KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Evangel sophomore volleyball player Morgan Sidwell and Central Methodist junior golfer Nathaniel Oliver have been selected the winners of the 2012 Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner's Champions of Character Awards.
Each student-athlete was nominated by a member of their institution's administration and will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by the family of HAAC commissioner Larry Lady for representing the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, which are Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership.
"I am very proud to work in a conference that not only talks about Champions of Character, but lives its core values on a daily basis," said Theresa Yetmar, Baker University athletic director and chair of the HAAC Board of Governors. "We have some amazing student-athletes on our respective campuses."
A native of Springfield, Mo., Sidwell is an English Education major at Evangel with a double minor in Biblical Studies and Spanish. She has been active at Evangel in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, acting as the campus FCA President this past school year while also participating as a Break Out Facilitator and Event Speaker as an undergraduate. During the winter of 2010-11, she traveled to Izabel, Guatemala with the Crusaders' volleyball team for a 10-day missions trip, then returned for a 1-month internship at Mision El Faro. She had the opportunity to teach English and physical education while also starting a recycling program and instructing residents on the importance of cleaning up and throwing away trash in the community.
Along with her activities with FCA, Sidwell has been involved in the Relay for Life the past six years, including participating on a team from 2007-10. She has also been a part of the Bee-Payne Stuart Strut for women's athletics, the Convoy of Hope volunteer group, relief efforts following the Joplin tornado as well as a Hope for Haiti coordinator following the devastating earthquake on the island nation. On the volleyball court, she is a two-year letterwinner and was named the team's Most Improved Player in 2010. She has started all 68 matches of her collegiate career and was named to the Dean's List in 2010-11. She is also a club volleyball coach with Club One and holds a 3.65 grade point average.
Oliver, who hails from Republic, Mo., currently serves on the Central Methodist Champions of Character Council and was an English tutor in the Center for Learning and Teaching. Oliver also coordinates and organizes weekly bible study sessions on top of his responsibilities in the tutoring program. As a captain on the men's golf team, Oliver was instrumental in helping the young program host several tournaments this season and was directly involved in the planning of those events while displaying excellent sportsmanship on the course. He also volunteered at a golf tournament benefit for Endless Options, a local not-for-profit organization that serves the less fortunate in Cooper and Howard counties. The event was to support and raise money for rebuilding a warehouse that was destroyed earlier this year.
A communications major with a minor in English, Oliver helped the Eagles to a 4th-place finish at the 2012 HAAC Men's Golf Championships earlier this month. He was a 2010 all-HAAC selection and has been named to the Dean's List in four semesters. His career-low round is 71, which he recorded in both his freshman and junior campaigns.