Overland Park, Kan. - San Jose State University senior midfielder Nick Cukar was selected on Wednesday, August 26, as one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in men's soccer.
One of the most prestigious senior recognitions in college athletics, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in the areas of classroom, community, character and competition. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior, and have notable achievements in all four areas mentioned.
In all, 60 NCAA men's and women's soccer student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were named as candidates. Cukar, a native of Millbrae, Calif., and 2006 graduate of Capuchino High School, is the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's lone representative, and along with Loyola Marymount University goalkeeper Patrick Sampson, is one of just two candidates from the state of California. The only other name from a West Coast school on the list is University of Washington goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins.
Cukar was San Jose State's leading scorer a year ago, tallying nine goals toward 18 total points from his outside midfield position, with an incredible seven of those strikes serving as game-winners in his team's nine victories. He thus earned second-team all-region, first-team All-MPSF and team Offensive MVP distinction. Now a two-time All-MPSF honoree, he is the Spartans' active goal-scoring leader with 15, and has started 37 consecutive matches the past two years.
In the classroom, Cukar is a kinesiology major who earned selection to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Scholar All-West Region team a year ago. He was also an Academic All-WAC pick for 2008, and a San Jose State University Scholar-Athlete in 2007-08. A co-captain for his final season of college soccer, Cukar is a men's soccer team representative on the Spartan Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
From the list of 30 candidates, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2009 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award at the end of September. Those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning October 5 and concluding November 13. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award. The winner will be announced during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's College Cup in Cary, N.C., scheduled for December 11-13.
This marks the third year for the men's and women's soccer division of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. More than 175 student-athletes were nominated this year, including San Jose State senior forward Emmy Belding on the women's side, who narrowly missed the cut. Wake Forest University midfielder Sam Cronin received the men's award in 2008, while United States Naval Academy goalkeeper Evan Barnes earned the top honor for 2007.
The Senior CLASS Award can be followed at seniorclassaward.com, as well as on Twitter at twitter.com/SnrCLASSAward.
Cukar and his San Jose State teammates take on Cal State Monterey Bay in an exhibition match inside Spartan Stadium on Friday, August 28, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The women's team then faces San Diego State at approximately 7:30 p.m. to close out the doubleheader. The Spartan men host UC Davis in their 2009 season opener Tuesday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m.