Bethany senior Caroline Cartmel is no stranger to excellence. After finishing her fourth season of varsity soccer this fall, her name hovers near the top of most offensive statistic records in Bethany girls soccer program history. She was also named, along with two of her teammates, for Academic All-State recognition by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association this season.

The combination of success in both academics and athletics is not a coincidence. “Teachers in general at Bethany make sure you thrive both in academics and sports,” said Caroline. “Bethany creates an environment where that balance can be cultivated and learned by students.”

But Bethany coaches and athletes do more than balance athletics and extracurriculars— they also work to develop students as individuals throughout their entire high school experience.

Continuing the legacy

Caroline remembers, “When I was a freshman, the [girls soccer] program was restarting and I wanted to get a sense of where we were coming from.” To do this, she started poring over old school records. “I’d always seen Tara Plank’s name up there at the top, and I was finally like who is this Tara Plank?”

Tara Plank (’02), it turns out, was a highly successful girls soccer player­—much like Caroline now—who happens to hold the program’s scoring record. And after hearing there was a player who might break her record, Tara made it a point to see the team play this season. Through a series of connections, the two ended up meeting for an evening.

“I discovered Caroline is gifted in many areas besides soccer, including music,” said Tara, in reference to Caroline being named a member of the Indiana All-State Orchestra last year.

“We ended up talking for probably an hour and a half about Bethany, soccer, and college,” said Caroline. “She gave me a lot of inspiration for soccer playing ... and how we’re carrying on the legacy today.”

The legacy is one of academic and athletic success, surely, but also of developing individuals like Tara and now Caroline—individuals who were challenged in a way that prepares them for their future.

Said Tara of Caroline, “I have no doubt that whatever she does after high school, she will do it with heart, which is a success in and of itself.”

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Read more about the Great Strides Capital Campaign to improve the student athlete experience and benefit the entire Bethany community here.