A look at the area's top stories of the year

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan

The last time the world of sports saw disruptions like those related to the COVID-19 outbreak came during World War II and the combination of World War I/Influenza Outbreak in the late 1910s.

With the exception of the spring sports season, area sports weren’t a complete washout and a lot of milestones were still reached.

Here is a look back at some of the top area stories for 2020.

• Bethel football team finishes year unbeaten

The Bethel College football team finished the calendar year unbeaten for the first time in the modern era.

The Threshers ended the year 8-0 with three games remaining for the spring. In that run, the Threshers posted two of the teams’ highest scoring games in school history at 83 and 78 points. Bethel leads the NAIA in most rushing categories as well as passing efficiency. Bethel broke most of the rushing records set just last season.

• Bethel men’s basketball team ends year on winning streak

The Bethel College men’s basketball team opened the season on a 1-3 start, but the Threshers took control of things from there, winning eight in a row and taking the lead in the KCAC.

Bethel finished 20-12 last season, falling in the semifinals of the KCAC tournament to eventual champion Oklahoma Wesleyan 65-62. Jaylon Scott was named KCAC defensive player of the year.

• Bethel women’s basketball team reaches playoffs again

For the second straight year, the Bethel College women’s basketball team reached the KCAC playoffs, falling to Sterling in the quarterfinals. Abby Schmidt continued her assault on the Bethel record books and was KCAC defensive player of the year. Bethel started this season 5-4, 5-3 in conference play.

• Berean Academy wins back-to-back titles

The Berean Academy boys cross country team won its second straight title, moving up to Class 2A to do it. The Warriors edged Stanton County 62-54 for the title. Andrew Harder finished fifth in the medalist chase.

The Remington girls took second in the Class 2A team standings.

• Halstead ends high school basketball season

The Halstead High School girls basketball team put itself in a position to win the Class 3A state title, beating Scott City 45-41 in double overtime.

The game was the last of the state tournament games played as KSHSAA canceled the remainder of the tournament because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Halstead finished the season 21-3.

• Railer gymnasts finish seventh at state

The Newton High School gymnastics team finished the season seventh at the state meet. Newton hosted the meet this season. 

• Newton wrestlers eighth at state

The Newton High School wrestling team finished eighth in the Class 5A state team standings. Newton claimed a state title — Nick Treaster at 106 pounds.

• Newton volleyball team reaches state

The Newton High School volleyball team struggled at times this season, but finished the season 23-12, winning a Class 5A sub-state title. In the state quarterfinals, Newton fell to Bishop Carroll in three sets.

Kansan Area Awards

Area athletes of the year

Co-college women: Brooklyn Entz, Kansas State soccer; Abby Schmidt, Bethel basketball

College man: Jaylon Scott, Bethel basketball

High school girl: Karenna Gerber, Halstead basketball

High school boy: Ben Schmidt, Newton football

Coaches of the year

College women: Drew Johnson, Bethel basketball

College men: Terry Harrison, Bethel football

High School girls: JoAnne Thaw, Newton gymnastics

High School boys: Lewis Wiebe, Berean Academy basketball and cross country

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com

Bethel junior Jaylon Scott is the KCAC defensive player of the year.
Bethel quarterback Zach Esau tied the school record for career rushing touchdowns in an 83-35 win over MidAmerica Nazarene.