Alexandra Elston and Kristi Andreassen left Valley high schools in 2007 to pursue a college soccer career, each heading to a different Arizona university.
Now the two find themselves competing in their senior year for a prestigious national honor that goes beyond their accomplishments on the field.
Elston is playing for Arizona State following a standout high school career at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. Andreassen is closing out her last season at Northern Arizona following four years at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, where she earned a carload of athletic and academic honors.
Both have been named candidates for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the student for both athletic and academic success. They are competing against athletes from universities across the country who have made notable achievements in four areas: community, classroom, character, and competition.
The list of 30 will be pared to 10 midway through the season, and then a winner will be selected by a nationwide voting system and announced during the 2010 NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup championships in early December.
Elston, a midfielder for ASU, started all 60 games for the Sun Devils over the past three years and entered this season tied for sixth on the school’s all-time list for career game-winning goals. Last season, she lead the team in points (20) and goals (7) and tied for the team-high assist mark with six.
At Mountain Pointe she was a four-year starter and was named the Arizona Republic Player of the Year in 2005 and the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year during the 2005/06 school year.
Andreassen entered this season ranked sixth in NAU history with 100 shots, tied for ninth in goals, and tenth in points. She is one of only eight players in program history to be named All-Big Sky first team twice and she also became the first All-American in the program’s history.
At Marcos de Niza, she lettered all four years and was a team captain three of those years. She was a first team All-State selection twice and inducted into the Marcos de Niza Hall of Fame. She played in 70 games while at Marcos, compiling 28 goals and 17 assists.
They also began their road to academic excellence during high school, with Elston maintaining a 3.93 GPA at Mountain Pointe, and Andreassen hitting a perfect 4.0 GPA. Elston was the 2007 AIA Scholar Athlete of the Year her senior year, while Andreassen finished No. 2 in her class and was the school Salutatorian at graduation.
That focus on academics didn’t change in college. Elston has a 3.89 GPA as a speech and hearing major, and Andreassen is majoring in exercise science and maintaining a 4.0o GPA.
Both had great starts to their college soccer careers, with Elston being named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Andreassen playing her way to an All-Big Sky honorable mention.
Now, in their senior year, both will have an opportunity for recognition on the national stage. And it will be for more than just athletic achievement.