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Last Bethel convocation of year honors ‘Champions of Character’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s last convocation of the school year is devoted to the achievements of student-athletes.

The annual “Champions of Character Convocation” also honored retiring Bethel Athletic Director Diane Flickner.

Bethel College is a Champions of Character Five Star Institution, based on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Champions of Character program that emphasizes five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

The May 13 convocation began with a photo recap of the year in sports at Bethel College and a prayer led by Jerrell Williams, freshman football player from Garland, Texas.

In her opening remarks, Flickner took the opportunity to look back briefly over 33 years at Bethel College, to which she came in 1978 as “a 20-something rookie college volleyball coach.” Flickner became athletic director in 1991.

“In my 20 years as athletic director, there are many times when I’ve been the first woman, or the only woman in a roomful of men,” she said. “Growing up, I never wanted to be first at anything – it just happened.”

Flickner noted that the “two prevailing themes” for this school year have been “the last time” and “letting go.” “Seniors, I’ll bet you can relate,” she said.

Chad Schilling, sports information director, announced the two-year letter winners: Aaron Benton, sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, and Eric Regier, junior from Haysville, for men’s basketball; Michael Bowman, junior from Syracuse, for men’s cross country; Emily Gundy, sophomore from Halstead, and Mariah Hostetler, sophomore from Dodge City, for women’s cross country; Kyle Berg, junior from Whitewater, Jayson Kaufman, sophomore from Moundridge, Andrew McNary, junior from Potwin, Jacob Stucky, sophomore from Moundridge, Grady Stultz, junior from Goessel, and Ben Suchsland, sophomore from Agra, for football; Abram Rodenberg, sophomore from Halstead, for golf; David Counts, sophomore from Lakewood Village, Texas, David Gaeddert, sophomore from Leawood, Jean-Yves Komayombi, junior from Garland, Texas, and Alex Reyes, sophomore from Mesquite, Texas, for men’s soccer; Lizzie Shelly, sophomore from Lenexa, for women’s soccer; Shayne Runnion, sophomore from Phillipsburg, and Miranda Weaver, sophomore from Hesston, for women’s tennis; and Kristen Lohaus, junior from Noble, Okla., Whitney Steingard, sophomore from Henderson, Neb., and Melissa Volk, junior from Newton, for volleyball.

Senior two-year letter winners are: Samantha Askew, Dodge City, for women’s basketball; Chris Correll, Peyton, Colo., and Derrick Law, Canton, for football; Marcus Maust, Bay Port, Mich., for men’s soccer; Nakita Menefee, Wichita, and Megan Schrock, Wellman, Iowa, for women’s soccer; and Maggie Stephenson, Little River, for volleyball.

Merle Schlabaugh, professor of German and the faculty representative in the athletic department, announced the academic awards.

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference Awards went to: Justin Baldia, sophomore from Lewisville, Texas, Austin Bumgarner, junior from Moundridge, Matt Regier, senior from Whitewater, and Trey Ronnebaum, junior from Wichita, in men’s basketball; Holly Anthony, senior from Sterling, Samantha Askew, Rachael Bachman, senior from Emporia, Jessica Muckenthaler, junior from Emporia, and Angela Wood, senior from Wichita, in women’s basketball; Ben Histand, senior from North Newton, Kevin Leary, junior from North Newton, and Ben Moore, senior from Green, in men’s cross country; Annette Gingerich, senior from Parnell, Iowa, Emily Gundy and Jackie Kamphaus, junior from Clay Center, in women’s cross country; Garrett Hiebert, senior from Goessel, Matt Regier, Aaron Rudeen, sophomore from Osage City, Jacob Stucky, Ben Suchsland, Austin Unruh, sophomore from Goessel, and Andrew Wiederholt, junior from Hartford, in football; Abram Rodenberg in golf; Will Nagengast, senior from Lawrence, and Markus Plitzko, junior from Sankt Agustin, Germany, in men’s soccer; Nakita Menefee, Lizzie Shelly, Renicia Yoder, junior from Newton, and Louise Zurkee, junior from Andale, in women’s soccer; Ben Moore in men’s tennis; Rachael Bachman, Katie Malotte, senior from Marysville, Shayne Runnion and Miranda Weaver in women’s tennis; Garrett Hiebert in men’s track and field; Alyssa Schrag, junior from Moundridge, and Dorothy Voth, junior from Hesston, in women’s track and field; and Whitney Hiebner, senior from Hampton, Neb., Kristen Lohaus, Alyssa Schrag, Melissa Volk and Addison Wolf, junior from Moundridge, in volleyball.

