MITCHELL, S.D. – An era came to an end for the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s golf team on May 18 when senior Dani Bellet ended her four-year career in a tie for 10th place at the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn.
Bellet, who earned All-Tournament honors for finishing in the top 15, earned one final honor to wrap up her career as a Tiger. She earned NAIA All-America First Team honors for the second straight year, it was announced by the NAIA last week. This marks the third consecutive All-American honor for Bellet, who earned honorable mention accolades as a sophomore and a first-team nod as a junior and senior.
Bellet’s latest honor makes her a part of an elite group of Dakota Wesleyan athletes who have earned three All-American honors in her career. She is the seventh athlete in Tiger history to do so, and just the second female. Randi Morgan earned three All-American honors in her career with the DWU women’s basketball team from 2000-04. Brady Wiebe and Alan Morgan (men’s basketball), Justin Portenier (wrestling) and Jamey Sperle and Vladimir Micic (track and field) also earned three All-American nods at DWU.
That is not the only elite list Bellet is a part of. She is also the first and only athlete in Dakota Wesleyan and Great Plains Athletic Conference history to earn four GPAC Player-of-the-Year awards in any sport. Bellet dominated the conference all four years, winning the women’s golfer-of-the-year title in each of her four seasons with the Tigers. She was also named the league’s golfer-of-the-week 21 times in four seasons. She earned NAIA National Women’s Golfer-of-the-Week honors as a senior and is one of just a handful of DWU athletes to earn a national player-of-the-week award.
Bellet experienced a great amount of success on the golf course all four years with the Tigers. She won three individual titles as a freshman, then won 20 of the 29 tournaments Dakota Wesleyan entered her sophomore and junior seasons combined. As a senior, Bellet – a Lead, S.D., native – won 10 individual titles, for an impressive 33 tournament wins throughout her career. She placed in the top 50 in the nation all four years at the national tournament. She took 44th as a freshman and 20th as a sophomore before finishing runner-up by four strokes as a junior at the 2011 tournament.
As well as earning incredible honors on the golf course, Bellet was also a phenomenal student at Dakota Wesleyan. She was named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete as a junior and senior, and had a 3.98 GPA with a major in biochemistry as a senior. She also won the NAIA’s prestigious A.O. Duer Award as a junior. The award is given annually to one junior athlete in any sport based on ability, scholarship, character and citizenship.
Bellet – who won the long drive contest at this year’s national championships with a drive of 260 yards – also graduates with a handful of school records at Dakota Wesleyan. She holds the individual records for 18-hole individual score (69) and 36-hole individual score (146), and was a part of the team that tied the 18-hole team score record in 2009 (311).
Bellet helped the Tigers win four straight GPAC titles and make four consecutive trips to the NAIA national tournament. The Tigers, who have been ranked in the top 25 in the NAIA throughout much of her career, were ranked No. 22 in the coaches’ postseason poll, which was released May 25.