Lee, Washington named Senior CLASS Award finalists

November 09, 2017

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.  – The Senior CLASS Award finalists were announced on Thursday afternoon, and seniors Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington were named to the list of ten women’s volleyball student-athletes.

Since the award’s inauguration in 2010, Penn State has only had two finalists up to this point. Ariel Scott won in 2013, and Arielle Wilson was a First Team honoree in 2010.

The Nittany Lions had a program first with Lee and Washington in the final ten.

Washington, a philosophy major, is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, earning second-team honors in 2015, and third-team honors in 2016. As a team captain of the Penn State women’s volleyball program, Washington is a vocal leader as well as a lead-by-example player. She also has taken part in Athletes Take Action Halloween Hall of Fame Walk and has taken time to read to children at the local elementary schools, along with other volunteer opportunities.

On the court, Washington is a two-time first-team AVCA All-American, earning the honors in 2015 and 2016. She also was named a Volleyball Magazine All-American during those seasons. She was a starting middle blocker on the 2014 National Champion team and has helped the team finish in the top 10 in each of her first three years at Penn State. In 2014 she was named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.

Washington has been named to the All-Big Ten team every year, including being a unanimous selection in 2015 and 2016. In 2014 she was named as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. She has earned nine Big Ten Player of the Week honors and was named the Sports Impact/AVCA National Player of the Week. She has earned multiple preseason all-tournament honors throughout her career.

Lee is a broadcast journalism major minoring in African American studies.

“With this major, I, will not only be able to speak to the public about matters in the world, but I will also be able to use my sports background to perhaps even do some sports broadcasting as well.”

Lee, 2017 team captain credits her strength of character to her freshman season. She alluded to the fact it can be tough on people when you don’t play, but she knew she had to be ready at any moment to step in and play. She is a leader by example, working hard every day, and she believes that no one gets an easy pass — that you have to work for everything you get in life.

She also has participated in Penn State’s Panhellenic Dance Marathon for three years, while helping with the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On the court, Lee is a 2016 AVCA First Team All-American, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, earned Big Ten Player of the Week and espnW National Player of the Week following a 30-kill performance in an upset of No. 1 Minnesota. She finished 2016 with 503 kills, the fourth-most during a single season in 25-point rally scoring era. So far in 2017, she has tied her career-high of 30 kills in a five-set battle against Texas A&M and helped the Nittany Lions take down Stanford twice.

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: community, classroom, character, and competition. The complete list of finalists follows this release.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the 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 finalists were chosen by a selection committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through December 4. Fan votes will then be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award recipient will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December.

Last Updated November 10, 2017