Meet athletes Jacob Parent, Angela Dabu, Abbie Swenson and James Woelfel.
By Maya Spinler
Parent is a sophomore sprinter on the men’s track and field team. Though a multi-sport athlete in high school, he only runs track at Bethel. He is currently ranked second in the MIAC for men’s 200m and 400m dash. Parent credits coach Andrew Rock for bringing him to Bethel and going above and beyond to make him feel welcomed and wanted. His teammates and the athletics staff have inspired him to pursue God and give Him the glory for every win and loss.
“The toughest thing about being an athlete is consistency and not being content with your successes,” Parent said. “Mindset is everything, and once you are in control of it and always striving to accomplish something more, you will become a better athlete and person overall.”
Senior social work major Angela Dabu did not choose softball. Rather, at five years old, her friend begged her mom to sign her up so that they could play together. Despite Dabu’s protests and fears, that push changed her forever. Now at Bethel playing utility, she has made so many memories with her team – in particular, a spring break trip freshman year that involved getting to know her teammates better in their own homes.
“I have constantly been inspired by many coaches and teammates throughout my life and I’m so thankful,” Dabu said.
One of the many reasons Dabu picked Bethel was because of how faith plays an important role in athletics as well as the classroom.
“I pray that I can be a light for Jesus in how I treat my teammates, opponents, coaches and umpires.”
Sprinter and hurdler Abbie Swenson has been an athlete since she could walk. While running has always been a passion of hers, she has only been competing for four years. Running has given her an opportunity to be welcomed into the Bethel community after transferring in last spring. Upon coming to Bethel, she discovered that fellow teammate Jessie Smith had joined her on the same mission trip a couple of years earlier. After uncovering their connection, the two enjoyed sharing memories and even relearned the dances from that trip. Now, they are inseparable best friends. Nevertheless, being an athlete is not always fun and games.
“[Balancing] academics and social life and not having enough time to do everything [can be difficult],” Swenson said.
Junior catcher James Woelfel has been playing baseball for 15 years, a trait that seemingly runs in his family. Watching his older brother play and going to Twins games with his family ignited an insatiable enthusiasm for the sport.
“This sparked a passion in me that I have yet to experience with anything else in my life,” Woelfel said.
When looking for a school that checked all his athletic boxes, Bethel fit the bill.
“I wanted to play for a program with a great coaching staff and a successful history. I didn’t care so much if I played, but I wanted to be a part of a successful team,” Woelfel said.
Woelfel, like Swenson, says the toughest thing about being an athlete is the balancing act of sports, school and life. But baseball is not an opportunity he takes for granted. While in high school, a close friend he grew up playing baseball with died in a car crash.
“Just like me, baseball was his passion. Every time I get fed up with baseball or want to take a day off, I think about him and the fact that he never had the opportunity to play college baseball,” Woelfel said. “He helps me to remember how blessed I am to be where I’m at.”
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