The men's and women's soccer 2013 Senior CLASS Award nominees were announced Wednesday, and the Big Ten Conference had six total student-athletes garner recognition.
Big Ten men's soccer nominees included Michigan State's Kevin Cope, Indiana's A.J. Corrado and Northwestern's Chris Ritter. On the women's side, Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Penn State's Maya Hayes and Michigan's Holly Hein were all named Senior CLASS Award nominees.
Cope, Carrado and Ritter were all named to the Big Ten's players to watch list in conjunction with Wednesday's release of the preseason coaches' poll. Cope is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and collected second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2012. Corrado was a first-team All-Big Ten pick last season and also received Academic All-Big Ten plaudits. Ritter was tabbed the Big Ten Defender of the Year in 2012, while also being named first-team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten.
DiBernardo was named first-team All-Big Ten in each of the past two seasons, and was the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Hayes has collected Big Ten Forward of the Year and received first-team All-Big Ten honors in each of the past two seasons. Hein is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, and was named first-team All-Big Ten in 2012.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the 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 candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.