Dayton, Tenn. – The Bryan College Lions Men's Soccer team had six individuals named 2016 Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes, announced recently by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In order to be nominated by an institution's head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.
Stephen Ricketts (JR/Dayton, Tennessee), Kevin Roenpage (JR/Bremen, Germany), and Cody Wheeler (SR/Santa Clarita, California) are three members from the varsity team who received the honors of Scholar-Athletes. From the Player Development Team there was Andrew Betts, Hayoung Choi, and Zachary Johnson who earned a spot as a NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Along with chipping in three goals and one assist this season, Ricketts played a primary role on the back line, helping make Bryan the most difficult team to score against this season in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. He was named to the All-AAC Second Team because of his determination on both ends of the field as well as being named to the All-Academic Team. He helped the Lions rank 16th in the NAIA in total shutouts with 10. In addition to being named a Scholar-Athlete, he was also recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as an Academic All-District® First Team member in College Division in District 2, which encompasses the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee. First-team Academic All-District™ honorees advanced to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, and that's where Ricketts continued to be noticed as he was named to the Second Team of the CoSIDA All-America® Men's Soccer College Division Team.
Roenpage earned a spot on the All-AAC First Team after recording a team-high six assists this season, which ties him for 4th in the conference in total assists. He has 22 career assists, and five total goals with one being scored this season against AAC foe Point University (Ga.). His field awareness and ability to strategically manage and create opportunities for other Lions has been a tremendous asset for the top-ranked Bryan team.
Wheeler was named to the All-Academic Team and stood as the Lion's Champions of Character representative this season. To be voted to the AAC Champion's of Character Team, the individual must represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. He took to the pitch a few times this year for Bryan and has helped make a strong team even stronger as the Lions accomplished one of their most successful seasons in program history. The Lions had a remarkable 16-3-3 overall record, while piecing together a 3-2-2 record versus top-25 opponents and topping three schools that were receiving votes. Bryan was the No. 10 seed in the National Tournament and hosted Spring Arbor University (Mich.) in the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Opening Round but fell 3-2. It was only the fourth time the Lions have made an appearance in the National Tournament.
Choi is new to the list as Betts and Johnson are back-to-back Scholar-Athletes. These three led the PDT to a 2-5 record this season, including a 4-1 blasting of Martin Methodist (Tenn.) and 6-2 victory over the Wildcats of Bethel University (Tenn.).
For the full list of 2016 Daktronics-NAIA Men's Soccer Scholar-Athletes, click here.
For more info about the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete Award, click here.
Follow the Bryan Lions Men's Soccer team on Twitter @BCLionsMSoc