Milligan College senior Michaela Matheson and sophomore Bo Pless are the 2017-18 Appalachian Athletic Conference individual champions of character, announced the AAC office Monday at the annual CAA/FAR spring meeting.

Matheson is a Hampton graduate, while Pless is an Elizabethton graduate.


The award is given to one female and one male AAC student-athlete each year based on their character and service toward their team, institution, conference and community.

This marks the third time Milligan won the individual female AAC champion of character award and first time Milligan won the individual male award. Milligan, an NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Gold Award winner in 2016-17, has won the AAC institutional award three times (2006, 2010, 2017).

Matheson, a four-year member of the women’s golf team, is a true team player on her team and in the community. Along with helping Milligan reach its fourth straight NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship, Matheson is active in the community and has worked with the local First Tee Program and Meals for Haiti. She also served as a day camp counselor at Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church in her hometown of Elizabethton.

“Michaela is highly respected by her teammates for her character and leadership,” head golf coach Tony Wallingford said. “She goes out of her way to be friendly to her fellow competitors and always helps them look for lost balls or information about the rules. She is always on time and checks on her teammates when we have early morning workouts. She doesn’t wait for the ‘freshmen’ to take on the daily team tasks at practice, like unloading equipment; she is the first to help.”

Matheson follows swimmer Rachel Landry (2011) and basketball team member Leah Anderson (2009) as the previous AAC individual champion of character female award winners from Milligan.

Pless, a Niswonger Scholar and Jeanes Honors scholarship recipient, is an engineering major and member of the men’s basketball team. Like Matheson, Pless has been involved in numerous volunteer experiences and has logged hundreds of hours serving the community, including volunteering at Calvary Baptist Church in Elizabethton.

“What an awesome accomplishment for an awesome young man,” head men’s basketball coach Bill Robinson said. “Bo is exactly the type of student-athlete that we are looking for at Milligan College. He is an excellent basketball player but even a better student. It has been amazing to see him balance his engineering classwork with the demands of college basketball. I also have the privilege of attending church with him and his family and get to see firsthand the responsibilities he completes on a weekly basis. His maturity and servant attitude is evidently daily. I could not be happier for him winning this award. It is well deserved.”