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Bethel University Offers Sports Preview for Fall 2022


Football Cats Look to Continue Momentum in 2022

McKENZIE, Tenn. - The Bethel University Wildcat football program got back on the upswing in 2021 finishing with a 7-4 mark. The Cats hope to continue that momentum this fall. The 2022 schedule will as always be tough in what many believe is the toughest NAIA football league in the nation. Bethel competes in the rugged Bluegrass Division of the Mid-South Conference.

Six MSC teams were mentioned in the NAIA Football First Down PlayBook Top 25 Postseason Poll this past fall.

Lindsey Wilson was picked third in the poll. The Blue Raiders earned 381 points in the poll while going 12-1 and reaching the NAIA FCS Semifinals.

Keiser was No. 7 in the poll after receiving 306 points. The Seahawks were 9-3 and reached the FCS Quarterfinals.

Reinhardt was the last MSC team in the top ten of the postseason poll. The Eagles were slotted ninth and earned 289 points in the poll. Reinhardt went 9-3 and made a postseason appearance.

Georgetown was No. 16 in the poll. The Tigers received 184 points in the poll and were 8-2. Faulkner is the final conference team in the top 25. The Eagles were No. 24 after earning fifty-one points and going 8-2.

Southeastern was mentioned in the receiving votes section with three points.

The Wildcats face four of those teams this upcoming season.

The Wildcats will play six home games and five road games this fall. Bethel plays four of its first six games at home.

The Cats open the season at home against Arkansas Baptist on August 27. It will be the first ever meeting between the Buffaloes and the Wildcats. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. in Wildcat Stadium. The game will be the 478th game in program history. Bethel is 184-285-8 all-time.

Second week action will find the Cats visiting the No. 9 Reinhardt Eagles in Waleska, Georgia. It will be the eighth meeting between the two with RU holding a 5-2 advantage in the series. The September 3rd kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.

The Cats return home to battle Point University on the 10th. The game begins at 1 p.m. with Bethel holding a 1-0 margin in the series.

After an open date, the Wildcats return to action at home on September 24th. The UPIKE Bears will come calling with the kickoff at 1 p.m. After Bethel's win last year, the series is tied at 4-4.

The Cats hit the road the following week traveling to Georgetown on the first day of October. GC leads the series 12-3. The Wildcats and Tigers will kick off at 12:30 CT. It marks the first time Bethel will play a Tiger squad not coached by GC legend Bill Cronin. Cronin retired as head coach of the Tigers after the past season.

The Patriots of the University of the Cumberlands will be in McKenzie on October 8th. It will be a night game slated for 7 p.m. UC leads the all-time series 8-3.

On October 15, the Cats travel to Taylor County, Kentucky, to face the Tigers of Campbellsville at 12:30 p.m. CT. The Tigers lead the series 10-8.

The Cats will face Thomas More the following week playing host to the Saints on Homecoming at 1 p.m. The series is tied 2-2.

Bethel goes back to the Commonwealth on the 29th. Kickoff in Columbia against the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CT. LWC has a 6-2 advantage in the series.

The last regular season game will be a home game on November 5th. Faulkner will be in the house for Senior Day beginning at 1 p.m. Bethel has a 5-4 lead in the series.

Bethel closes out the regular season on November 12 at Cumberland University. The programs have met 33 times with Cumberland holding a 20-12-1 lead between the two. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. in Lebanon.

The Wildcats will need to replace several program record setters. De'Ontay Tate finished with 1,098 rushing yards last year. He became just the 13th Wildcat to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He finished his career with 3,427 yards which is fourth all-time in Wildcat history. Tate had 13 rushing touchdowns on the season. Tate was a first team MSC All-Conference performer.

Quarterback Nolan Chowbay threw 30 touchdowns last year. He passed Sam Castronova who had 28 in 2018. Chowbay finished the year with 3,232 passing yards which is the most in a single season in Wildcat history. Chowbay was named to the MSC All-Conference second team.

The Cats will also need to replace key members in Mike Malone, Dieuly Aristilde, Riley Wood, Hayden BrophyMichael McClainAustin BrockKeyshawn Brummett, and Jared Gentry. Gentry played only eight games because of injuries but still had an all-conference season. He had 29 total tackles with 7.5 of those being tackles for losses. Gentry also had a fumble recovery during the season. Aristilde and Gentry signed pro contracts earlier this year.

