Heteniak a Strong Candidate for Classy National Honor
CHICAGO - Becca Heteniak is the kind of exemplary student-athlete and role model that can inspire young people.
She is also one of the best college softball pitchers in the nation.
It's no wonder Heteniak was selected on Wednesday as one of the 30 candidates nationwide for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School).
The DePaul ace was chosen on the basis of her notable achievements in four areas of excellence---classroom, character, community service and competition.
"These young ladies are committed to their studies, and to their teams' success on the diamond," said Lowe's Senior Vice President of Marketing Tom Lamb.
"They also have consistently contributed to important service projects in their communities, making their college experiences that much richer."
Heteniak opens her season on Friday when the No. 21/20 Blue Demons clash with No. 18/13 LSU at the Texas Invitational.
She was a second-team, Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American last season after going 26-9 with a 1.38 earned-run average and 252 strikeouts in 233.2 innings.
The two-time, BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year held opponents to a paltry .164 batting average in 2009. When she came to the plate, Heteniak batted .338 with a team-high 12 home runs while leading the BIG EAST in walks with 40. Her 49 RBI tied for the team lead with Jackie Tarulli-Fisher.
In the classroom, she carries a 3.71 grade-point average, was all-District Academic last season and will be a four-time BIG EAST All-Academic Team selection. Heteniak is also a member of the National Collegiate Scholar Society and the Gold & Key Honor Society.
She has helped raise $7,000 annually in a breast-cancer walk and has made lunches for the homeless. Heteniak volunteered at a Halloween party to raise money for children's AIDS research and has worked on projects with inner-city children from Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul. She is a pen pal for students learning English-as-a-second-language.
"What I really like about DePaul is all the great things we do in the community," Heteniak said. "It's such a neat experience doing stuff with the kids in Chicago and becoming kind of a role model for them.
"This university is so good at turning you into a well-rounded human being and especially with helping those who might not be as fortunate in life as we are."
With such extensive community involvement, this Blue Demon senior probably has a lot of people pulling for her to win the award.
The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season. A nationwide voting system will distribute ballots to media, coaches and fans to make their selection. Last year's winner was Florida pitcher Stacey Nelson, and ex-DePaul All-American Amber Patton was among the 10 finalists.