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Volleyball receives first KCAC Team of Character Award

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Bethel College volleyball team has been awarded the inaugural KCAC Team of Character award by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The KCAC Team of Character award is based on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Champions of Character award and recognizes a school in each sport, as voted on by their peer coaches.

“Bethel volleyball has a service culture,” said Head Coach John Marble. “Leadership is granted based on proven and ongoing service to others.

“There is no rank – it’s expected that upperclassmen serve the freshmen. Team leaders serve and help others all the time. We are always looking for ways to reach beyond ourselves.”

Each spring, Bethel volleyball hosts an elementary and middle school day camp for area children, intended to create a fun, volleyball-centered event and a safe, positive activity for children during the day.

Individual student-athletes use their skills and talents throughout the community. Many work in schools, some volunteer with a local vet, several serve in their respective churches and others use their cosmetology training to provide free haircuts for cancer patients.

Last fall, the team helped package 50,000 meals for the Harvey County Food Bank and participated in Bethel’s annual Service Day, working with elders, schoolchildren, animals, campus projects and the local museum. Volleyball players volunteered with the alumni office to provide golf-cart rides to the stadium at a home football game, and served as line judges and scorekeepers for two high school tournaments.

“Bethel volleyball has the NAIA Champions of Character at its core,” Marble said. “Each year, we spend time discussing each Champions of Character trait and its meaning to the individual and the team. As a team, we come up with quotes that define these traits for us, and then hang the quotes in our locker room.”

Athletic accolades for the Threshers in the 2014 season include: McKayla Brezina, junior from Seneca, KCAC First Team; Claire McStravick, senior from Dallas, KCAC Second Team; and Katie Neira, freshman from San Antonio, Emma Hilgenfeld, freshman from Whitewater, and Ashley Dishon, junior from Horton, KCAC Honorable Mention. Neira was also selected Freshman of the Year.

The NAIA Champions of Character program was designed to remind athletes, coaches and fans to act in relation to core values in all aspects of life. Champions of Character core values are integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 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 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

In sports, Bethel competes within the 10-school KCAC and the NAIA. For more information, see

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