The Wildcats have several key performers returning. Wide receiver James Dixon was the Bluegrass Offensive Freshman of the Year. Dixon led the Bluegrass Division and ranked sixth in the NAIA with 1,116 receiving yards. He averaged 101.5 receiving yards per game with 14 touchdown receptions, which also led the Bluegrass last year. Before the season only one Wildcat had 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Isaiah Hookfin had 1,052 in 2003. Dixon finished with the year with 1,116. Dixon had 14 touchdown receptions on the year which is second only behind Hookfin who had 15 in 2003. Dixon was also named to the MSC Champion of Character team. Dixon was named to the first team as a wide receiver.

Prior to last season only three Wildcats finished their career with 300 or more total tackles. Tyler Murray and Jeremy Beaulieu were tied at No. 1 with 325. Hunter Pingston finished his hall of fame career with 318. Bethel junior linebacker Jakobe Griffin began the year with 209. He finished the season with 311 career stops. Griffin already holds the single season record with 126 tackles in 2019. He had 102 this past season. Freshman Brody Franks  had 99 tackles on the season.

Defensive back Vonte Bates is back after an outstanding season. Bates had 99 total tackles on the season. Bates also had three interceptions and was named first team All-Conference.

Devious Christmon is back after having five interceptions last year. He was a first team all-conference selection. Christmon moved to third on the all-time program list for career interceptions with 12. 

The offensive line returns several key members including Tyler McCoin and Cole Lyles. Lyles was a first team all-conference selection last year. 

Tight end Quashawn Ford was named to the second team all-conference squad. Other key veterans returning are D.J. James, Anthony Hughes and Stavonski Wilkes. 

Coach Jasper shared his thoughts on key returners, new faces, the schedule and season. “I am excited about our program and the opportunities that are ahead of us. We have some shoes to fill, but we also return a lot of really good ball players and some key role players that have been in the program, understand how we operate, and are eager to uphold the standard. We have added some great coaches and mentors to the staff which is going to really aid our guys in development as well as bring some new ideas to the table schematically, so that really excites me and the returners on the staff from last season. Our mid-year signees and summer transfers are going to have to come in and step up early. We saw some good things out of Joaquin Collazo, a quarterback from Tusculum College, and were able to add some weapons around him like Logan Davis at tackle, Kayvon Anderson at wideout, Terrance Roberts at running back, a stellar athlete in Cam Jordan from Navy, and several others on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively we have one of the best secondaries in the country and we were able to add some quality guys up front in Nick Andrews and Markel Crawford. We added some playmakers at linebacker in Jeremy Boyland and Gary Anderson. Our freshman class has some great additions as well. We have four TSSAA football state champions and several great young players from New York that have made their way down to the Southeast.” Coach Jasper summed up his thoughts. “I feel confident in the job the staff has done putting together a great roster and now it is up to us as to put them in position to be successful. It is no secret the Mid-South is the toughest small college football conference there is, so we will have our work cut out for us, but we have guys that are up for the task.”

Coach Jasper enters his fourth year as head coach of the Wildcats. Before becoming the head coach Jasper served as the Assistant Head Coach and worked with the defensive line. Prior to that he held the titles of Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator and oversaw the strength and conditioning program. Coach Jasper's career record is 15-14 overall and 9-12 in conference play.

For a complete look at Bethel football visit https://bethelathletics.com/sports/fball/index.

The Wildcats report for fall practice August 1. 

2022 Bethel University Football Staff

Michael Jasper - Head Coach

Chris Springer - Associate Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator

Jay Bright - Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator

Dustin Kincaid - Director of Football Operations, Defensive Run Game Coordinator/ Linebackers Coach

Cody McCallister - Special Teams Coordinator, Defensive Back

Terrell Jackson - Senior Defensive Analyst

Bret Peterson -Halfbacks/ Tight Ends

Troy Brewer - Defensive Line

Greg Meyer - Pass Game Coordinator, Wide Receivers

Jake Sisk -Running Backs 

Austin Kisrow - Offensive Line

Montgomery Allison – Offensive Assistant

Hunter Scott- Special Teams/ WR  

Jamel Warren -Defensive Line

Brighton Hill - Director of Sports Performance


Women's Soccer -2022 Preview

McKENZIE, Tenn. – The Bethel Lady Wildcats look forward to a bounce back season this fall. The Cats finished 6-10 last year but were on the cusp of a winning mark, losing seven games by just one goal. Bethel was 4-7 in the MSC. 

