Driving Success

With perseverance, hard work, and a whole lot of talent, the Bethel women’s golf team has achieved great success on the course. Currently ranked #13 in the latest NAIA national poll, with four returning first team all-conference athletes, the reigning Crossroads League Champions have a 17-tournament winning streak (excluding national competitions).

This feat began back in 2012, with a victory at the Capital University Invitational, and runs through an undefeated 2012-’13 season, into competition this spring.

The women’s golf team is (first row, from left): Laura Glass, junior; Geandra Almeida, senior; Katie Holdren, sophomore; Erin DeVries, senior; Coach Hess. Second row (from left): Mackenna McGraw, freshman; Annie Smith, freshman; Chelsea Thomas, freshman; Allie Smith, freshman; Jocelyn Ojala, freshman.

Coach Christopher Hess ’95, who began coaching the team in the fall of 2011, attributes this success to a well-established program with a contagious desire to continually improve.

“What makes this winning streak significant is not only its duration, but the fact that it has been done with three different teams,” says Hess. “That is a testament to the quality of character and work ethic of these ladies and the strength to carry on the tradition that others before them have established.”

In the 2012-’13 season, the “fab five,” as they are known, won a nation’s best: nine tournaments. This includes sophomore Laura Glass, who stepped up to fill some of the void left by seniors lost, along with freshman Katie Holdren, junior Erin DeVries, senior Sarah Henderson and Brazilian transfer student Geandra Almedia. Each athlete played an essential role in the team’s success.

For the 2013-’14 season, the Pilots gained five freshmen, adding depth and diversity to the roster. Hess has taken full advantage of this opportunity, building a team that continues to strive for a greater level of excellence.

Starters Jocelyn Ojala, Katie Holdren, Erin DeVries, Laura Glass, Geandra Almeida

But Hess and the team realize that success isn’t everything.

“At some point this streak will end, but when it does, we’ll get back to work and give it our best the next time out,” he says. “For this team, it’s not about WHAT we do, it’s about WHO we do it for, and we are out to glorify God with every opportunity — win or lose.”

Bethel’s women’s golf team exemplifies what Bethel athletics is known for, emphasizing community, service and spiritual growth. But they’ve raised the bar on competition for women’s golf. And they’re glorifying God in the process.

“We want other schools to recognize that there is something different, something special about Bethel College, on the golf course and off. That difference is a passion for serving Christ and a love for each other,” says Hess.

The lady Pilots teed off the spring season at the University of St. Francis Invitational March 28.

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