CLEVELAND -- Two senior members of MAC soccer squads were this week named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award watch list. Akron midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Northern Illinois defender Kyle Knotek are among just 30 candidates throughout the country for this presitigious award which celebrates achievement in four areas - community, classroom, character, and competition. 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.
Ampaipitakwong, one of three captains on this year's Zips squad, was a catalyst for the nation's top attacking unit last fall and was recently named to the 2010 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is considered the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer.
The native of Carollton, Texas, is a two-time NSCAA All-American, owns a 3.343 cumulative GPA as a marketing major at UA, and was named to the 2010 College Soccer News Preaseason All-America Team earlier this month.
Moreover, Ampaipitakwong has been an active member in the community. The midfielder volunteered 20 hours last year at ACCESS, which is a shelter for homeless women and children in Summit County, located in Akron. During his time at UA, Ampaipitakwong has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, visited local elementary schools to educate children about the sport of soccer and stress the importance of getting a good education, and assisted in numerous soccer camps at Akron and at IMG Academy in Florida.
Knotek, the most experienced member of the NIU soccer team with 42 career starts dating back to the Mid-American Conference Championship season of 2006, stands as one the only male candidate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Even more impressive, Knotek has achieved that mark in the renowned NIU College of Business. As a business administration major, Knotek was named an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American second team member in 2008, adding to an impressive list of academic awards. That list also includes two selections to the Academic All-Mid-American Conference Team, and MAC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors.
The Geneva, Ill. native has also stood out on the field. In 2008, as a junior, Knotek started 20 of 21 matches, including all three MAC Tournament games. The Huskies held their opponents scoreless for 285 minutes of that tournament with Knotek anchoring the backline. During his sophomore season, Knotek played an integral role on a team that upended No. 9 Northwestern and assisted two goals. As a freshman for the Huskies' 2006 MAC Championship team, Knotek played in 14 matches, and started in 11, including the MAC title game, and both NCAA Tournament matches.
The 30 candidate classes 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 male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.