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Rodriguez and Thompson Named 2006 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award Winner
Women's soccer player Sonia Rodriguez (Sr., GK, Fairfax, Va.) and baseball player Phillip Thompson (Sr., RHP, Ringgold, Va.) were honored today at Liberty University's Convocation Service as they were named the 2006 Rock Royer/Mack Rivera Award winners, the University's highest athletics honor.
In 1975, the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men. Rock Royer became Liberty's first football coach in 1973. Mac Rivera was a member of Liberty's basketball team from 1972 until 1975. Both Rock Royer and Mac Rivera tragically died at a young age.
This award encompasses more than just athletic ability. It is based on an individual's testimony as well as their academic performance as it recognizes the Liberty University senior student-athlete who maintains an exemplary testimony on the playing field, in the classroom and among the student body and the community. For just the third time in the award's history, the Athletics Department honored two student-athletes today as both have excelled in the classroom, the community and on the field of athletic competition.
Rodriguez will graduate in May with a 3.48 GPA in biology. Off the field of competition, she has been named to the Big South Presidential Honor Roll, the 2005 Big South Women's Soccer All-Academic team and to Liberty University's Dean List. She has also been heavily involved in the Athletes In Action program and has taken several missions trips for the ministry team.
On the athletic field, the senior posted a banner season in the fall as she led the women's soccer program to their third Big South Championship. The team captain and winner of this year's Women's Soccer Players Player finished her career with a 1.64 goals against average to set a new school record.
Thompson will be graduating in May as well with a 3.55 GPA in mathematics. He has served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and represented the group at the Big South Conference level. The honors student is a two-time Big South Presidential Honor Roll student and has been named to the University's Dean List four times.
On the baseball diamond, he has been a three-year letterwinner on the baseball team, leading the team in saves the past two seasons. Currently a starter on this year's squad, he ranks third on the team in wins. Thompson has helped the baseball program to one of the most successful seasons in recent history. The team ranks second in the latest Big South standings and is on the verge of breaking the school record for wins in a season.