March 26th, 2021
When the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) released its annual list of women’s and men’s basketball All-Americans March 25, it included a pair of Threshers.
Abby Schmidt, senior from Newton, earned a place as 3rd Team All-American after her final year with the program.
Jaylon Scott, junior from Allen, Texas, capped off one of the best seasons individually, as well as for the team, with a 1st Team All-American nod.
Schmidt becomes an overall three-time All-American with the March 25 announcement. She gained Honorable Mention All-American status in the 2019-20 season from both the NAIA and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
This season’s 3rd Team All-American award is her career high. She becomes the first Bethel women’s basketball player to earn a spot on one of the three teams since April Harpe did so in 2014-15 (also 3rd Team).
Schmidt finished her senior season with the second-most rebounds in the NAIA (355) and fourth-most blocks (82), and was 11th in field-goal percentage (56.7%).
The 6'3" center helped lead the Threshers to a 16-10 record and a second-place finish in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The team earned a bid to the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championships, the first national tournament appearance in program history.
Becoming a 3rd Team All-American is icing on the cake of Schmidt’s stellar career. She is a three-time defending KCAC Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-KCAC 1st Team selection, and last season became the first CoSIDA Academic All-American in the history of not only the women’s basketball program but all of Thresher women’s athletics.
Schmidt closed her career with the second-most total points all-time in program history at 1,716. She also broke and established career records in free-throws made (496), total rebounds (1,399), total blocks (306), total double-doubles (65) and highest field-goal percentage (56.5%, 610/1,079).
Her career rebound and block marks are also the top among all players in the history of current KCAC member institutions.
Scott’s 1st-Team All-American honor represents only the second in program history, the first being Mark Ediger in 1998-99.
Scott led the Threshers in points, rebounds and assists the entire season as the team made its way down a path to being one the best Bethel teams ever.
Scott finished the year as the NAIA leader in defensive rebounds/game (9.876). He was second in total rebounds (337), 10th in steals (57) and 14th in assists (131).
Bethel was ranked among the NAIA Top 25 the entire season in the first year for all NAIA schools to be combined into one division. Scott helped the Threshers post an overall record of 21-7, only the fourth time in program history to accomplish a 20-plus-win season (2020-21 also marked the first time Bethel posted more than 20 wins in consecutive seasons).
The Threshers clinched their first KCAC regular-season championship since 2002-03, won their first-ever postseason KCAC Tournament championship, and qualified for the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championships for the second time in program history.
Scott put together outings of 29 and 25 points in Bethel’s NAIA National Championship opening round victories over Voorhees College (Denmark, S.C.) and Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa), helping pave the way not only to Bethel’s first national tournament victories but also its first-ever appearance in the Round of 16.
This 1st Team All-American award highlights a year in which Scott was named KCAC Player of the Year, KCAC Defensive Player of the Year, and a unanimous All-KCAC 1st Team selection.
Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by lendEDU.com as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by lendEDU.com for 2020-21. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu
In sports, Bethel competes in the 13-member KCAC and the NAIA. Josh Booth