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Lady Flames Track & Field and Cross Country athlete Calli Doan wins 2024 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award

Calli Doan of the Liberty women’s track & field/cross country program has been named the 2024 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award winner.

Doan is the ninth member of the Liberty women’s track & field/cross country program to win the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award but the first since 2013, when 2024 Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Jennifer Klugh was honored.

In 1974, 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 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.

“Calli is a standout athlete who has embodied the mission and vision of Liberty University to be a Champion for Christ,” said track & field/cross country assistant coach Heather Zealand, who won the 2002 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award). “She has been devout in her athletic pursuits as well as her academics, and her abundance of awards and accolades speaks to her commitment to excellence.”

“Calli has served and led faithfully as captain, Bible study leader, mentor and example on the track and cross country team. Her intentionality to invest in her teammates as well as in her church youth group shows her devotion to the people God places in her life. Calli is a model student who has raised the standard in all aspects for our team.”

A week ago, Doan closed out a stellar six years as part of the women’s track & field/cross country program by competing in the steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field.

She finished as a three-time All-American, matching the most All-America honors a Liberty women’s track & field/cross country athlete has earned at the NCAA Division I level. Doan earned her first All-America recognition with a 28th-place finish at the 2021 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. She then collected back-to-back second team All-America honors in the women’s steeplechase in 2023 (11th place) and 2024 (10th place).

An 11-time individual conference champion and a 20-time all-conference performer, Doan was part of nine Liberty teams which captured conference titles. She also helped the Liberty women’s cross country squad qualify to the NCAA Division I Championships for the first time in the spring of 2021.

Doan owns five program records, including the cross country 5K (16:15.1), cross country 6K (19:50.6), indoor mile (4:36.52), indoor 3K (9:24.67) and outdoor steeplechase (9:49.54). She recorded the 13 fastest steeplechase times in program history.

A native of Apex, N.C., Doan was named the 2023 ASUN Conference Student-Athlete of the Year, spanning all sports. She also took home both the Most Valuable Female Performer and Women’s Most Outstanding Track Performer honors at the 2023 ASUN Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Doan is a two-time CSC Academic All-America® honoree, making the second team in both 2022 and 2023. She will have a chance to make it three next month following her unprecedented fifth appearance on the CSC Academic All-District® squad.

Doan’s other academic accolades include six USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors, four ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, eight conference All-Academic Team appearances and a trio of VaSID Academic All-State showings.

In the community, Doan has been active as a youth group leader and greeter at Living Word Church. She has also volunteered at the Virginia 10-Miler and with the Trick or Treat so Others Can Eat canned food drive.

Doan graduated in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, maintaining a 3.99 GPA. She owns a 4.0 graduate GPA, including a master’s degree in human performance (completed in May 2023) and an ongoing pursuit of a Ph.D. in health sciences.

Doan plans to remain at Liberty in 2024-25 to continue working toward her Ph.D. She will also serve as an assistant for the track & field/cross country program as she continues training as a distance runner.

“Competing for Liberty University’s track & field team has taught me what it truly means to ‘do everything for the glory of God,’” Doan said. “Through weekly team chapel services and the intentional mentorship from the entire coaching staff, I have become better equipped to run in a way that magnifies the name of the Lord. Rather than viewing my faith as a catalyst for my running, I view running as a catalyst for my faith.”

“In addition to growing my reliance on the Lord, this sport is a means of multiplying the talents and the environment God has blessed me with. Through my dedication in training and my dependency on God in the midst of a race, I get to cultivate the gifts I have been given as an act of worship.”

“Lastly, track provides an opportunity to interact with people all over the country and share the light of Jesus, whether that is through my attitude or my conversations with others I join for a cooldown. True faithfulness to God rests in using any level of platform we are provided with to share the love of Jesus Christ. These lessons I have learned from my time at Liberty I will take with me as I strive to be a champion for Christ wherever God leads me.”

Doan is the 57th overall recipient of this distinguished award, and this is the 51st year Liberty Athletics has presented its top athletics honor to a well-deserving senior student-athlete.

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