Sports Updates – Fall 2017
BC volleyball will be back in action this fall under the direction of Bethel volleyball hall of famer Katie Weiss ’00, who takes the reins for the program this season after serving as an assistant last year. The Pilots boast a solid core of returners in 2016 all-league performer senior Payton Anderson, along with seniors Haley Brown and Erin Carlos, and welcome a talented class of newcomers to provide depth to the rotation. After just a nine-win season last year, the Pilots are poised to return to the fore of the Crossroads League conversation.
Crossroads League Coach of the Year Thiago Pinto ’05, ’07 sits just three wins shy of 100 for his Bethel career, after a successful season concluded with a run at the NCCAA National Championship semifinal. NCCAA All-Americans senior Ian Billin, junior Lucas Moreira, and junior Samuel Biek anchor a talented and deep squad hungry for redemption after falling just short in the Crossroads League tournament championship. They look to return to the NAIA National Championship, for the first time since 2010, this season.
All-Conference honoree junior Rebecca Kanpol is ready to take the women’s soccer program to the next level after a disappointing 2016 season. Head Coach Jamie Lindvall has confidence in Kanpol, and seniors Grace Smithberger and Lauren Hostetler, to mentor his largest newcomer class in four years.
NCCAA All-American junior Jacob Macri headlines a largely veteran group of men’s tennis players ready to continue the momentum they gained in the 2017 spring schedule. After a disappointing fall, the Pilots won four of six spring matches and face three of those opponents again this fall. Macri and junior Jose Morales were both honored as NCCAA Student-Athletes of the Week last fall, giving cause to be excited about the upcoming season.
The hopes are high for women’s tennis this season, after earning a trip to the NCCAA National Championships in the spring. Juniors Caroline Boger and Abbey VanDiver look to build on their success in the superlative singles and doubles positions, while sophomore Taylor Freedline showed a glimpse of her potential by earning a conference Player of the Week award in late March. There will be no shortage of veteran leadership as only two newcomers join the squad hungry for more.
The men’s golf program will be searching for identity after losing Scholar Athletes and top performers Zach Hochstedler and Tim Johnson from a season ago. Sophomore Roman Ojala and junior Zach Higgins look to step into that role for second-year Head Coach Adam Sharp, and improve upon the ninth-place finish in the Crossroads League last season.
The women’s golf program will be in a similar boat as the men, searching for veteran leadership, as they lose all-league performers Jocelyn Ojala, Annie Smith, and Chelsea Thomas from a season ago. Junior Katie Brooks and sophomore Brooke Thomas will settle a young group that includes talented newcomer junior Jaycee Bunner. After finishing in the middle of the pack at the Crossroads League championship last season, the Pilots have their sights set higher in 2017.
Men’s Cross Country
Losing four of their top five finishers from last season, including All-Conference honorees Joel Hartman, Jordan Annis, and Jarrett Walbolt, along with Andy Herbert, senior Collin Wiersema will look to lead a young group that aims to duplicate the success of last year’s squad, which finished a program-best 27th at the NAIA National Championship.
Women’s Cross Country
A veteran group returns for women’s cross country, ready to make some noise at a national level. However, it was sophomore Jessica Duvall who was a consistent factor in the Pilots’ success, leading all Pilots from a season ago in every race. Seniors Alexis Goeglein, Lydia Dykhouse, Faith Mooney and Breann Fawcett will lead a squad that has finished in the top 10 at the NCCAA National Championship for consecutive seasons.
It was a banner season for first-year Head Coach Gil Gadia ’08 and the men’s rugby squad last season, capturing the NSCRO Challenge Cup national championship, and there is reason to be excited again. NSCRO Most Impressive Tackler, senior Jariel Brooks, along with All-Championship XV members, senior Adam Trejo, and juniors Graham Kelly and Ethan Glasscock, are ready to replicate their 13-2 record and undefeated mark in the Great Lakes Conference Division II this season.
Eric Gingerich returns for his second season as women’s basketball head coach, following a 10-21 debut last season. The Lady Pilots will have to replace their top two leading scorers, Savannah Bley and Madison Schrock, who combined for 28.0 points per game last season, but juniors Lauren Grewe, Macie Hinen, and sophomore Kamala Glenn are up to the task to maintain the momentum that saw them win a stretch of 7 of 9 games in late January-February 2017.
Although a Lightfoot will be guiding the Pilots on the sidelines this season, it won’t be Mike, as his son, Ryne Lightfoot ’10, ’13, takes over a program that made an NAIA Quarterfinal appearance a season ago. Alex Daniel is the lone returning assistant coach. Lightfoot will bring on Andrew Wingreen from Bob Jones University to serve as an assistant coach and former Notre Dame great and NBA All-Rookie honoree LaPhonso Ellis to serve as a special assistant coach. In addition, Lady Pilots Basketball Assistant Coach Ryan Ehm will join the program as a graduate assistant this season. The new coaching staff will guide senior Gage Ott, and juniors Paul Forman and Luke Fisher, among others, to defend their Crossroads League championships.