Jordan Piche’ (Kansas), Ross Kivett (K-State) and Mark Payton (Texas) are among 30 NCAA baseball student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate baseball.
A liberal arts and sciences major, Piche’ aspires to continue the baseball path and eventually mentor today’s youth in the game once his playing career comes to an end. With the rigors of balancing a full-time academic schedule, travel and baseball, Piche’ maintains a 2.80 GPA. The senior came to Kansas as a non-scholarship student-athlete after a two-year stint at Indian Hills Community College. His drive and work ethic not only allowed him to excel at baseball, but to land a roster spot at a Division I school.
He was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2013 after posting a 1.68 ERA in 64.1 innings with 12 saves. In 2012, Piche’ and the rest of the Kansas baseball team traveled to the Dominican Republic, where he and his teammates delivered over 1,000 health kits to impoverished villages, as well as held free baseball clinics and provided uniforms and equipment for local youth teams. He has also found time to volunteer with the United Way, where he and the rest of the team helped pack 40,000 meals to give to those in need.
Kivett has a cumulative 3.34 GPA in his college career, and in the 2013 fall semester, he had a 4.0 GPA. His major is Communication Studies, with an anticipated graduation date of December 2014. After being drafted by his hometown team, the Cleveland Indians, in the 10th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft and being named the Big 12 Player of the Year, Kivett elected to return for his senior season in 2014. He has worked with several K-State student-athlete initiatives since his freshman year, including Cats for Cans, Cats in the Classroom, and TipOff for TP.
Payton currently holds a 2.93 GPA and was on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll from 2010-2012. A 2012 Academic All-Big 12 second team selection, he is majoring in Applied Learning & Development: Youth & Community Studies, and hopes to use his education to go into coaching following his baseball career. As active as Payton has been on the field in his Texas career - starting 180 games so far - he has been almost equally as busy in the community. Payton has been especially active with youth, volunteering regularly at Austin area elementary schools where he has helped children with their homework and assisted with school carnival fundraisers. He has also volunteered with Marathon Kids, helping children develop a love and habit for fitness; at the Peace Festival, speaking to students about the negative impacts of bullying; at Longhorn Halloween, participating in booth activities and signing autographs for attendees; and at the Neighborhood Longhorns Banquet, a scholarship banquet recognizing local children for academic achievements.
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.
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 30 candidates 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 candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 College World Series® in June.