Sports

Three new members in Bethel Hall of Fame

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  Bethel College has three new members in its Athletic Hall of Fame.  The three athletes awarded for their achievements include Eric Brand, April (Allison) Russell, and AJ Whitehead. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame during a banquet on Sept. 12  Each player was introduced by someone close to them and they spoke briefly about their time at Bethel College and what the award meant to them. Brand was the first to receive recognition and was introduced by his coach, Mike Lightfoot. Lightfoot mentioned how close he had grown to Brand over the years and that he had never seen a player improve so much from the time he had gotten to Bethel. Brand expressed early on that he was thankful to receive such recognition for all that he accomplished and that he had missed Bethel. “I wanted to be back. I don’t get chances to reminisce very much,” Brand said. He also spoke about how much Bethel meant to him now that he lives in Texas and is an assistant men’s basketball coach at Texas State University. “This place is always home.” Brand was also very thankful for having the opportunity to be recognized. He thanked his family, coaches, and teammates for his success. “ It’s really not an individual award. I played with so many great players,” Brand said. Russell was the next athlete to be inducted and was introduced by her softball coach, Drew Peterson. She started by expressing how humbling it was to be present at the banquet.  “It’s not about me,” she said. Russell told about what going to Bethel College was like for her and how privileged she was to compete in both softball and volleyball. She expressed how much she cared about Bethel and told many stories about athletics and friends that she will never forget. Lastly, she felt she owed many thanks to Drew Peterson, who had coached her three years in softball. Russell explained that even after he left after her junior year, she was still benefiting from his impact on her life. AJ Whitehead followed Russell and was introduced by her basketball coach, Jody Martinez. Martinez spoke very highly of Whitehead and said that the Bethel College women’s basketball program has not been the same since she came here. “She knew her role,” he said. “Basketball was her life.” Whitehead mentioned how great of an honor it was to receive the award but explained that she could not have done it without God’s grace. She was humbled to be inducted and said that her life has changed dramatically since transferring to Bethel College from Western Michigan University. The athletes were presented their awards by the athletic hall of fame board who include Allison Clay, Tim Erdel, Guy Fisher, Mark Lantz, Mike Lightfoot, Jody Martinez, Robby Prenkert, Norm Spivey, and Bob Staples.
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