Bethel gridders picked to repeat as KCAC champs

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Bethel sophomore J.C. Shelton wraps up a Kansas Wesleyan ball carrier during play last spring at Thresher Stadium. Bethel was named the favorite in both the KCAC pre-season coaches and media polls.

WICHITA — The Bethel College football team won its fourth Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title last spring.

If the coaches and media members attending the virtual Media Day Thursday are correct, title no. 5 could be in store for the Threshers in the upcoming season.

Bethel was named the favorite in both the coaches and media polls taken.

In the coaches poll, Bethel edged Kansas Wesleyan. Avila was picked to finish third, followed by Southwestern and Ottawa. Bethel claimed seven of the 11 first-place votes, followed by KWU with two. Avila and Southwestern each claimed a first-place vote.

The same five teams finished in the same order in the media poll. Bethel claimed nine of the 17 first-place votes by the media. Kansas Wesleyan claimed six first-place votes. Avila and Southwestern each claimed one.

"Our big theme for this year is going to be moving on past a successful last year and trying to build on that," Bethel coach Terry Harrison said. "That's new territory for Bethel. It's one thing to climb to the top and try to get competitive; it's another to stay there. That's the big challenge."

Bethel was 9-2 last season, 6-1 in the KCAC. The Threshers fell in the first-round of the NAIA playoffs to Lindsey Wilson College 42-10. Lindsey Wilson eventually won the NAIA title.

The Threshers expect to return 18 starters from last season. The Threshers are ranked 12th in the NAIA pre-season rankings.

Bethel opens the season Sept. 2 at McPherson College for a Thursday night game.

Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

Pre-Season Football Polls

Coaches

1. Bethel 95 points (first place votes 7)

2. Kansas Wesleyan 87 (2)

3. Avila 86 (1)

4. Southwestern 73 (1)

5. Ottawa 63

6. Tabor 44

7. McPherson 43

8. Friends 38

9. Sterling 37

10. Bethany 20

11. Saint Mary 19

Media 

1. Bethel 177 (9)

2. Kansas Wesleyan 168 (6)

3. Avila 155 (1)

4. Southwestern 139 (1)

5. Ottawa 117

6. Tabor 84

7. McPherson 83

8. Friends 78

9. Sterling 63

10. Bethany 35

11.  Saint Mary 23