CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 21, 2020) Fan voting for the Lowe's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®) Senior CLASS Award men's and women's basketball candidates is now open. Fans are encouraged to visit www.lowesciaasca.com to vote for their favorites among the 22 candidates from now through February 17, 2020. At the end of the voting period, fan votes will be combined with those of CIAA coaches and media to determine award winners.
The Lowe's CIAA Senior CLASS Award®, which focuses on men's and women's basketball players from the CIAA, is a division of the national Senior CLASS Award program that recognizes student-athletes in 10 NCAA Division I sports, with the CIAA being the only DII conference affiliated with the prestigious honor. Earlier this month, 22 CIAA men's and women's basketball student-athletes, who excel both on and off the court, were selected as candidates for the award.
"Lowe's commitment to recognizing the accomplishments of our student-athletes aligns perfectly with acknowledging academic excellence in our conference, said CIAA commissioner Jacqie McWilliams."CIAA student-athlete accomplishments both on and off the court and in the community highlight the best-of-the-best. Last year CIAA fans were heavily engaged in voting for their favorite players. &We are looking forward to votes exceeding last year in this 75th year of the CIAA tournament."
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Lowe's CIAA Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages players to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Shantel Bennett, a native of Sanford, NC, has been influential on the team with her work ethic and leadership. She serves as a mentor to her younger teammates as they adjust to college life on and off the court.
During her four seasons, Bennett and the Broncos have participated in a variety of community service initiatives; which include reading to kids at FSU's daycare center, volunteering at the local recreation center, helping with local churches' events, and most recently helping build a playground at a local recreation center.
Bennett was named preseason all-conference, was a 2019 All-Tournament honoree, and the team's Most Valuable Player thus far in her collegiate career of playing basketball.
Denzell Hosch (Shelby, NC) was one of 21 student-athletes at Fayetteville State to receive the D2 Athletics Directors Association (D2 ADA) Academic Achievement Award. This past Spring, Hosch graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems. He is currently pursuing his MBA with Project Management as the concentration. Prior to FSU, Hosch served 5.5 years in the US Army. He made the rank of Sergeant in less than three years. He is a role model for soldiers that still have dreams of playing college basketball. He is a proven leader on and off the basketball court.
Hosch teamed up with his hometown city of Shelby and the Holly Oak Park to host youth basketball sessions. This past October, he assisted the City of Fayetteville, in conjunction with the CarMax Foundation, in building a new $100,000 playground for kids in the surrounding Fayetteville State community.
"These student-athletes are positively impacting their classrooms and communities, making noticeable differences that go beyond the court," said Marvin Ellison, Lowe's President and CEO. "We know these student-athletes have bright futures ahead and look forward to honoring them at the CIAA Tournament in our hometown of Charlotte."
The Lowe's CIAA Senior CLASS Award candidates were nominated by their respective universities. Of the 22 student-athletes, all are in excellent academic standing at their universities with five holding GPAs of 3.5 or greater, and five were honored with preseason conference honors for outstanding performance on the court. Each of the candidates volunteers his or her time with charitable organizations and causes while upholding a reputation for positive character on campus and in the community.
Following the voting period, the male and female winners will be announced during the CIAA Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, and presented with the prestigious Senior CLASS Award trophy at the championship games on Saturday, February 29.
2019-20 Women's Lowe's CIAA Senior CLASS Award Candidates:
Adel Allen, Livingstone
Shantel Bennett, Fayetteville State
Angela Caraballo, Saint Augustine's
Jasmine Carter, Virginia Union
Taylor Daniels, Winston-Salem State
Yazmen Hannah, Virginia State
Dejoria Howard, Shaw
Shakarri Mack, Claflin
Kwanza Murray, Lincoln
Markeia Porter, Elizabeth City State
Malia Rivers, Johnson C. Smith
Kyaja Williams, Bowie State
2019-20 Men's Lowe's CIAA Senior CLASS Award Candidates:
Joseph Allen, Elizabeth City State
Julius Barnes, Winston-Salem State
David Belle, Bowie State
Haneef Britt, Claflin
Andrew Corum, Virginia State
Darian Daniels, Shaw
Jalen Gaddy, Saint Augustine's
Denzell Hosch, Fayetteville State
Nenad Milenkovic, Johnson C. Smith
Roger Ray, Livingstone