Each year at the Golden Eagle awards, Westmont recognizes the athlete in each sport with the highest GPA. I love attending this event and hearing about remarkable students who give as much in the classroom as they do on the playing field. The students share about their experiences at Westmont, and they testify to all the things that make Westmont distinctive.
All these students are amazing, but I want to share a little about three. Marie Trudell, one of the captains of the volleyball team, was an “unsung hero” her teammates could always rely on. A “lifelong learner with an inquisitive and enthusiastic nature,” she always asks, “What can I do to get better?” When Coach Patty Cook began encouraging athletes not to compartmentalize their faith, Marie wondered how volleyball could help her grow closer to Christ. She started asking lots of questions. “I learned two lessons as a Westmont athlete,” she said. “First, my ministry serving Christ starts now, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Second, as I invested more time into the Westmont volleyball program, anxieties about volleyball slowly slipped away. Volleyball taught self-sacrifice by committing to love and serve each teammate as Christ would. It also trained me to accept losing. I still don’t like it, but Jesus Christ is victorious over all, and that is something a game score can never rival.”
Eric Bateman is the first Monroe Scholar to play Warrior baseball. “He has spent four years showing his teammates and coaches how to face challenges in your life in a God-honoring way,” Coach Rob Ruiz said. “He has matured into a team leader on and off the field, he has maintained a stellar academic career here at Westmont, and he has been an influential leader living out his faith for his teammates.” Noting that his career as a pitcher didn’t develop as he hoped, Eric said, “I’m grateful for the challenge Westmont puts forward to all its student athletes: to compete at a high level in one of the nation’s toughest conferences while maintaining the same standard of academic excellence as the rest of its students. I’m convinced these standards have helped forge our team into what it is now: a group of young men pursuing athletic skills, high academic learning and an abiding faith in Christ.
As a basketball player, Erin Beadle helped the Warriors win two GSAC championships and a national title. Coach Kirsten Moore praised her for demonstrating the characteristics of a champion, adding “And I’m proud of how you’ve learned to be a champion for Christ.” Erin said her time as a Warrior led her to rethink where she placed her identity. “During my first two years, I placed it in basketball: I was a student-athlete and proud of it. But being a student-athlete at Westmont is extremely difficult mentally, physical and emotionally, so placing my identity in basketball was problematic. When things went wrong in basketball, I was crushed. God plainly revealed that he gives me my identity through his work on the cross. I knew Westmont would be a place where big things happened—and it was. But I didn’t know I would gain something far more important than a championship ring: an understanding of my unshakeable identity in Christ.”