Evangeline Crist, a senior on the Liberty women's tennis team, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award. The award was announced as part of the FLAMESPY Award show on Monday evening.
In 1974, the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men.
Rock Royer was Liberty's first football coach in 1973. Mac Rivera was a member of Liberty's men's basketball team from 1972 until 1975. Both Rock Royer and Mac Rivera tragically died at a young age, with Royer dying in a plane crash and Rivera passing away after a fall.
This award encompasses more than just athletic ability. It recognizes the Liberty University graduating senior student-athlete who has maintained an exemplary testimony on the playing field, in the classroom and among the student body.
"I believe that she completely exemplifies what this award stands for. She is our captain and leader, one of the most accomplished players in program history, an outstanding student, a giver of time to our university and community and, most importantly, a dedicated Christian who strives to live her life the way Christ wants us to live it," stated Liberty Women's Tennis Head Coach Jeff Maren.
During her senior year, Crist became the program's all-time leader in both doubles (94) and singles (92) wins. She set the doubles record with her 91st win on April 3 at Longwood with her partner, Anna Dollar. Five days later, she recorded her recording-breaking 88th singles win in a home match against Hampton.
Crist posted a 25-8 mark in singles as a senior, winning her last 15 singles bouts to close out her career. She went 20-8 in doubles matches during her final season at Liberty. She was a Big South Second Team All-Conference Singles selection and Big South All-Academic team honoree, this season.
Crist was a four-time (three-time singles, doubles once) Big South All-Conference selection and two-time VaSID All-State honoree (both in doubles) in her time with the Lady Flames.
Crist, who holds a 3.83 GPA, will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in business administration marketing and advertisement and a minor in graphic design. The native of Lilburn, Ga., is a two-time Big South All-Academic team honoree and ITA Scholar-Athlete (2017) selection. She will be pursuing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree starting in the summer.
Off the tennis court, Crist spent countless hours serving in the community and around campus, working with the following programs: Dollar Makes a Difference, Lynchburg Daily Bread, Spooktacular, Reading Buddies, Easter Baskets for the Elderly, Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat, Thank-A-Thon, Hop on Pop Reading Day, Career Day, Dr. Seuss Read Across America, #FlamesREAD Program, Chocolate Bingo at Runk and Pratt, Volleyball-A-Thon and Community Clean-Up.
"The time spent at Liberty has flown by and been nothing short of the biggest blessing that I have ever experienced. From the moment I started looking at Liberty, I immediately fell in love with not only the school, but more than anything with the way people cared for and supported one another. I never felt like I was just another girl on the team useful to help win matches and set records, but I felt supported as an individual no matter the number by my name or the results I showed," Crist said.
"Being a part of a team has enabled me to grow in so many ways not just as a team player, but as an individual as well in standing up for what I believe, being a listening ear for a teammate who is struggling, encouraging those around me and ultimately pointing others toward Jesus in everything I do," Crist continued. "For me, tennis has never been about winning and losing and bringing home trophies at the end of the year, but about using the sport that I absolutely love to have an even greater platform to represent Jesus. I love the opportunity that Liberty encourages us to live a life that honors Jesus in all we do and surrounds us with people on every level that challenge us to grow as individuals."
"I cannot believe that I am graduating and starting a new chapter after the shortest four years of my life, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity Liberty has given me to grow in so many areas other than just sports and has prepared me more than I could have eve hoped for in this next new season of life," Crist concluded. "I am fortunate to be a part of a school where I cry when I leave to go home because of the community and family that I have found here at Liberty."
Crist is the first-ever Liberty women's tennis player to win the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award.
Crist is the 51st overall recipient of this distinguished award, and this is the 45th year Liberty Athletics has presented its top athletics honor to a well-deserving graduating senior student-athlete.
Rock Royer Award 1974 – Rick Herceg – Football 1975 - Sling Patterson – Football 1976 - David Neff – Football 1977 - Scott Goetz – Football
Mac Rivera Award 1977 - Paul Dalton - Men's Basketball
Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award 1978 - Gary Avila – Wrestling 1979 - Dave Anderson – Football 1980 - Karl Hess - Men's Basketball 1981 - David "D.J." Hertzler – Football 1982 - Sharon Snodgrass - Women's Basketball 1983 - Bill Gillespie - Football/Men's Track & Field 1984 - Rick Seilhamer - Wrestling 1985 - Sue Andrew - Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 1985 - Dave Bream - Baseball 1986 - Ron Stamer - Men's Soccer 1987 - Pam Wilder - Women's Basketball 1988 – Annie Hunt Fairchild – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 1988 – Andre Sims – Football 1989 - Kathy Guetterman - Volleyball 1990 - Lynn Attwood – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field/Women's Basketball 1991 - Craig Holiday - Wrestling 1992 - Mike Coleman - Men's Basketball 1993 - Theresa Bream - Volleyball/Women's Basketball 1994 - James Downey - Football 1994 - Matt Hildebrand - Men's Basketball 1995 - Todd Setsma - Men's Golf 1996 - Ryan Werner – Men's Track & Field 1997 - Michael Prettyman – Men's Track & Field 1998 - Ben Anderson - Football 1999 - Jarrod Everson - Football 2000 - Elena Kisseleva - Women's Basketball 2001 - Andrea Wildrick – Women's Track & Field 2001 - Nathan Day - Men's Basketball 2002 - Heather Sagan – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 2003 - Collin Mascagni - Men's Soccer 2004 - Tatiana Tkachuk - Volleyball 2005 - Sam Gado - Football 2006 - Sonia Rodriguez - Women's Soccer 2006 - Phillip Thompson - Baseball 2007 - Arlene Zelinskas – Women's Track & Field 2008 - Allyson Fasnacht - Women's Basketball 2009 - Beth Bennett - Softball 2010 - Chris Rocco - Football 2011 - Zach Duke - Football 2012 - Jesse Sanders - Men's Basketball 2013 - Jennifer Klugh – Women's Cross Country/Track & Field 2014 - Trey Lambert - Baseball 2015 – Alex Close – Baseball 2016 – Ashley Rininger – Women's Basketball 2017 – Holly Van Noord – Women's Soccer 2018 – Evangeline Crist – Women's Tennis
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