The Lady Wildcats will have the task of replacing several key performers including seniors, Shanay RickettsMolly FlynnMaria Fernanda CamposAshari BowenElvira MartinJodi Butler and Sacha-Gay Brown.  Brown was named to the MSC first team and later signed a professional contract with a team in Turkey. Ricketts and Martin were named second team all-conference. Martin led the squad with ten goals while Ricketts had 75 saves. Flynn, Campos, Bowen and Brown all played key roles in their Wildcat careers. 

Bethel returns their second leading scorer in Ainhoa Chirivella who had eight goals this past season. She also led the team with eight assists. Chirivella is tied for seventh in career assists (13) through her first two seasons. She also set the school record for assists in a game with six last year at Pikeville. Other key returners include Elle Carson, Alicia Perez and Allie Chappell. 

Bethel had another impressive off-season in signing several players who can help the program immediately. Some of those players include Natalie Rojas, Paula Pinilla and Ana Ramirez. 

The Lady Wildcats face a challenging schedule for the 2022 season that includes nine home competitions, ten Mid-South Conference matches and seven games against 2021 NAIA national tournament qualifiers.

 Bethel begins the campaign with a road match at Texas A&M-Texarkana on Aug. 22. The Lady Wildcats welcome Middle Georgia State to McKenzie for the home opener on Aug. 28.

 BU travels to Brescia on Sept. 1 before returning home for a Labor Day game against LSU Alexandria on Sept. 5. A road match at William Carey, defending NAIA national runner-up, awaits the Lady Wildcats on Sept. 10. Next for Bethel is a four-game home stand as Missouri Baptist (Sept. 17) and conference foes Pikeville (Sept. 22), University of the Cumberlands (Sept. 24) and defending NAIA national champion UT Southern (Sept. 28) visit Wildcat Stadium.

 The Lady Wildcats open October with a road swing to Cumberland (Oct. 1) and Thomas More (Oct. 5) before coming back to McKenzie for their final three home matches of the year. Bethel hosts Georgia Gwinnett (Oct. 8), Georgetown (Oct. 12) and Shawnee State (Oct. 15). BU concludes the regular season with three consecutive road games - at Lindsey Wilson (Oct. 19), at Campbellsville (Oct. 21) and at Freed-Hardeman (Oct. 29).

 2022 Bethel Women's Soccer Schedule

Aug. 22 at Texas A&M-Texarkana

Aug. 28 vs. Middle Georgia State

Sept. 1 at Brescia

Sept. 5 vs. LSU Alexandria

Sept. 10 at William Carey

Sept. 17 vs. Missouri Baptist

Sept. 22 vs. Pikeville*

Sept. 24 vs. University of the Cumberlands*

Sept. 28 vs. UT Southern*

Oct. 1 at Cumberland*

Oct. 5 at Thomas More*

Oct. 8 vs. Georgia Gwinnett

Oct. 12 vs. Georgetown*

Oct. 15 vs. Shawnee State*

Oct. 19 at Lindsey Wilson*

Oct. 21 at Campbellsville*

Oct. 29 at Freed-Hardeman*

 (*) - Mid-South Conference game

Coach Misty Aird commented, “We are excited and are looking forward to the season. We play and compete in the hardest conference in the nation and we are looking forward to the competition.” 

Coach  Aird enters her 23rd season with the Lady Wildcats. She is 11th in the NAIA among active coaches. Aird is 238-161-20 overall and the all-time winningest female coach in NAIA history.


Soccer Cats Primed to have Huge Season

McKENZIE, Tenn. -Winning thirteen matches for many teams marks a great year. Take nothing away from the Bethel Wildcats after going 13-5-2 last year but the Cats would tell you they were disappointed with their season as it ended with a two-overtime loss in the conference tournament semifinals to Lindsey Wilson. Three of the season losses were by one goal. Bethel  was 7-4 in the MSC. 

Two Wildcats earned NAIA All-American Honorable Mention awards. Alioune Diop and Pascal Mohungsi had great seasons for Bethel. Diop and Mohungsi were joined on the conference first team by Norberto Lima Vieira. 

