LINDSBORG — In the history of Bethany College and perhaps the collegiate state of Kansas, no school has dominated one sport to the degree the Bethany tennis program has.
As Bethany and the Lindsborg community celebrate homecoming and Svensk Hyllningsfest from Friday through Sunday, a special reunion will be held for those who have represented the Swedes tennis program.
According to school officials, the reunion was spearheaded by Bryce Young, Doug Talbott, Richard Strange and Warren Olson, who recently retired as Bethany director of advancement.
Young, a noted sports psychologist who now resides in Hilton Head, S.C., is well-known in Kansas tennis circles not only as a former four-time KCAC champion with the Swedes, but as the program's coach for 11 seasons.
With the coaching reigns now in the hands of Logan Palenske, one of the major goals at this gathering will complete fundraising for the Emory Lindquist Tennis and Legacy Center.
This planned facility, named in honor of former college president Lindquist, is to replace the dilapidated E.T. Anderson Memorial Courts on campus.
“It’s a great honor to be the next tennis coach at Bethany College,” said Palenske, who took over the program in August. “To follow in the footsteps of those before me, the tradition — winning 64 conference championships — is unbelievable. It’s quite humbling to be a part of something like Bethany tennis.”
When the former Swede tennis players gather for their reunion, celebration plans include an alumni-varsity doubles tournament at the Dahlsten Tennis Center located at Smoky Valley High School.
Also a social gathering at the Ol Stuga is planned for Friday evening and the participants will be part of the Hyllningsfest Parade on Saturday morning. A luncheon will be held in Lindquist Hall at noon following the parade.
The proposed Lindquist Tennis and Legacy Center will provide six new courts on the existing tennis facility, including a permanent structure adjoining the courts that would provide restrooms, drinking fountains and a display for plaques and photographs from the program's storied past. Plans also include an observation deck for spectator seating.
“I’m really looking forward to the reunion,” Palenske said. “I’ve talked to several of the alumni on the phone — past players — and to kind of match a voice with a face will be pretty special. It’s so special because I know how much the tennis program and its tradition means to them.
“The new courts will play a pivotal part for the future of the program, especially in terms of recruiting."
Bethany tennis alums can obtain more information about the reunion weekend from Jane Asche in the alumni office by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 785-227-3389, ext. 8270.