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Eleven athletes receive Academic All-America honors

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has named 11 Bethel College students as Daktronics All-America Scholar-Athletes for 2007-08, representing football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.

“We have never before had this many student-athletes receive this award for just the fall sports,” said Chad Schilling, Bethel College sports information director. “And this is the most ever for volleyball and football.” Five volleyball players and four football players were named Scholar-Athletes.

Volleyball Scholar-Athletes are juniors Kristen Schrag and Kari Thimm and seniors Robyn Larson, Heather Palmateer and Dana Rathbun.

Schrag, Moundridge, was named Libero/Defensive Specialist of the Year for 2007 for both the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) and NAIA Region IV. She is also a member of the Bethel College track team. She is a graduate of Moundridge High School and is majoring in elementary education at Bethel. Her parents are Laurie and Wayne Schrag.

Thimm is from Beatrice, Neb., and is a graduate of Tri-County High School. She is majoring in athletic training. Her parents are Lori and John Thimm.

Larson, Wichita, was selected to the 2007 All-KCAC 2nd Team and was an Honorable Mention to the 2007 All-Region Team. She is a graduate of Maize High School and is majoring in English and secondary education. Her parents are Gregg and Teri Larson.

Palmateer, from Topeka, is a repeat selection as a Scholar-Athlete. She was a unanimous choice for the 2007 All-KCAC 1st Team and was also named to the 2007 NAIA Region IV 2nd Team. A business major, she is a graduate of Jefferson West High School and is the daughter of Joyce and Rick Palmateer.

Rathbun, Bennington, is also a repeat selection as a Scholar-Athlete, although last year’s honor was for basketball. She is a graduate of Bennington High School and is majoring in art. Her parents are Dalen and Trudi Rathbun.

The Thresher volleyball team finished the 2007 season in third place in the KCAC with a 14-4 conference record, 21-12 overall. They received an at-large bid to the NAIA Region IV Tournament, the sixth straight year the team has qualified for this tournament.

Football Scholar-Athletes are juniors Beau Cox and Omar Hasan and seniors Jeff Buller and Michael Unruh.

Cox, Weskan, is a graduate of Weskan High School. He is majoring in business. His parents are Shelly and Tracy Cox.

Hasan is from Halstead and is a graduate of Halstead High School. He is a pre-med major at Bethel. He is the son of Christine Hasan.

Buller, Inman, is also a member of the Bethel College track team. Last May, he finished first in javelin at the NAIA National Championships. He is a graduate of Inman High School and is majoring in physics at Bethel. His parents are Anita and Neal Buller.

Unruh, from Peabody, is a biology major at Bethel. He is a graduate of Peabody-Burns High School and is the son of Carrie and Lewis Unruh.

In football, the Threshers finished the 2007 season with a record of 8-1 and were KCAC co-champions for the second straight year.

Two soccer players were also named Scholar-Athletes, one each from the men’s and women’s teams.

Jordan Penner, Reedley, Calif., is a senior majoring in history and Spanish. He is a graduate of Reedley High School and is the son of Glena and Steve Penner.

Kacy Canady, El Dorado, is a senior majoring in psychology. She was a transfer in 2006 from Allen County Community College. Her parents are Gloria and Jeff Canady.

The men’s soccer team had their best season in the last number of years, finishing 14-5-2 overall with a 7-1-1 KCAC record and qualifying for the NAIA Region IV Tournament for the first time since 1998. The women’s team also showed considerable improvement over the last several years, finishing 6-9-2 overall.

To be considered for NAIA Daktronics All-America Scholar-Athlete honors, a student must be at least a junior, must have attended the institution a minimum of one full term, must have a minimum GPA of 3.50 and must be a member of his/her respective varsity program.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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