Hannah Baker, a senior on the Liberty women’s swimming & diving team, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award.
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.
The award is typically announced at Liberty Athletics’ annual FLAMESPY Award show selection at the end of the spring semester. However, due to the COVID-19 virus and the cancellation of the spring semester, Liberty Athletics was unable to host a physical celebration of the 2019-20 athletic season with its student-athletes this year.
“A near 4.0 student and Nursing major, Hannah excelled in the classroom here at Liberty, maintaining high marks in a demanding program, while also competing and training at an elite level. That said, it is not the academic or athletic prowess that sets Hannah apart, it is how she was able to excel amidst personal challenges that I believe makes her a worthy candidate,” stated Liberty Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach Jake Shellenberger.
Shellenberger added, “Twice during her career here at Liberty, Hannah received news that her mom developed cancer, the second occurrence during a phone call the evening before the start of this year’s conference meet. I cannot imagine the strength it took for Hannah to swim through it all, but swim through it she did, placing 2nd in the 200 free, 3rd in the 50 free, 4th in the 100 free. Also a member of four winning relays, Hannah certainly led us to those back-to-back titles.”
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