Feb. 15, 2012
Watkins, a three-time All-Big Ten selection, has started 156-of-159 games as a Hawkeye, where she has posted a .316 batting average with 107 RBI and 23 home runs. She is tied for fourth in school history with 23 long balls and is ninth with 110 career RBI.
In the classroom, Watkins is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, while majoring in business management and organizations in Iowa's Henry B. Tippie College of Business. She carries a 3.75 grade point average in her major and a 3.20 cumulative GPA.
Watkins takes a great deal of pride in giving back to the community. She has and continues to volunteer in a number of different facets, including Habitat for Humanity, Iowa City Clean-up Days, Beading to Beat Autism, various hunger drives, Special Olympics, University of Iowa Thank-a-thon and Hawkeye Pride, which allows UI student-athletes to meet and interact with local grade school children.
Watkins is also involved in various cancer walks and fundraisers, focusing on testicular and breast cancer. Watkins became deeply involved after one of her best friends was diagnosed with testicular cancer in high school before passing away in Nov. 2008. Each year, Watkins assists with an annual event -- Brandon's Run. She was also instrumental in helping get a law passed in the state of Illinois -- Brandon's Law -- making it mandatory that every male high school student who is active in athletics must be checked for testicular cancer.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series, which will be held May 31-June 6 in Oklahoma City.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
Iowa returns to action Friday afternoon, facing Illinois State in its first game of the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Softball Candidates
Valerie Arioto, Pitcher/First Base, California
Gracie Barstad, Third Base, Western Michigan
Emily Bledsoe, Infield, Texas Tech
Katelyn Boyd, Shortstop, Arizona State
Rachel Brown, Pitcher, Harvard
Ashley Burnham, Shortstop, James Madison
Molly Coldren, Infield, Central Michigan
Kacee Cox, Catcher/First Base, St. John's (N.Y.)
Mallory Duran-Sellers, Outfield, Southern Illinois
Bree Evans, Outfield, Michigan
Julie Fernandez, First Base, Lehigh
Michelle Fuzzard, Pitcher/DP, Chattanooga
Chelsea Garcia, Shortstop, Oklahoma State
Molly Garst, Infield, Purdue
Ashley Guile, Infield, Nebraska
Ashley Hagemann, Pitcher, Nebraska
Ashley Hansen, Shortstop, Stanford
Shayla Jackson, Outfield, Florida State
Natalie Land, Shortstop, Central Florida
Brittany Mack, Pitcher, LSU
Ashley McClain, Outfield/Pitcher, Florida International
Jen Mineau, Pitcher, Fordham
Adrienne Monka, First Base, Northwestern
Michelle Moultrie, Centerfield, Florida
Christi Orgeron, Utility, Louisiana
Cassie Reilly-Boccia, Outfield/First Base, Alabama
Stephanie Ricketts, Pitcher, Hawaii
Rachel Riley, Pitcher/DP, Kentucky
Liz Watkins, Catcher, Iowa
Niki Williams, Utility, Washington