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Playing for the People around Her

Two-sport athlete Cristina Masten shares how sports have shaped her unforgettable experience.

I’m majoring in biology (pre-med) and play two sports—hockey and softball.

I never considered going to Bethel, but when I toured here, I fell in love with the campus immediately. While walking around, I felt different compared to other colleges. The sense of community at Bethel is palpable and once I spoke with the hockey and softball coaches I was convinced the same was true of the teams. Additionally, it was important for me to have a challenging academic experience and Bethel’s Biology department proved then, and continues to prove now, that they equip students to be successful in their career goals.

Before attending Bethel I could see that the women’s hockey team was a group of people that worked very hard to achieve their goals and did it the right way. I wanted to continue to embrace this trend, and I quickly noticed that the coaches instilled it in all their teaching and tutoring—making it easy to follow.

As a result of learning together and persevering throughout each season, our squad became unimaginably close. Teammates have become friends, as the bond of competing together brought us even closer. I never dreamed we’d become so close, but through playing together and putting in so much effort to achieve our goals we drew closer and closer. Having this culture within our team has been priceless because during competition, you realize that you are not competing for yourself, but the others on the ice. This fact alone has been one of the key reasons that our group of student athletes has been so successful, not because of our athleticism, but because of our passion and humility in playing for the good of our teammates.

What drew us even closer together was perhaps my most memorable experience at Bethel—a trip to Italy and Switzerland last year. Traveling overseas to play hockey was something I never dreamed of happening before coming to school here. But being able to experience this with your best friends, while playing the sport you love, made this experience not only unforgettable, but also highly impactful on relationships. We were able to compete with and against foreign teams and be able to understand their culture because of hockey. Perhaps the neatest thing was that hockey is hockey, no matter where you are. But we could use that as a tool to interact with, understand, and minister to our opponents.

Our focus is to win each game we’re playing, but we’re not looking at accolades or records along the way. We certainly want to be at nationals, but consistently getting better is even more important.

I was fortunate to earn All-American accolades after the 2013 season and broke Bethel’s all-time scoring record earlier this year. Additionally, our team is on track to have their best season ever in program history. But it is not the records and stats that are what matter most to me. I will not remember those when college is over. Instead, it’ll be the experiences that I’ve shared with my teammates, who have become my closest friends, which stick out the most.

Being an active part of the women’s hockey and softball team has taught me how discipline and hard work is not only necessary in sports, but in life. I’ve discovered the importance of consistency and perseverance. The community on campus had had the same impact, as I have developed life long friends and been challenged in my faith. Chapel and class have made a large influence on my personal faith, as I had never really connected the Bible to my life before coming here.

I’ve always tried to make an impact whenever I am on the ice. I want to set an example of hard work. That hasn’t changed in my four years here. However, I had great role models to look up to in my first couple years and I try to be the same for younger teammates today. My hope is that they see me as someone that is reliable and approachable in all circumstances.

After Bethel, I hope to attend medical school with the ultimate goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. This will allow me to combine my passion for science and athletics long-term. My grandpa, who has played a major impact on my life, always wanted to be in this field and never was. I’ve always been a science person. Moreover, the biology department here at Bethel has challenged me to acquire knowledge necessary to get into the medical field. I’ve developed relationships with many professors and staff here, who have helped point me in the right direction so that I may achieve my goals.

More info about Cristina

Biology (pre-med)

College of Arts & Sciences

Fergus Falls, MN

Reading, water sports, hockey, obsessing over my niece, visiting family in Hawaii, teaching my dog lake tricks