Sport Updates – Spring 2023
It was a historic year for the Pilots as they won their first NAIA National Championship in program history. Bethel won 22 straight games and held a record of 7-1 against opponents in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll. Head Coach Thiago Pinto ’05, ’07, ‘11 earned the NAIA, NCCAA and Crossroads League Coach of the Year award after a perfect 9-0 Crossroads League season and 24-1-1 overall season record. Sophomore Tim Noeding earned NAIA, NCCAA and Crossroads League Player of the Year; his historic season was capped off with four goals, an eighth ranking in the NAIA with 12 assists and three game-winning goals. Junior Luan Bressy led the Pilots with 20 goals, three assists and six game-winning goals.
The Pilots went 7-8-4 on the season and 3-5-1 in the Crossroads League. Senior Audrey Lerch scored 14 goals in the 2022 season, which places her in fifth all-time for goals in a season under Leah Hoover ’00 and JoBette Nabarro ’04, who both scored 17 goals in a single season. Lurch’s best games were at Holy Cross (Ind.) to open the season with three goals and at home vs Concordia (Mich.), with another three goals. The Pilots made the NCCAA North-Central Regional and ended their season at Judson (Ill.) with a score of 3-1.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
After a 14th of 18 finish to start the season at the Twilight Invite, the Pilots finished in the top 10 in three big races, including ninth of 24 at the Raider Invite, fourth of 10 at the Bethel Invitational and eighth of 20 at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge. Bethel finished 10th in the Crossroads League Championship but qualified for the NCCAA National Championship, where they finished fourth of six.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
The Pilots started the season at the Twilight Invite with a 15th of 15 finish but bounced back in the Raider Invite with a ninth of 21 finish. The Pilots’ highlight meet of the season was at the Evansville Invitational, where the team finished third of seven. Senior Megan Cooper finished the season with an NCCAA All-American award after racing in the NCCAA National Championship meet.
Bethel finished the season with an overall record of 23-12 and 12-6 in the Crossroads League. Against ranked opponents, the Pilots have a record of 8-6, including postseason play. In the Crossroads League Championship, Bethel defeated RV Mount Vernon Nazarene 3-1 but fell to No. 11 Taylor 3-1 in the semi-final. The team received an at-large bid to the NAIA National Championship, traveling to Columbia, SC, for the Opening Round. They defeated No. 22 Columbia International 3-0, then fell to No. 4 Corban and swept No. 11 Taylor in Pool E of the final site bracket in Sioux City, Iowa. Isabelle North-Greene (JR) earned All-Crossroads League 1st team, NCCAA All-American and NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. Maddy Payne (JR) earned All-Crossroads League 1st team, NAIA All-American Honorable Mention and NCCAA All-American 1st Team. Madyson Beaver (SR) and Cheyanne Seymour (JR) earned All-Crossroads League 2nd Team.
Sophomore Jonah Kumfer highlighted the Men’s Golf season by winning an individual NCCAA National Championship after shooting a 218 and winning a sudden-death playoff. Kumfer also earned the NCCAA All-American honor. As a team, the Pilots finished eighth of nine in the NCCAA Championship and won the NCCAA North-Central Region Championship out of five teams.
The Pilots had an incredible year, winning five of the six tournaments played in the fall, including the NCCAA National Championship. Bethel has won back-to-back NCCAA National Championships as a team, and junior Maria Pardo Victori was the runner-up individually in the NCCAA. Head Coach Chris Hess was the NCCAA Coach of the Year and Pardo Victori, Jessica Shurety (SR), Taeyon Kwon (JR) and Selah Unwin (FR) earned NCCAA All-American honors.
The Women’s Bowling Team featured freshman Leeah Wade who won one tournament, one additional top-five finish and one additional top-10 finish. Senior Lauren Jackson also had a good season with
two top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes. As a team, the Pilots finished fourth of seven at the Crossroads League Championship and competed in the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Sectionals in Addison, Ill. Jackson won the Champions of Character award and 2nd team All-Conference. Wade earned the Newcomer of the Year award.
Freshman Cameron Compton had a great year with one tournament win, one additional top-five finish, and one additional top-10 finish. Compton rolled a 1163 at the USBC Intercollegiate Individual Sectionals and finished 44th of 268 bowlers who competed. The team placed sixth of seven at the Crossroads League Championship, with Myles Moser (SR) earning the Champions of Character Award and Compton earning Newcomer of the Year.
The Pilots won their eighth NCCAA National Championship in program history over the Clinton College Bears 78-72 in Winona Lake, Ind. The Pilots drew an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament but fell to RV Dordt (IA) 101-92 in Henderson, Tenn. Senior Drew Lutz, among many accolades, was awarded the NCCAA Most Outstanding Player award after putting up 35 points and six assists in the championship game. Lutz made the Top 50 finalists in the prestigious Bevo Francis Award that is given to the best small college Men’s Basketball player among the NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NCCAA and USCAA leagues. Nathan Aerts climbed the all-time record board in total career rebounds as a junior, with one more year to continue the climb. Aerts now sits at 20th all-time, passing Kevin Fulton (’74-78).
The Pilots finished 9-19 for the season and 4-14 in Crossroads League play under first-year head coach Scott Polsgrove. Maiah Shelton (SO) earned 2nd team All-Conference and Mariah Claywell (FR) was
awarded Crossroads League All-Freshman team. Shelton also earned the NCCAA North-Central All-Region team for the Pilots.
The Pilots finished the season fifth of seven teams at the Crossroads League Championship this year but had their best score in program history in a competition held by Taylor University, where the Pilots earned a score of 85.17 and finished in second place of five teams competing. Keegan Galloway (SO) and Andrew Greene (FR) were awarded All-Crossroads League 2nd team honors this season.
MEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
The Pilots finished seventh of 10 teams at the Crossroads League Championship and eighth of 14 at the NCCAA National Championship. Senior Shane Glasco tied for seventh place in the High Jump with a 2.01-meter mark and earned NAIA All-American honors. Senior Elisha Fleming also was an NAIA All-American in the Heptathlon after an eighth-place finish at the NAIA National Championship. At the NCCAA National Championship, sophomore Brennen Bargesser placed second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22:58 and Fleming finished third in the Heptathlon. Shane Glasco was the High Jump champion and Fleming the Heptathlon champion in the Crossroads League.
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD
Bethel finished sixth of 10 in the Crossroads League Championship and third of 13 in the NCCAA National Championship. Markalah Barnes (JR), Madison Kauffman (SR), Cailyn Pentacost (JR) and Sophia Sumer (FR) earned All-Crossroads League team honors this season. Sumer was the runner-up in the Pole Vault with a 3.52-meter jump and Kauffman placed third in the Weight Throw with a 15.91-meter mark. Pentacost won the Pentathlon with a score of 3245 points. In the NCCAA Championship, sophomore Brianna Hooton was the champion in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.58, and the 4×400 relay team of Vladlena Klymova (SO), Brianna Hooten, Cailyn Pentecost and Riley Hershberger (SR) took third place. Sophomore Grace Conway was an All-American in the Pole Vault with a second-place finish; freshman Ariel Manns finished third in the High Jump, earning All-American status, and the 4×200 relay team of Brianna Hooton, Natali Gonzalez (JR), Kilynn Guiler (JR) and Vladlena Klymova (SO) finished second place. At the NAIA National Championship, Cailyn Pentacost finished 13th in the Pentathlon, Sophia Sumer finished 13th in the Pole Vault and Alecia Parker (JR) finished 29th in the Shot Put.