The Bethel College track team doesn’t have much in the way of numbers this season, but the Threshers were able to make up for that in terms of quality.
The Threshers shattered a number of records in the indoor season with two reaching the NAIA nationals.
Senior Kyle Wilson finished his indoor season with a third-place medal in the shot put with a new school record of 17.50 meters (53-9 3/4). Freshman Braylen Brewer placed 19th in the 400-meter dash in 49.26, his second-best time of his short career.
Wilson earns Bethel’s first All-American honors in indoor track since Eric Peters in 1997. Wilson’s finish is the highest for any BC male athlete indoors.
“We broke the record the first track meet of the season at 16.40,” Wilson said. “That got me the NAIA field athlete of the week and KCAC athlete of the week. That kind of set me up for the season. I had some ups and doors, but I finished the season where I want to be.”
It was Wilson’s first trip to the indoor nationals.
“I was going to (compete indoors) last year, but I had an ankle injury in football,” Wilson said. “I didn’t compete indoor. I went to the outdoor nationals twice, so I knew the competitors and I knew what to expect there. I was prepared to do what I needed to do.”
While the weight for the shot put is the same for both indoor and outdoor, the indoor shot put is made of rubber and sand, while the outdoor shot is made of steel.
“The indoor shot has a little different feel to it,” Wilson said. “Other than that, it’s just about the same. I look to build off the indoor season for the outdoor.”
Brewer already holds three indoor records for the Threshers in the 60-meter dash (7.20 seconds), the 200-meter dash (22.22) and the 400-meter dash (48.51).
“My goal was to go to nationals,” Brewer said. “I did a little better than I what I thought I was.”
Wilson also holds the outdoor record in the shot put at 16.04 meters (52-7 1/2), set at last year’s NAIA outdoor championships.Wilson also holds the outdoor record in the shot put at 16.04 meters (52-7 1/2), set at last year’s NAIA outdoor championships.
Wilson is in his third season at Bethel. He came to the Threshers in the fall of 2016gf. He won two KCAC outdoor and one indoor title in the shot put. He also has a KCAC title in the discus.
“I’d like to push 18 meters in the shot put this year,” Wilson said. “I’d also like to re-win in the discus. I lost that title last year.”
Wilson came to Bethel from California City, Calif. He attended Antelope Valley Community College before attending Bethel.
Wilson is an offensive lineman on the football team.
“I played two years in junior college and then I took two years off,” Wilson said. “Then I got a call asking if I still wanted to play. I decided to come play. I was the starting right guard for two years and got all-conference honors and a team captain my senior year.”
Brewer came from Tecumseh, Okla., where he attended Maud High School.
“I just wanted to run track,” Brewer said. “I like (head coach) Jeff (Hoskisson). I like the idea of turning the track program around. I was surprised how many people there are, but I think we’re going to get a lot more people.”
It was Brewer’s first go at indoor track. Since Bethel doesn’t have an indoor track, he had to adjust on the fly.
“I never ran indoor,” Brewer said. “I only ran three track meets this year. We didn’t have indoor track in high school.”
Indoor track has several differences from outdoor, including a shorter track — 200 to 300 meters as opposed to the standard 400-meter outdoor track. Turns can very from track to track.
“The turns are so tight,” Brewer said. “Me being tall, I had to adjust to that. I had no practice. I came in and not sure what it would be like. I had to work on my running patterns. I worked on when I needed to speed up and when to stride. I worked on my turns. I had to figure out where I fit in the lanes so I didn’t bump into anybody.”
Brewer said he’d like to set some more records in the outdoor season.
“I’d like to break it in the 100, 200 and 400 if I can,” he said. “I’d like to try and go to nationals again. Last year, I ran a 50 outdoor (in the 400), so I need to run about a half second faster. I need to be about three tenths faster in the 200. The 100, I don’t think I can make nationals, but I’d like to run about a 10.9.”
Wilson graduates this spring with a degree in health and physical education with a certificate in coaching. He said he’d like to continue to play football after graduation.
“Later this spring, I’ll be sending out some film,” Wilson said. “I’ve had a few offers to play in Europe. There’s also a chance I could try for the CFL. I’ve also looked at Azusa Pacific in California to get my masters in training.”
Brewer said he intends to major in athletic training.
“I was always told that Bethel was a very smart college,” Brewer said. “They are very good in education.”
Bethel’s spring season begins March 23 at the Emporia State Invitational. Bethel hosts the Bethel Invitational April 13. The KCAC meet is May 2 and 3 at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina. The NAIA nationals are May 23 through 25 in Gulf Shores, Ala.