NAIA Scholar-Athlete Awards went to: Austin Bumgarner and Matt Regier in men’s basketball; Holly Anthony, Samantha Askew, Rachael Bachman, Jessica Muckenthaler and Angela Wood in women’s basketball; Ben Histand, Kevin Leary and Brian Skinner, junior from Clay Center, in men’s cross country; Jackie Kamphaus and Monica Schmidt, senior from Mount Hope, in women’s cross country; Garrett Hiebert, Matt Regier and Andrew Wiederholt in football; Nakita Menefee and Renicia Yoder in women’s soccer; Rachael Bachman and Katie Malotte in women’s tennis; Whitney Hiebner, Kristen Lohaus, Alyssa Schrag, Melissa Volk and Addison Wolf in volleyball; and Garrett Hiebert, Jackie Kamphaus, Kevin Leary, Kristen Lohaus, Roxanne Reimer, senior from Walton, Alyssa Schrag, Melissa Volk and Dorothy Voth in track and field.

Schlabaugh also announced the Kansas Athletic Trainers Society (KATS) Awards for academic excellence: 1st Team – Whitney Hiebner and Kristen Lohaus; 2nd Team – Rachael Bachman, Megan Fowler, senior from La Junta, Colo., Kellen Goertzen, junior from Henderson, Neb., and Jessica Muckenthaler; Honorable Mention – Emily Gundy, Marcus Maust, Whitney Steingard and Jacob Stucky.

Jason Moore, head men’s and women’s soccer coach, listed KCAC athletic honors for the year, as follows:

Men’s Basketball, All-KCAC Defensive Team – Trey Ronnebaum

Women’s Basketball, KCAC All-Conference, First Team – Angela Wood (unanimous); KCAC All Defense

Honorable Mention – Jessica Muckenthaler

Men’s Cross Country, KCAC All-Conference, Honorable Mention – Nathan May, freshman from Westminster, Colo.

Women’s Cross Country, KCAC All-Conference, Honorable Mention – Jackie Kamphaus

Football, KCAC All-Conference, 1st Team – Matt Regier (U), offense

2nd Team – Ben Suchsland, offense

Honorable Mention – Jayson Kaufman, defense; Chris Bloss, junior from Wichita, defense

Golf, KCAC All-Conference – Jordan Esau, junior from Hutchinson, and Zach Frey, junior from Goessel

Men’s Soccer, KCAC All-Conference, Honorable Mention – B.J. Heffernan, freshman from Lakewood, Colo.; Grant Keith, freshman from Lakewood, Colo.; Will Nagengast

Women’s Soccer, KCAC All-Conference, 2nd Team –Megan Schrock

Honorable Mention – Linsey Laird, freshman from Newton; Savannah Longoria, junior from Yuma, Ariz.; Kelsie Wilson, senior from Dodge City

Men’s Tennis, KCAC All-Conference, 2nd Team – Clinton Chlumsky, freshman from Wichita

Women’s Tennis, KCAC All-Conference, 1st Team –Katie Malotte (U)

2nd Team – Allison Kaster, senior from Wichita; Stephanie Shogren, freshman from Hesston; Miranda Weaver

Men’s Track and Field, All-KCAC – Garrett Hiebert

Women’s Track and Field, All-KCAC – Dorothy Voth

Honorable Mention –Alyssa Schrag

Volleyball, KCAC All-Conference, 1st Team – Bethany Thiesen (U), senior from Moundridge; Addison Wolf

2nd Team – Whitney Hiebner, Maggie Stephenson

Honorable Mention – Morgan Peters, senior from Henderson, Neb.

