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Feb. 23, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior Erika Leonard of the Ohio State softball team has been named one of 30 candidates nationwide for the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

Leonard emerged as one of the Big Ten’s brightest stars last year, setting a conference record with 37 RBI in 23 games while batting .414 and belting a team-high 15 home runs. A native of Cincinnati, she had a historically good season half of the season, hitting .512 with 53 RBI and a 1.083 slugging percentage over the final 24 games of the season. For her efforts, Leonard was a first team All-Big Ten and second team All-Region honoree.

Complementing her achievements on the field, Leonard has been active in the Columbus and Cincinnati communities. Every fall, Leonard and her teammates support cancer research at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital as part of the Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic. Since it has started, the event has generated over $200,000. She also reads to children at local elementary schools as part of the 2nd and 7 Foundation and has helped raise money for the Marking Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Cincinnati in support of her mother, a breast cancer survivor.

A sociology major, Leonard last year earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors for maintaining a GPA of 3.7 or better during the 2014-15 academic term. She was also one of five Buckeyes to be named a NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete.

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 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2016 Women’s College World Series.