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Woman of the Year finalist: Krista Stoltz Bellefeuille

The Northwestern-St. Paul volleyball star fought through a frightening medical anomaly and continued to play

Bellefeuille led her team to three conference championships and made the dean’s list every semester.

Nothing could keep Krista Stoltz Bellefeuille from playing volleyball – not even a tumor.

During her junior year at University of Northwestern-St. Paul, Bellefeuille was diagnosed with a noncancerous growth the size of a 27-week-old baby that had developed in her uterus. But because the tumor was benign, Bellefeuille decided to put surgery on hold.

Krista Stoltz Bellefeuille
University of Northwestern-St. Paul
Volleyball
Division III
Upper Midwest Athletic Conference

Academics
GPA: 3.96
Major: Elementary education
Academic All-America honors
Dean’s list every semester
Elementary education high honors

Athletics
Three-time UMAC conference champion
National DIII leader for active setters for career assists/sets
Northwestern Eagle Award winner
UMAC Player of the Year, 2013

Community Service
Organizations served: Salvation Army, Kids Against Hunger, Feed My Starving Children, Otter Lake Elementary School, among others

Leadership
Two-time team captain
UMAC Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award

“I just felt like it was my duty to the team to keep playing, so I thought I’d get through the season and take care of it afterward,” she said.

Not only did Bellefeuille play through the ailment, she excelled. The setter earned second-team All-America honors en route to leading her team to an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title. That squad was also the only one in school history to advance in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Along the way, she amassed a 3.96 grade point average and finished 14th in Division III history with 11.39 assists per set, surpassing her already-impressive 11.33 average in 2011.

Bellefeuille’s teammates supported her the entire time.

“During the season, they were always helping me out with what I needed,” she said. “They would make sure I was OK and check up on me in my dorm room.”

Bellefeuille also derived strength from her older sister, Heidi, who began her successful battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma the year before.

“She was definitely my mentor and my spiritual rock. She was so strong during her treatment and with all her chemo,” Bellefeuille said. “If she could get through it, I could.”

Family has always been important to the 2014 graduate, who now works as a preschool teacher and junior varsity volleyball coach at New Life Academy, a Christian school in Woodbury, Minnesota. Every Sunday, she and her two siblings gather with their spouses and parents to play games or go to the movies. Not only did every member of the Stoltz clan attend Northwestern-St. Paul, but they all met their spouses there as well. Krista met her husband Nathan Bellefeuille during their freshman year and they got married shortly after graduating last May.

“I’m thankful for my family,” Bellefeuille said. “They’re all my best friends.”