The Cats will have to replace a talented group of seniors. Alejandro CostalesJoshua McNaughtJustice Nmeregini Mohungsi, Don Abare, Brandon AkemRodrigo AtilanoCallum McKennaGian-Luca Schunke, Juan Penegos, Alphonso GoodenJoao RizzonEmmanuel Ezema, and James Whitehead were key members of the program in recent years.

 Mohungsi had nine goals and nine assists last year. Gooden followed with six goals and two assists. 

Vieira, Diop and second team all-conference member Mountaga Sall all return for Bethel. Vieira finished with 74 saves. Sall had four goals and three assists. Diop was noted as one of the league’s top defenders. Sergio Baguena returns after scoring eight goals last season. Nicolas Ruiz is back after having three goals last year. 

The Wildcats have signed several key performers who should add depth and strength to several positions. The 2022 roster is a good mix of key veterans and youth. 

The 2022 schedule features five conference home matches and two non-conference games in McKenzie. The Wildcats hit the road for two preseason matches and ten regular season games this year. Five of this season's opponents were 2021 NAIA national tournament qualifiers.

 Bethel plays two exhibition matches against in-state NCAA Division II competition. The Wildcats make the short road trip to Jackson to battle Union on Aug. 8 before traveling to Christian Brothers on Aug. 15.

 BU begins the regular season with a road match at Texas A&M-Texarkana on Aug. 22. The Wildcats face Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, Tenn., on Aug. 26.

 Bethel travels to Brescia on Sept. 1 before hosting LSU Alexandria in the home opener on Labor Day, Sept. 5. The Wildcats are back on the road for their next two matches, at William Carey on Sept. 10 and at Williams Baptist on Sept. 14. Next for BU is a four-game home stand as Missouri Baptist (Sept. 17) and conference foes Pikeville (Sept. 22), University of the Cumberlands (Sept. 24) and UT Southern (Sept. 28) visit Wildcat Stadium.

 The Wildcats open October with a road swing to Cumberland (Oct. 1) and Thomas More (Oct. 5) before returning to McKenzie for their final two home matches of the year. Bethel hosts Georgetown on Oct. 12 and Shawnee State on Oct. 15. BU concludes the regular season with three consecutive road games - at Lindsey Wilson (Oct. 19), at Campbellsville (Oct. 21) and at Freed-Hardeman (Oct. 27).

2022 Bethel Men's Soccer Schedule

Aug. 8 at Union (Exhibition)

Aug. 15 at Christian Brothers (Exhibition)

Aug. 22 at Texas A&M-Texarkana

Aug. 26 at Tennessee Wesleyan

Sept. 1 at Brescia

Sept. 5 vs. LSU Alexandria

Sept. 10 at William Carey

Sept. 14 at Williams Baptist

Sept. 17 vs. Missouri Baptist

Sept. 22 vs. Pikeville*

Sept. 24 vs. University of the Cumberlands*

Sept. 28 vs. UT Southern*

Oct. 1 at Cumberland*

Oct. 5 at Thomas More*

Oct. 12 vs. Georgetown*

Oct. 15 vs. Shawnee State*

Oct. 19 at Lindsey Wilson*

Oct. 21 at Campbellsville*

Oct. 27 at Freed-Hardeman*

 (*) - Mid-South Conference game

Coach Malang (J.J.) Jarju is in his seventh season as head coach of the Wildcats and 15th overall at the school. He is 73 -32-6 with the Cats. He was a member of the Wildcats from 2003-2007 and then was a longtime assistant with the program. 

Coach shared his thoughts on the season. “The Mid-South Conference has the toughest schedule in the nation but am excited about my new young team. We are use to tough schedules and I am confident and excited for the new season.” 


Cross Country Cats Have Good Mix with Returners and Added Youth

McKENZIE, Tenn. - The Bethel University men’s cross-country team will be a very young squad heading into the 2022 season. 

The Wildcats will look to replace two super seniors in Anthony Garza and Jonathan Herrera. Garza is the most decorated runner in program history with three national championship qualifications. Garza holds multiple school records and one individual and one team conference championship. Herrera also had a very successful career being named all -conference three times along with being on the all -freshman team and qualifying for nationals. 

