Graduating athletes take skills from Hesston to the next level

by John Ruth – Horizon Sports Editor

The 2015-2016 Hesston College school year is coming to a close. It’s a bittersweet moment for many graduating students, saying good bye to friends while at the same time, looking forward to moving on to their next stage of life. Some students are putting their learnings to use and getting a job, while others are transferring to continue their college experience. For some, this may mean continuing their sport at the junior level. 

That’s a question Sophomore Jenna Von Bargen is still contemplating. Von Bargen, a soccer player, is transferring to McPherson College because so far, she says, “It’s the best opportunity I’ve had.” She has thoughts of continuing to play soccer there, but hasn’t made an official athletic plans yet. 

McPherson offers some practical advantages.

“McPherson could benefit me by keeping me in shape and providing financial aid to keep me in school,” she said.

Looking back, Von Bargen says her two years at Hesston opened doors, helping her improve individual soccer skills and seeing her potential as an athlete. It’s given her valuable insight. 

“Hesston given me a greater appreciation for soccer because it helps to see where its taking me.”

Along with building skills, Von Bargen says her passion for soccer has grown, which she says is a result of team bonding. 

“The environment and all the friends I’ve made has impacted me,” she said. “Being involved in community here, we have a real sense of bonding among athletes and that’s been so great!”

Sophomore Cody Halverson will take his shooting talents to Oklahoma next year. Photo by Larry Bartel, Hesston College Marketing and Communication
Sophomore Cody Halverson will take his shooting talents to Oklahoma next year. Photo by Larry Bartel, Hesston College Marketing and Communication

Another graduating athlete is basketball player and sharp-shooter, sophomore Cody Halverson. Halverson, who coach Dustin Galyon calls “one of the best shooters Hesston has ever seen,” is taking his shooting stroke to NorthWestern University in Oklahoma.  Northwestern recruited him for his ability to routinely come off screens and consistently knock down shots. It’s an even better deal because he’s a getting full ride to become a Knight.

But Halverson says he wouldn’t have gotten there without Hesston.

“Hesston has give me the opportunity to play in college,” he said. “If I would have gone to a larger school I probably wouldn’t have played as much. I’ve been able to play the point guard position more and get better at that. I’ve been able to not just stand in a corner and wait for the ball. Now I can create for myself.”

 

An athlete heading to Missouri Valley is south paw pitcher sophomore Conner Gillihan. Gillihan was recruited through “Field Level,” (an online recruiting system).  

Gillian was recruited to Hesston by Athletic Director and former head baseball coach Rob Ramseyer, who Gillihan calls “the reason I’m here.” He says his time at Hesston has been all about developing skills, which he learned on the spot.

“I have learned more here about playing collegiate baseball than if I had gone to a four-year,” he said. “At a four-year I probably would have sat [out] my freshman year and some of my sophomore year. When I came here I had to play immediately and didn’t have any time to get better.”

Hesston’s also given him some perspective.

“Playing here has shown me there is a wide range of talent and I fit right in,” he said. “I’m not the best and I’m not the worst; there is always work to be done.”

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