Bound for grad school, senior collects another accolade off the field
Sports | Tyler Schmidt for The Clarion
Melhorn, who was All-MIAC first and second team while at Bethel, will attend Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he will assume a graduate assistant position with a strength and conditioning concentration for his master's work. | Photo for The Clarion by Drea Chalmers
There is no denying that senior J.D. Mehlhorn has had almost unparalleled success on the football field in his four years in a Bethel uniform, but it’s his accomplishments off the field that have distinguished him as a stellar and well-rounded athlete, student and humanitarian. Most recently, Mehlhorn received the Bob Stein Scholar-Athlete Award.
One of the most prestigious honors given to a collegiate football player in the state of Minnesota, the Bob Stein Award is presented by the Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation. The award recognizes one student-athlete each year who has made an exceptional impact on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Similar to his acceptance of his other honors, Mehlhorn received the news with the utmost humility.
“Hearing about some of the previous recipients and what they’ve done and are continuing to do definitely made receiving this award feel pretty special,” Mehlhorn said.
As an athlete, he was named to the All-MIAC first and second teams, received D3Football.com All-Region Honors and was named to the 2013 preseason All-American Team in his four-year career. His individual efforts have helped Bethel achieve a 41-8 record over the last four years and hold a spot in the Division III Top 25 poll every month since October 2010.
Perhaps most notably, Mehlhorn was selected as one of 22 national finalists for the AllState AFCA Good Works Team. As a recipient of college football’s top community service award, Mehlhorn was flown to the Sugar Bowl in Louisiana and honored at halftime.
As a student and as a citizen off the field, Mehlhorn has committed himself to a life of excellence and high achievement. A double major in biokinetics and exercise science, the Lakeville, Minn. native has maintained a 3.96 GPA and has made the dean’s list every semester since his freshman year. This excellence in the classroom has helped Mehlhorn earn a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship that he will use to continue his education.
Upon graduating this spring, Mehlhorn will attend graduate school at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he will work in the exercise science department and assume a position as a graduate assistant with a strength and conditioning concentration for his master’s work. Mehlhorn said this avenue is one that will help him pursue his ambition to work with athletes as a strength and conditioning coach.
When it comes to his passions and aspirations for life after graduation, Mehlhorn praises the work and character of the coaches he has had over the years.
“I’ve had so many coaches over the years influence me in such a positive way,” Mehlhorn said. “I want to take so much of the good stuff that they’ve given me and pour it back into the lives of other kids and athletes.”
Mehlhorn’s time at Bethel is nearing an end, and there is some degree of uncertainty regarding his future. However, if his track record is any indication, Mehlhorn is on his way to do great things.