The Wildcats return Dennis Kipkemboi who has battled some injuries but when healthy has been very good for the Cats. After Kipkemboi the Wildcats are all sophomores and freshmen. Ariel Devoto, Carson Warman, Stetson Childress and Brantly Jent will all be back after one season with the Wildcats who finished 5th of 11 at the Mid-South Conference championship. The Cats have added seven newcomers to next year’s squad. Benard Koech, Nick Skarsten, Cedrion Cook, Braden Wallace, Conner Cox, Brendan Harper, and Santos De La Rosa will all be hoping to have an instant impact this coming season. 

Coach Brandon Kilburn is excited about the team and season.  “I am really excited about what we have on the men’s side. We have a lot of newcomers who are exceptionally talented, and we bring back some really good runners who have already had some success in college. It will be fun to watch them progress and see who comes out of this group as the top five.”


Women’s Cross Country 2022 Season Preview

McKENZIE, Tenn. - The Bethel University women’s country team will return all but one runner from last year’s team. The ladies finished 7 of 12 at the conference championship. 

Conference champion and top 50 national runner Andrea De La Rosa returns for her senior year. De La Rosa was named Mid-South Conference Runner of the Year and all conference first team. She had a 41st finish at the national championships missing all American by one spot. She won three of the five races the Wildcats competed in last season beating several of her own records. 

Along with De La Rosa the Lady Wildcats return Cecillia Tellez who was named second team all-conference last season. Tellez will be entering her sophomore season. Two more seniors will bring experience and leadership in Olivia Plunkett and Russia Pyle. The Wildcats return five juniors in Mackenzie Bennett, Isabella Richardson, Makenya Gaskin, Emily Roque and Kayla Bennett. 

The incoming class includes Kenya Sylvia Cherono who is expected to push for one of the top spots on the squad and Hailey Wallace of McKenzie who is coming off a highly successful track season. 

Coach Brandon Kilburn stated, “On the ladies’ side we have a ton of experience and a lot of talent. I am excited to see how this group meshes together and can hopefully push each other every day and allow us to reach our potential. The returners we have coming back have been an excellent group and I am really excited about our newcomers. It should be a fun year and hopefully we have a lot of success.”


Golf Cats Return Experience and Add Fresh Faces for upcoming Season

MCKENZIE, Tenn. -With six returning golfers from last year and three new faces added over the summer, expectations are high for the upcoming Bethel University Wildcat men’s golf season. 

Zac Douglas, Issac Holley, David Ramirez Trey Register, Logan Scoggins and Hunter Tillman all return for another year on the links. The Wildcats have added two freshman and a junior college transfer to the fold to make the in-team competition even stronger. 

Bethel finished fourth in the MSC Conference Tournament and had a second and two third place finishes last season. 

Coach John Austin commented, “We return all players from last year and we have several juniors that have made an impact the last two seasons. I expect the same this season. We have signed two incoming freshmen as well as a junior college transfer. I expect these young men to help us get better this year. We want to improve on that and get some team wins this season.” 


Women’s Golf Season Preview

McKENZIE, Tenn. - The Bethel University Women’s Golf team will be youthful with just three returners but add the talent of those players along with some heralded newcomers, things look bright for the upcoming Lady Wildcat season. 

The Lady Cats made significant strides last year and hope to continue that momentum despite the youth. 

Two five- year seniors in Juliana Campbell and Meghan Smith graduated and sophomore Mary Beth Hayes transferred back home to Mobile, Alabama. 

The Lady Wildcats improved nearly 30 spots in the national rankings last year and will be leaning on the play of returnees, Shelsea Vera, a 2nd team MSC All-Conference player and Hope Homar a sophomore who appeared in every match last year. Samantha McCaslin will be the final returner. 

Newcomers include Tessa Myers from Hendersonville Beech High School, an all -district and region performer with extensive summer tour tournament play. Albane Le Helloco, a top 100 player from France along with Durbin Chacon, currently the #4 ranked player from Venezuela and Sasha Guinsbourg a JUCO transfer from Barton CC in Kansas round out the squad. 

Coach Larry Joe Smith commented, “Although optimistic and excited about the direction we are heading, I know coming together as a unit and establishing experience will take some time. We look forward to working with our ladies and watching them progress as individuals and a team.”