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Kamphaus qualifies for NAIA cross-country nationals on 4th try

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – It’s only his first season as Bethel College cross-country coach, and Kent Allshouse has a national qualifier.

At the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Cross-Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 5, in McPherson, Jackie Kamphaus, senior from Clay Center, finished the 5K course in 20:11, in eighth place overall.

To be an individual qualifier for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship meet, she had to be a top five finisher who was not on the winning team (Friends University, which had the top four overall finishers for the women).

Kamphaus is Bethel’s first cross-country national qualifier since 2008, when Annette Gingerich, a 2011 graduate from Parnell, Iowa, finished 186th at the national meet.

This year’s will be run at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site, Vancouver, Wash., on Saturday, Nov. 19. The women’s meet starts at 11:45 a.m. PST.

Allshouse and Kamphaus will fly there Nov. 17 in order to have some time to “inspect the course” and get ready for the meet.

Kamphaus received a Champions of Character Award winner for 2010-11, which is given for leadership and service to others. She is a four-year letter winner for Bethel cross-country. This was her first national qualification.

“It is really exciting to see someone like Jackie be rewarded for all her hard work this year,” said Allshouse, who is also Bethel College athletic director. “She has trained exceptionally hard and overcome some setbacks, but ultimately, she was peaking at just the right time, running personal best times in two of her last three meets.

“I knew she was going to qualify weeks ago,” he added. “Jackie is such a giving person and she makes the old saying ‘Good things happen to good people’ ring true.”

One of Kamphaus’s modmates in the Warkentin Court residence hall, Claire Unruh, senior from Clay Center, went to the Nov. 5 KCAC meet and wrote about it in her Bethel blog post.

“Bethel supporters turned out in droves – there were at least three cars full of students, as well as parents, past teammates and coaches,” Unruh recounted. “In addition to encouraging our fellow classmates during the race, several of the students erected ‘cheer pyramids at strategic points along the course.

“When the races were over and the times had been determined, we found out that Jackie would be going to nationals,” she continued. “It was especially exciting because this was her last chance to make it to the competition. We were able to congratulate and cheer for her when the announcement came over the PA system. In spite of the awful wind and chilly temperatures, being able to share Jackie’s excitement was well worth it.”

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. In sports, Bethel competes within the 10-school KCAC and the NAIA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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