Texas Christian, Eric Cattoni, Saint Mary's, Andy DeLaGarza, Coastal Carolina, Ryan Gryskevicz, Bucknell, Bryan Henry, Florida State, Aaron Ivey, Oklahoma, Brad Mills, Arizona, Eric Rose, Michigan, Emeel Salem, Alabama and Keanon Simon, Oklahoma State.
These ten finalists will be placed on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award ballot for a nationwide vote beginning May 10 and concluding June 6. Fan balloting, available on the award's official website www.seniorclassaward.com, will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the 2007 award.
The award winner will be announced and presented with his trophy during the 2007 NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Lowe's All-Senior All-America Team will also be recognized.
Finalists were selected from a list of 30 candidates based on personal qualities that define a complete student athlete. While the on-the-field performance thus far during the college baseball season was a factor in determining the finalists, the criteria also includes a high emphasis on the classroom, character and community service.
"These ten players are not only among the nation's best college baseball players, they are remarkable students and community members who have worked hard to accomplish great things both on and off the field," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising. "Lowe's is proud of its affiliation with the NCAA and college athletics, and we are pleased to help honor these individuals who have displayed a commitment to excellence as true student-athletes."
The initial concept of a special award for seniors was conceived by CBS sportscaster Dick Enberg, who was inspired in 2001 by the story of Shane Battier, who turned down offers from the NBA to return for his senior season at Duke despite the trend of college basketball players leaving school early. He led the Blue Devils to the national championship and earned his college degree during a sensational senior season.Since that time, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has become recognized as the nation's premier tribute to college seniors.
Cattoni exemplifies all these characteristics as he is not just a leader on the team but off it as well. The outfielder maintains a 4.0 grade point average while taking pre-med courses. Cattoni was awarded the CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award for his outstanding scholastic achievement in chemistry. The award was presented by the Taylor and Francis Group. The CRC Press Chemistry Award has been in place for more than 50 years.
On the field the Lethbridge, Alberta native is batting .302 with three home runs and 15 RBI. Cattoni leads the West Coast Conference with 52 runs scored and is second with three triples and 26 stolen bases. His 52 runs this season rank him tied for third at SMC in the single season annals. The fleet-footed outfielder's 43 career stolen bases rank sixth all-time.