COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior co-captain Cory Kovanda was today named one of 30 candidates for the 2010 Lowe’s 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 – classroom, character, community and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in SchoolTM, 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. 

Kovanda is majoring in early childhood development. Although he is quick with a smile and always seems to be enjoying the moment, life hasn’t always been easy for him. He lost his mother, Linda, to pancreatic cancer two weeks before the start of the 2009 baseball season.

At age 12 he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, something he says will not run his life. And he lives by that mandate. He keeps extra food and insulin with him at all times. He checks his blood sugars repeatedly during games. He has collapsed prior to games and come close to it during games. But he gets back up and he takes care of himself.

Kovanda takes care of others, too. He knows what it means to be responsible for someone with special needs. He has a twin sister, Kimberly, who was born with Down syndrome. Kimberly likes to tell Cory he is her favorite brother, but then she also likes to tell their older brother, Chris, that he is her favorite. Cory is a favorite to a lot of people around Columbus, Ohio.

In the community, Kovanda has done everything from raise money for a pancreatic cancer society to take part in diabetes walks for life. He takes time to go to the elementary schools in Columbus and talk to children about the importance of being good people and good teammates. He has visited cancer patients at Columbus Children’s Hospital. And this year he and his teammates are working to “adopt” a cancer patient and make that young person a part of the team. The effort is still in the planning stages, but if anyone can insure it happening, Kovanda can.

Kovanda was Ohio State’s Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship honoree in 2009. This most experienced Buckeye with 160 career starts sports a .320 career batting average and he is one of the most clutch players on the team, batting .415 with runners in scoring position in 2009. He has 185 career hits and he has scored 125 runs. Last year he was second-team all-Big Ten Conference. He made the Big Ten all-tournament team in 2008. And in 2007 he was a freshman All-American.

Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS AwardTM winner at the NCAA College World Series® in June.

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, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition. 

One can add a fifth C when it comes to Cory Kovanda: classy.

Visit the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award web site here for more information.