The Goshen College athletic department has continued to expand this semester with the addition of two new administration staff, Mara Beck and Sarah Hart, along with the introduction of the U.S. Highway 20 Cup.
Both Beck and Hart graduated from college this past spring. Beck graduated from Goshen College with a degree in social work, while Hart graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in sports management.
Beck, who ran track all four year at GC and cross-country during her first year before switching to play soccer during her sophomore year, has taken on the position as coordinator of compliance, student service and kinesiology.
Beck joined the athletic staff in the middle of September following a summer traveling to India, Thailand, Vietnam and England. When Beck returned to the states, she worked on campus as a human resources assistant, a role she had experience in as a student assistant.
As a student at GC, Beck was an at-large member of the student senate and a member of GC’s Student Athletic Advisory Council, representing the women’s soccer team. Beck played a vital role in organizing last March’s senate open space regarding student-athletes. The focus of the discussion was to improve the relationship between student-athletes and the rest of the campus. Now as an employee, Beck is a faculty leader of SAAC and believes being a former student is one of the biggest assets she brings to the role.
“I experienced firsthand what it was like to go to school here, practice every day, attend student-athlete events and games,” she said. “I’m in a unique place to use my experience as a former GC student-athlete to positively impact the current student-athletes and the athletic department.”
Beck’s other duties include keeping track of the eligibility for GC student-athletes, keeping track of the NAIA compliance, organizing team transportation and assisting the kinesiology department.
Three weeks after Beck started in the athletic department, Hart joined Goshen as the coordinator of games and facility operations.
Following an eight-month internship in stadium operations at the Iowa Cubs, Hart has been brought in to oversee GC practice schedules, game schedules, event operations, athletic facility management and maintenance, as well as the student worker program.
Although Hart only began working at Goshen in October, she already felt a part of the community during her first visit.
“When I came to campus for the first time to interview, it felt like home.” Hart said. “I feel like I belong here.”
“I have met a lot of amazing people,” she said. “The people I interact with everyday are truly one of the best parts of my day. I have great coworkers who have been so incredibly encouraging to one another. The students are also amazing, they make Goshen College a positive and uplifting place to work. I also love working in the athletic department, because I work with so many different sports that each day is something different.”
Along with the introduction of new staff and new positions within the athletic department is the introduction of a new traveling trophy between Goshen and Bethel. The two colleges, separated by 27 miles, have been meeting on courts and fields since 1959 and have shared a conference affiliation since 1981.
The U.S. Highway 20 Cup will serve solely as an athletic competition. Points are provided to the winning teams in each of the 15 sports.
The teams that have multiple matchups will split the points with every game. For sports like cross country, the points will be determined by the higher ranked team in the Crossroads League.
“Goshen College and Bethel University have a long, storied history,” said Harold Watson, director of athletics. “It will be cool to add a little flavor to the matchups moving forward, with a traveling trophy at the end of each academic year.”
Bethel currently leads in the competition 4-3 with the next opportunity for points on Jan. 18, when both the women and men’s basketball teams have a chance to take half a point with a win.