13 Athletes Receive NCCAA Awards: Scholar-Athlete and Second Team Nominations

Regent University is proud to announce that several members of the men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams are recipients of NCCAA Division One awards in recognition of their athletic and academic excellence.

NCCAA Scholar-Athlete
To earn the title of an NCCAA Scholar-Athlete, students must maintain a 3.4 cumulative GPA or higher while being part of an intercollegiate sport. Seven Regent royals received this honor for their stellar academic records. Men’s soccer players Noah Eckard (‘23), Alex McCullum (‘23), Joshua Moore (‘25) and Dylan Pond (‘23) and women’s soccer players Morgan Mannix (‘24) and graduate student Kelsey Goodson were recognized. Indoor track and field athlete Caitlyn Chesson (‘23) was also acknowledged for her high academic standing. 

These athletes exemplify the Regent Royals’ mission to “develop Christian student-athletes that influence the intercollegiate athletic culture and ultimately become Christian leaders to change the world for Jesus Christ.” They demonstrate how to win with character and serve with humility through their discipline and integrity both on the field and in the classroom. 

Chesson noted that “receiving recognition for achieving a scholar-athlete award tells me that Regent’s Athletic Department values not just athletic performance, but academic excellence. They emphasize the importance of being a student first as a ‘student-athlete,’ and it brings me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I’ve achieved the balance of prioritizing academics with athletics.”

NCCAA South All-Region Second Team
The NCCAA South All-Region Second Team is bestowed on athletes who provide strong leadership and use their athletic skills to help their teams succeed. This honor shows they are valuable to their team, and coaches from opposing teams recommend players to be nominated for this award. 

The women’s soccer team had five student-athletes named to the South All-Region Second Team. The awardees included graduate student Kelsey Goodson and undergraduate students Jocelynne Lake (‘24), Audrey Martiny (‘25), Diana Ramos (‘26) and Sophia McMullen (‘26).

When asked about her experience playing soccer while maintaining her course load, junior Jocelynne Lake said, “I wasn’t sure if I could juggle a full course load, three clubs and soccer, but with the help of God and my wonderful family, I made it through. Don’t be discouraged by the myriad of obstacles in our way, but instead see them as challenges to be overcome through the grace of God and the team He has surrounded you with!”

The women’s volleyball team had two student-athletes nominated: Nicole Walston (‘26) and Jordan Banister (‘25), who helped their team achieve one of the best records during the 2022 season in Royals volleyball history. 

“To me, the experience of competing at the collegiate level represents bearing the fruit of consistency and hard work,” Nicole Walston shared. “I can honestly say that I put my heart into this sport and team, and I will continue to do so as long as I am here. Regent athletes, I encourage you never to be complacent with your current skills but rather always work to better yourselves.”

Interview with Kelsey Goodson
Kelsey Goodson, a graduate student and connect group leader, is captain of the women’s soccer team and a track and field athlete. She was awarded both the NCCAA Scholar-Athlete award and named part of the NCCAA South All-Region Second Team, highlighting her academic and athletic success. In a recent interview, Kelsey shared about her motivation and how she maintains excellence in her life, despite constant challenges.

When asked about her motto, Goodson believes that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I am not the most talented athlete, but if you feel you have a calling, dedication, and drive, God will provide a way for you.”

Basing her life around this idea of diligence leading to meaningful results, she reflected on all the long years she spent training outside of practice. She encourages athletes to put in the work now: “The work you put in the off-season, whether going to the gym or getting your ball work in, will pay off. A lot of work goes in behind the scenes to produce results. I always say I hate running, but I love having run. Athletics is challenging but also one of the most rewarding experiences.” 

Her time management advice is to set your priorities, and then be willing to make sacrifices to maintain your focus. Goodson noted that it’s not always easy putting in the work and that there are so many times when “you are excited to nap, but you have to be excited to write a paper instead.”

When asked about her time as a Royal, Goodson remarked that playing at Regent has challenged her physically, mentally and emotionally. However, she has loved growing over the years and has learned so much about herself and what it means to be a Christian athlete. She says that every day her goal is always to “portray Christ’s character in the field as best as I can as a flawed human.”

We are so proud of all our student-athletes have accomplished and look forward to seeing what they achieve in the future!