Danielle Zymkowitz earned a spot among the 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award on Monday.
March 28, 2011
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Illinois softball senior second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) was selected as one of 10 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalists on Monday. Zymkowitz was one of only two players from the Big Ten selected as a candidate, with Zymkowitz joined by Michigan's Dorian Shaw on the ballot. Nationwide voting begins immediately to help determine the winner to be announced on June 3 during the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
"Danielle is as special a player as they come," Illinois head coach Terri Sullivan said. "This includes her skills, attributes and attitude! She made an impact here the moment she walked onto the field and continues to do more and more each year for our program. I can't think of any player more deserving to be considered for this prestigious award."
In 2011, Zymkowitz continues to steal bases at a program-best rate, finding success on 9-of-10 attempts. Against Longwood on March 4, Zymkowitz broke the program record for career runs scored, needing only 175 games to record her 168th run scored, besting Angelena Mexicano's program total of 167. The West Hills, Calif., native continues her streak of consecutive starts throughout 2011, securing second base for the Illini in all 26 games this year to total 185 consecutive starts at second since her freshman season at Illinois in 2008.
Last year, Zymkowitz earned her second consecutive All-Big Ten First Team award after finishing with a .409 batting average and a single-season Illinois record of 76 hits, while the Chaminade College Prep graduate scored 59 runs to go with 23 RBIs and 93 total bases. Zymkowitz's hits, runs scored, RBIs, total bases and stolen base (36) marks on the season all bested her 2009 All-America numbers, while her stolen bases total ranked first in single season thefts in Illini history.
Zymkowitz sports a .367 career batting average, the highest in Illinois softball history. Zymkowitz is also the career leader in stolen base percentage, finding success on 79 of 90 attempts (.878) while her career thefts total ranks second all-time. Zymkowitz is also featured on 13 more Illinois career lists, including highest on-base percentage, most hits and most runs scored.
In addition to her work on the field, Zymkowitz remains active in the community through the Illini Jock Jams fundraiser, the Hometown Heroes outreach program and visits to the Cantebury Ridge assisted living community. Also, Zymkowitz continues to be a leader on the Illinois softball team, receiving the Illini Igniter and Power Awards following the 2010 campaign. The Illini Igniter Award was given in recognition of her ability to get the team in game mode and keep the "fire" throughout the contest while the Illini Power Award was earned due to her hard work in practice and in the weight room to set the standards for Illinois players.
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 2011 nominee class totaled 30 student-athletes, including 21 candidates with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.0 while thirteen were from teams ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason top-25 poll.
2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalists
Stephanie Brombacher, Florida
Alisa Goler, Georgia
Chelsea Kelley, Radford
Brittany Lastrapes, Arizona
Kristine Priebe, Georgia Tech
Jenn Salling, Washington
Taylor Schlopy, Georgia
April Setterlund, Boston
Dorian Shaw, Michigan
Danielle Zymkowitz, Illinois