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Barnes and Weniger Named Candidates For the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award

Sept. 25, 2007

  • Official Release | Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Website

  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Navy soccer standouts Evan Barnes and Kari Weniger have been selected as candidates for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. Barnes and Weniger are the second and third Navy student-athletes in the last two years to be named as candidates for the prestigious award as 2007 graduate Kate Hobbs was selected to the first team in the women's basketball category a year ago. Twenty candidates from each side were selected on the initial list. Navy joins North Carolina and UCLA as the only schools to have both a male and female candidate.

    Barnes, a senior goalkeeper from Dublin, Ohio, has appeared in five games this year for head coach Rich Miranda, owning a 3-1-1 mark in the net with a 0.74 GAA and a .765 save percentage. He was named Patriot League Player of the Week following a pair of shutouts during the Navy Anders Soccer Classic on Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. For his career, he is 6-7-3 with four shutouts, a .750 save percentage and a GAA of 1.11.

    In the classroom, Barnes owns a 3.88 GPA in honors systems engineering and ranks 57th (out of 1,085 students) on the academic order of merit. He has posted a 4.0 GPA during every semester he has been on the men's soccer team. Barnes led the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for Men's Varsity Soccer with a 4.0 GPA, and was one of two players in the Patriot League to have a 4.0 GPA throughout the championship season. Barnes was also selected to the ESPN Academic All-District II Team for Men's Soccer.



    Perhaps the most significant obstacle he has had to overcome was a serious car accident on June 14, 2003, that left him disqualified from the Academy for a year. It was serious enough he had to be cut out of the car and life-flighted to Ohio State Medical Center, where he underwent six months of physical therapy to prove he was physically qualified. He attended Ohio State University for a year while recovering from his injuries, before being readmitted into the Academy in 2004. Barnes is chairman of the USNA Leadership Conference where he is responsible for the planning and execution of the nation's premier undergraduate leadership conference, a four-day event involving over 250 participants from more than 26 colleges and universities.

    In the community, Barnes has participated in a project called Blood: Water Mission, an effort to provide clean water for people in Africa, to promote healthier communities, and protect individuals infected with AIDS from deadly water parasites and bacteria. Barnes volunteered extensively at The Center of Ohio Science and Industry (COSI). Here he taught basic scientific principles to elementary and middle school students and performed over fifty large scale demonstrations.

    Barnes is the only goalkeeper listed among the 20 men's candidates and is the only player from the Patriot League selected.

    "It's a tremendous honor to be considered for such an award. This award is both humbling and flattering at the same time," said Barnes. "However, I think most of the credit goes to my family, teammates and coaches. Without their support on and off the field I wouldn't have the personal and professional foundation needed for individual success. I think this is a testament to the Naval Academy Men's and Women's soccer programs to have two players selected and I am truly honored to even be considered a candidate."

    One of the most well-rounded student-athletes in the Brigade, senior forward Kari Weniger (St. Petersburg, Fla.) has been a success story both on and off the field. Voted by her peers to serve as Navy's team captain this fall, Weniger has played an integral role in Navy's success over the last four years.

    As a freshman, she produced 10 points on three goals and four assists in the 20 games in which she played. During her sophomore year, she tore her ACL (her third ACL tear...twice in high school, once at Navy) 12 games into the year, but had already recorded seven points on two goals and three assists. Last fall, she was Navy's third-leading scorer with a personal-best 20 points on seven goals and six assists. She was tied for eighth in the Patriot League in points per game and seventh in assists per game. Nine games into the 2007 campaign, Weniger has produced a pair of assists en route to the Mids' 4-3-2 record.

    In addition to her success on the pitch, Weniger is also an exceptional student. Last fall she was named a Second-Team Academic All-American and NSCAA/adidas All-East Scholar. Majoring in ocean engineering, she boasts a 3.97 cumulative grade-point average. She is ranked 18th in academic order of merit among 1,073 students in the Class of '08 and 27th overall (factoring in military performance). Weniger, who has achieved a 4.0 GPA in six of her seven semesters at the Academy, has appeared on the Superintendent's and Commandant's Lists five times.

    Weniger's leadership role is not exclusive to the soccer field, but also extends into the Brigade where she has also held leadership positions. She has served as a Plebe Summer Company Commander, one of the most important roles as an upperclassman at the Academy. That position helps indoctrinate the plebes into the military lifestyle they will face over the next four years. Additionally, she is serving as her company's honor representative this semester.

    Weniger has also provided leadership in the lines of community service where she and her teammates have participated in countless projects over the years, including the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and GreenScape (Annapolis-based landscaping project), to name a few.

    Additionally, she has personally reached out the TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), The Children's Dream Fund and the Midshipmen Action Group.

    "I am very excited to be able to represent the Navy women's soccer program in being nominated for this award," said Weniger. "It corresponds with so many of the values that our team is built upon. Thanks to the foundation provided by the Naval Academy, as well as our soccer coaches. I think that every player on our team could be nominated for such an award.

    "To be able to share the nomination with another Navy player is also a great honor."

    From the list of 20 candidates in each sport, a national media committee will select 10 finalists in both divisions in October for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Those ten names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning Oct. 16 and concluding Nov. 21. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award. Winners will be announced during the NCAA Soccer Championships, scheduled on Dec. 7-9 in College Station, Texas, for the women and Dec. 14-16 in Cary, N.C. for the men.

    "We are excited to get the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award started for the 2007-08 academic school year," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "With the addition of men's and women's soccer, the awards program is active on college campuses from fall through spring, recognizing student athletes for pursuing excellence in all facets of life. Each of these 2007 soccer candidates has demonstrated tremendous characteristics in the classroom and their community as well as on the playing field."

    An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman, and has recognized winners in men's and women's basketball for six years. Lowe's extended the award in the spring of 2007 to include four other NCAA sports: baseball, softball, men's hockey and men's lacrosse. With the addition of men's and women's soccer in fall 2007, a total of eight sports are now included in the awards program.

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