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Bethel team performs well in regional programming contest

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A team of Bethel College students finished first in a programming contest at Emporia State University November 15.

The event was the International Collegiate Programming Contest for the North Central Region, sponsored by the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) and IBM. The contest occurs simultaneously each year at 15 sites in the region, which comprises Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Manitoba and western Ontario.

This year, Bethel sent three teams – half the total of those competing – to the Emporia site. The “Threshers” consisted of juniors Kyle Claassen, Andover, and Matthew Hershberger, Clay Center, and senior Paul Regier, Newton. The “Greys” were Matthew Beth, senior from Newton, and Michael Linscheid, sophomore from Reedley, Calif., and the “Maroons” were Lucas Burson, sophomore from Newton, and Isaac Olson, senior from Denver, Colo. Beth, Claassen, Olson and Regier also participated in last year’s programming contest.

The Bethel students competed against teams from Kansas State University and Emporia State. Claassen, Hershberger and Regier, the Threshers, were the top team at the Emporia site, solving six out of nine problems with a total time of 905 minutes. That finish was good for 37th place in the entire North Central Region, out of a field of 202 teams.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to field a team that placed in the top quartile of the field,” said Karl Friesen, assistant professor of computer science, “especially when we were competing against schools many times our size, some of which have graduate programs.”

In addition, the Greys solved two problems with a total time of 410 minutes, which placed them 161st.

The (as yet unofficial) standings for the region overall can be found at

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 only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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