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Freshman tops string of broken records for indoor track and field

February 25th, 2021

Isaiah Bartel wins the 2021 KCAC men's 1,000-meter championship race.

Bethel runner Isaiah Bartel was hoping for a good race – instead, he got a great one.

Bartel, a freshman from Wichita, went into his first-ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) indoor track championship race Feb. 19 as a #9 seed.

In the biggest upset of this year’s meet, he finished first in the men’s 1,000-meter finals, a fingernail ahead of a University of St. Mary’s Eric Vasquez.

His time was 2:29.73, a KCAC record that placed him at #8 in the NAIA at the time.

“His finish was amazing,” said Bethel head track and field coach Kelly Parsley. “He went in expecting to finish 9tht – not only did he win, he set the meet record, and ranked 8th in the nation.”

The entire Thresher track and field program came home from this year’s KCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships, held on the campus of Wichita State University Feb. 18-20, in good shape.

The 2021 competitors set five school indoor records and four individual conference indoor records, with the men’s team finishing 3rd overall and the women’s team 9th.

Senior Kemroy Cupid, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, won both the men’s 60- and 200-meter dashes.

His times of 6.73 and 21.42, respectively, set Bethel and KCAC records and placed him at #1 in the nation at the time.

Austin Cheatham, senior from Newton, was conference champion in shotput.

His 17.43-meter throw set a new KCAC record and was second in the nation at the time.

The women’s 4x800 team of Natalie Graber, senior from Divide, Colo., Aubry Grame, sophomore from Kalispell, Mont., Shantierra Jackson, sophomore from Lancaster, Texas, and Haley Robinette, senior from South Bloomfield, Ohio – set a new school record and finished 3rd at 10:21.10.

Grame turned in another Bethel record-breaking performance in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 10.26 in the prelims.

Qualifiers will compete at the National Indoor Track & Field Championships in Yankton, S.D., March 3-6.

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.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.