Wayland Baptist women's senior soccer player Bailey Stengler has been named winner of the Sooner Athletic Conference's Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award, one of the most prestigious awards given to NAIA student-athletes.

Each school in the conference nominates a player for the award, which recognizes the NAIA's five core character values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.

The annual award, for which all NAIA athletes are eligible, was created to honor the late Dr. LeRoy Walker, a former president of the NAIA and president emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The nominee must be at least a junior academically and must be outstanding in athletic and academic achievement (3.0 GPA or higher), campus and community leadership, and embrace the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative.

Wayland women's soccer coach Shiloh Posey said Stengler is very deserving of the honor.

"Receiving this award is a testament to Bailey's hard work in the classroom and on the field," Posey said. "She has been a vital part of our team success in the last three years. In the classroom, her hard work has been evident by an outstanding GPA and recognition by her professors.

"Her desire to succeed will continue to bring about good opportunities for her in the future. She is highly deserving of this award, and I'm pleased that she was chosen to receive it."

Stengler is a senior elementary and special education major from St. Charles, Ill., who appeared in 46 matches at Wayland the past three years after transferring from Northwestern State University. She was named 2015 SAC Goalkeeper of the Year and is a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete.

Stengler now is a candidate for the NAIA's national award, which comes with a cash award to the institution scholarship fund of the recipient's choice.

Wayland has had three national Dr. LeRoy Walker Award winners. Former Flying Queen Becca Whittle was the first-ever recipient of the national honor in 1999. Track and field athlete Jodi Henderson, daughter of current head football coach Butch Henderson, won in 2002, and track and field athlete Caleb McLean won in 2011.

Other conference winners from Wayland include baseball players Calvin Bass in 2012 and Logan Evans in 2014, and Flying Queen Aubrey Pedigo in 2013.