Crist Wins 2018 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award
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