Wecker, Koehn Among Nation's Best
WECKER, KOEHN AMONG NATION'S TOP 30 SENIOR CLASS AWARD NOMINEES
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas State's Kendra Wecker and Laurie Koehn were among the nation's top 30 male and female college basketball players nominated for the fourth annual Bayer Advantage® Senior CLASS Award.
The award's organizing committee announced its list of candidates on Nov. 29. From that list, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in February. When the season reaches the NCAA Tournament in March, nationwide fan balloting will be coupled with results from voting by coaches and media to determine the male and female winner. Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg, who initiated the idea for the award and now serves as Honorary Chairman, announces the winner during the CBS telecast of the NCAA Men's Final Four.
The list of women's candidates includes representatives from 10 different conferences. The Big 12 Conference led the way with six nominees, including two players each from K-State and Texas. Tennessee and Rutgers also placed two athletes on the list. Three third team All-Americans head the 2004-05 nominee list including Wecker, Tennessee's Shyra Ely and Rutgers' Cappie Pondexter.
The Senior CLASS Award, an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, was launched during the 2001-02 college basketball season. It is designed to honor the attributes of seniors who remain committed to their university and elect to pursue the many rewards that a senior season can bring.
"The award is designed to return the prestige and dignity of being a senior college basketball player," Enberg said. "It's not intended to say that leaving early for pro basketball is wrong, rather to celebrate those who do decide to return for a senior season."
Connecticut's Sue Bird was the first women's winner of the award in 2002, followed by Mississippi State's LaToya Thomas (2003) and Duke's Alana Beard (2004). Last season, former Wildcat Nicole Ohlde (2000-04) was a top finalist for the award.
The Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award winners will receive their awards at the fourth annual Tribute Gala, scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2005, in Kansas City, Mo. The event is hosted by the Pride of Kansas City Foundation.
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