Addison Wolf was named KCAC Player of the Week (volleyball, defense) four times during the 2010-11 season and received the KCAC Player of the Year award in volleyball, defense.

Other Player of the Week Awards went to Bethany Thiesen, twice (volleyball, hitter); Marcus Maust (men’s soccer, goalkeeper); Allison Kaster, Katie Malotte and Miranda Weaver (women’s tennis); Clinton Chlumsky (men’s tennis); and Zach Frey (golf).

For the second year in a row, Katie Malotte was KCAC Player of the Year in women’s tennis. Also in women’s tennis, Miranda Weaver received the KCAC Scholar Award. Lonnie Isaac, head coach, was named KCAC Coach of the Year in tennis.

Isaac presented the KCAC Champions of Character Leader Awards to: Angela Wood (women’s basketball) Matt Regier (men’s basketball, football), Ben Moore (men’s cross country, men’s tennis), Jackie Kamphaus (women’s cross country), Eric Regier (golf), Will Nagengast (men’s soccer), Renicia Yoder (women’s soccer), Allison Kaster (women’s tennis), Garrett Hiebert (men’s track and field), Dorothy Voth (women’s track and field) and Maggie Stephenson (volleyball).

Four-year letter awards went to Matt Regier in men’s basketball; Holly Anthony, Rachael Bachman and Krishna Phifer, Humble, Texas, in women’s basketball; Ben Moore in men’s cross country; Matt Regier, Caleb Stephens, Lawrence, and Andrew Wiederholt in football; Zach Frey in golf; Josh Laubenheimer, Slinger, Wis., and Will Nagengast in men’s soccer; Kelsie Wilson in women’s soccer; Nathan Dick, Baldwin City, and Ben Moore in men’s tennis; Rachael Bachman and Allison Kaster in women’s tennis; Garrett Hiebert in track and field; and Morgan Peters in volleyball.

The final presentations of the Champions of Character convocation were three awards honoring Bethel coaches and administrators.

Travis Graber, football coach, and Isaac (who also read the citation from Mark Fox, women’s basketball coach, unable to attend the convocation due to family illness) presented the George Rogers Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award to three students – Matt Regier, Katie Malotte and Angela Wood.

The award, instituted in 1998, is named for George Rogers III of Newton, an athlete in his Bethel student days who from 1969-98 served variously as a coach, faculty member, athletic director and dean of students at Bethel.

Diane Flickner announced the 2011 Douglas A. Penner Champions of Character Scholarship recipients: Jessica Muckenthaler, Trey Ronnebaum, Aaron Rudeen and Addison Wolf. Instituted in 2002, the award honors former Bethel athlete, faculty member and president (1997-2002) Doug Penner of Topeka.

Finally, Jessica Hunter, Bethel head athletic trainer, presented the 2011 Gerry Sieber Service Award to Megan Fowler, senior athletic training major from La Junta, Colo. Sieber coached men’s soccer at Bethel for 13 years and, during that time, started the women’s soccer program. After his retirement from coaching soccer, Sieber re-started the cross country program at Bethel and, most recently, began a new cross-country program at Hesston College.

At the end of the convocation, Bethel President Perry D. White took over the microphone to present a tribute to Flickner who, though retiring as athletic director, will continue at Bethel as a full-time faculty member in health and physical education.

White listed some of Flickner’s accomplishments over the years, including being named KCAC Coach of the Year for volleyball eight times, coaching eight of her 11 teams to KCAC championships, leading her 1981 team to third place in the NAIA and being named KCAC Athletic Director of the Year multiple times, most recently in 2010.

One of Flickner’s major legacies at Bethel, White noted, is the Champions of Character program, which she “established and nurtured.”

“Diane has modeled the values she tries to instill in students,” White said. The convocation audience responded with a standing ovation for Flickner.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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