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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Alice Lloyd (Ky.) College senior Ryan Morris has been selected as the 2020-21 male recipient of the River States Conference Bill Melton Champion of Character Award. A native of Dryden, Virginia, Morris is a member of the Eagles cross country and track and field teams. 

The RSC Bill Melton Champion of Character Award annually selects one male and one female student-athlete in the conference who is recognized for excellence in academics, athletics and is the embodiment of the NAIA Champions of Character values. 

Morris is an all-conference performer and NAIA National Championship qualifier for the Eagles. This past fall, he placed 10th at the RSC Cross Country Championship to earn one of the six national bids for individuals. Morris is a three-time all-conference honoree, and he is the school record holder in the 5K, 8K, and 10K. 

Morris was commended in his nomination as a competitor who always displayed strong sportsmanship at meets. In addition, Morris is a team leader bringing out the best in his teammates and also competitors at other schools. Overall, it was his top Champions of Character trait.

Morris has been active in service to his community. He has taken the leadership in team community service efforts at church and during the Eagles’ annual Trunk or Treat event on Halloween. Morris is also involved in the Christmas Child charity; he volunteers with local athletic organizations and participates in campus-wide community-service projects. 

The award is modeled after the NAIA’s Dr. Leroy Walker Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the national association. It is named for former RSC (then called KIAC) Commissioner and former ALC employee Bill Melton, and it promotes and recognizes the core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Servant Leadership, and Sportsmanship. 

Nominated by their institution, candidates must be at least a junior with a 3.0+ GPA. Other considerations for the award are campus and community leadership, embracing the five core values, and athletic achievement. The award was established in 2015-16, and the honoree is selected after a vote of the RSC Champions of Character Committee.