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Bethel celebrates student-athlete accomplishments

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has celebrated the accomplishments of a number of student-athletes in the last several weeks.

Paige McKinney, sophomore from Newton, was designated the International Tennis Association (ITA) Player to Watch for 2008-09. This award is given to only one player nationally each year. In addition, McKinney was named to the NAIA All-American 2nd Team for women’s tennis.

McKinney played #1 singles and doubles for the Threshers this past season. She went undefeated in singles play with a 23-0 record and was 16-6 in doubles this spring. She dropped only one set during the spring season and finished the year ranked 15th nationally, the highest ranked Bethel College player ever. She was a unanimous 1st Team KCAC selection and was named KCAC Newcomer of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

At the annual spring Athletic Awards Banquet held on campus May 8, two seniors were named George Rogers Co-Male Athletes of the Year: Jeff Buller in football and track and Brandon Kaufman, Moundridge, in football and basketball. Kristen Schrag, junior from Moundridge, is the George Rogers Female Athlete of the Year in volleyball and track. The award honors former Bethel coach, athletic director and administrator George Rogers of Newton.

Kaufman was the KCAC Defensive Specialist of the Year and Player of the Year and was also named to the NAIA AFCA All-America 1st Team. Schrag was the KCAC Libero/Defensive Specialist of the Year.

The Douglas A. Penner Scholarship winners were Schrag along with freshman Rachel Gaeddert, Larned (cross country), sophomore Maya Kehr, Goshen, Ind. (women’s soccer), and junior Greg Shelly, Lenexa (men’s soccer). The award is named for former Bethel president Doug Penner. Bradley Baker, senior from Wetmore and a member of the track team, received the Sieber Service Award, named in honor of retired soccer coach and current cross country coach Gerry Sieber.

For the 2007-08 year, 64 student-athletes received All-KCAC honors with 13 earning “Player of the Week” status. Receiving Player of the Year honors, in addition to Kaufman, McKinney and Schrag, was Amanda Hiebert, freshman from North Newton, who was named Freshman of the Year in women’s basketball. Also, men’s tennis player Drew Pippin, junior from Sand Springs, Okla., received the KCAC Sportsmanship Award.

Eight students earned NAIA Region IV honors: in women’s volleyball, Schrag, Heather Palmateer Kindall, senior from Topeka, and Sarah Thompson, senior from Newton, were named to the 2nd Team and Robyn Larson was named to the Honorable Mention team. Schrag was also NAIA Region IV Libero of the Year. In men’s soccer, Emmanuel Batu, junior from Porto Alegre, Brazil, was named to the first team, Craig Bonnyman, freshman from Glasgow, Scotland, and Gareth Hamer, freshman from Ludlow, England, to the 2nd Team and Brady Coffman, freshman from Newton, to the Honorable Mention Team.

Forty-eight student-athletes earned Academic All-KCAC honors. To do so, a student must be at least a sophomore, maintain a GPA of 3.333 and have lettered in one or more varsity sport.

In addition, 18 student-athletes earned NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athlete designation, including the following, not previously announced:

In golf, Nathan Schmidt, junior from Tribune. A biology major, he was an Academic All-Conference selection. The golf team finished fifth in the KCAC this season. The coach is Gregg Dick.

In men’s tennis, Tyler Doerksen, senior from Prescott Valley, Ariz. He will graduate from Bethel May 25 with a degree in biology. He was an Academic All-Conference selection and played #5 singles. The men’s tennis team finished the regular season in third place in the KCAC and the conference tournament, qualifying as an at-large bid for the Region IV tournament.

In women’s tennis, Jana Jensen, senior from Prescott Valley, Ariz., and Katie Robertson, junior from Lawrence. Jensen will graduate from Bethel May 25 with a degree in chemistry. She was a 1st Team All-Conference and an Academic All-Conference selection. She played #3 singles. Robertson, a psychology major, was a 2nd Team All-Conference as well as KCAC Academic All-Conference selection. She played #4 singles.

The women’s tennis team finished the regular season in second place in the KCAC but went on to win the post-season tournament and qualify for the NAIA Region IV tournament. Lonnie Isaac coaches both men’s and women’s tennis at Bethel.

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 has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. In sports, Bethel is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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