BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Because of his success on and off the field, Lehigh men's soccer senior Mark Forrest has been named one of just 30 candidates in the nation for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, as announced on Wednesday. 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.
Forrest is one of just three candidates from the Patriot League and Lehigh men's soccer's first since Justin Worley in 2016.
In the classroom, Forrest has enjoyed success at a prestigious institution in Lehigh's College of Business and Economics. Lehigh is currently tied for 53rd nationally in the U.S. News and World Report top national universities. Forrest has experience within his area of interest, interning at EnerSys in Reading, Pa. in the human resources department. He assisted with recruiting and aided with writing and reviewing company policy. EnerSys is the global leader in batteries, chargers and accessories for motive, reserve, aerospace and defense applications. Previously, Forrest also took part in a one-day shadowing experience with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Lasting Image and EnerSys.
Forrest has exemplified himself as someone who possesses an immense amount of character, both on and off the field. Forrest is a captain on the 2018 Mountain Hawks and is looked up to, not only due to his on-field play, but also the way he carries himself. He's been heavily involved in the Lehigh Athletics Leadership Academy as well. The academy itself features several programs, including P.R.I.D.E., which stands for Personal Responsibility in Determining Excellence. Students attend weekly workshops, learning how to consistently navigate college athletically, academically and socially. In Emerging Leaders, students are trained to lead by example, develop relationships with teammates and gain the credibility to lead vocally in order to maximize individual and team performance. Leadership Legacies is an extended program in the application of emotionally intelligent leadership and the navigation of team leadership challenges in partnership with their coaches.
Prior to Lehigh, Forrest was varsity soccer captain at The Hill School in 2014, elected by his peers to lead his team to back-to-back PA State Championships. He was a Residence Hall Prefect that year as well, responsible for 20 senior and underclass students living in the hall.
Forrest has played a key role in multiple Lehigh Athletics community programs during his time. In the past, Forrest and the Mountain Hawks traveled to local Donegan Elementary School for the Reading Rocks program. A different Lehigh Athletics team each week spent approximately one hour with the students, helping them read before playing games and other activities with the youngsters. In addition, Lehigh men's soccer, along with every Lehigh Athletics team, also take part in Adopt-A-Family where the Mountain Hawks provide a holiday for a local underprivileged family. The process included shopping for gifts, wrapping and delivering them to the families in early December. Including Lehigh fraternities, sororities and other departments, the event itself has raised up to $30,000.
Lastly, Mark Forrest has competed at Lehigh at the highest level, enjoying a historic career with the Mountain Hawks. He began as a freshman by posting 26 points (11 goals, four assists) to earn third team All-Patriot League and All-Region recognition, helping lead Lehigh to the 2015 Patriot League Championship. He won the J. Daniel Nolan Award following the season, presenting to Lehigh Athletics' top first-year male athlete.
Forrest went on to post 18 points (seven goals, four assists) in 2016, leading the league in points per game (1.29).
Forrest's biggest season yet came last year as a junior when he tied for the second most points (38) and third most goals (15) in the country. He was named Patriot League and ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and a third team All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. Forrest was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week three times last year and has already been named Offensive Player of the Week once in 2018.
Named to the watch list for the Hermann Trophy, the nation's most prestigious individual award in college soccer, Forrest tallied a point in each of Lehigh's first three games of 2018, scoring penalty-kick goals at UConn and George Washington while assisting on the Mountain Hawks' goal vs. Drexel. This past summer, Forrest played for Reading United, which is affiliated with the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. He also had workouts the MLS teams in Minnesota and New York as he explores the potential of playing soccer professionally.
The candidate class 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 male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2018 NCAA Men's College Cup ® championship in December.
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