Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame


Sarah Thompson ('02) was inducted into the Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame at its Nov. 15 banquet. Sarah, who is currently in her second year studying at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary while also living and serving with the Mennonite Voluntary Service unit in Elkhart, Ind., invited banquet attendees to use their gifts to make a difference in their communities.

After inviting attendees (many former athletes) to stand and stretch (their hamstrings), Sarah, who was the last honoree to be presented, thanked her family, coaches, and teamates like other honorees had, but included not only her high school coaches, but those who helped her as a young child and whom were attending at her invitation. Her passion of helping people less fortunate than herself and for working at cultural and racial integration was evident as she shared, among other things, how her VS household holds a weekly community supper in a community that is 1/3 anglo, 1/3 hispanic, and 1/3 African-American and how that brings people together who don't normally associate with each other. And she invited others to join her in making their community a better place.

At the conclusion of Thompson's acceptance comments, and partly in reference to words from one of Sarah's college professors on Sarah being named one of the top 10 women to watch in Glamour magazine, Hall of Fame moderator Phyllis Tubbs suggested we couldn't have had a more appropriate ending to our evening and that someone should make president-elect Barak Obama aware of Sarah as a potential cabinet member!

Thompson (center) with two of her former Bruins coaches: Joy Hess (tennis) and Bryan Kehr (soccer)Thompson (center) with two of her former Bruins coaches: Joy Hess (tennis) and Bryan Kehr (soccer)At Bethany Thompson was named Bethany's outstanding senior athlete in 2002 and earned 13 varsity letters in four sports: 4 each in soccer and tennis, 3 in basketball, and two in cross country. She earned Indiana Soccer Coaches Association all district honors as a junior and senior as Bethany won back-to-back sectional championships (2000 and 2001). She is second in career scoring at Bethany with 161 points (60 goals and 41 assists). As a junior and senior she ran on the cross country team and became the first girl from Bethany to qualify beyond sectional competition: semistate in 2000 and regional in 2001. In tennis she played no. 2 singles as a senior.

Thompson attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., where she was a three-year starter on the women's soccer team, earned a division II MVP honor, and was a finalist for Georgia's female athlete-of-the-year and Rhodes Scholar (2005). Off the field she selected as one of the top ten senior women by Glamour Magazine. In 2007 she was a Fulbright Scholar working as a teaching assistant and helping coach youth in Rosario, Argentina. While there she also played on a club team that won the national championship!

In describing Sarah, former Bethany athletic director Dan Bodiker says, "In every sport she always played hard: she was loved by teammates and ‘hated' by opponents."

Sarah is the seventh Bruin to be inducted into the Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame. Others include Linda "Pert" (Miller) Shetler ('68), Myron Bontreger ('87), Scott Bodiker ('88), Eric Risser ('88), Jill (Troyer) Miller ('89), and Dan Bodiker (coach/AD 1964-2007).