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Tennis player ranked in NAIA Top 20

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College women’s tennis team brought home the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) post-season tournament title with a 5-3 win over Bethany College April 25 in Hesston. Sophomore Paige McKinney, Newton, remains undefeated in singles play and holds what is likely the highest national ranking ever by a Bethel tennis player.

The most recent National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll puts McKinney at #15. She is 21-0 for the season.

“After visiting with several coaches and players who have been involved with Bethel tennis in the past, and having checked past results and tennis history books, it seems clear that Paige is the highest ranked player [nationally] who has ever played at Bethel College, and probably in the KCAC as well,” said tennis coach Lonnie Isaac. “Bethel has had many great players in its history and Paige is most certainly near or at the top of this list.”

McKinney is a 2006 graduate of Newton High School and is the daughter of Chrystal and Rick McKinney of Newton. She transferred to Bethel this year after playing one season at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.

The Bethel women’s team finished one win short of the KCAC regular-season title on Saturday, April 19, when, in a busy day of play, the Threshers beat Southwestern College and McPherson College but lost to Bethany.

The women opened post-season play Tuesday, April 22, with a 6-0 semifinal win over McPherson. On April 25, the Threshers defeated Southwestern 5-2 before taking the championship.

In tournament play, Maya Kehr, sophomore from Goshen, Ind., was 3-0 in singles and McKinney was 2-0. McKinney and Rachael Bachman, freshman from Emporia, finished 3-0 in doubles play.

The Threshers advance as the #1 seed to the NAIA Region IV Championships, beginning May 2 in Wichita. The winner will go to nationals May 12-18 in Mobile, Ala.

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 www.bethelks.edu.

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