Tag Archives: national championship

Equestrian Commencement

COMMENCEMENT ROUNDUP: Chief of Staff Debbie Heida, center, presides over a special graduation ceremony for equestrian seniors Allie Robertson, left, and Sarah Cooper. The equestrian team was in Syracuse, N.Y., the weekend of spring commencement competing in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships.

Allie Robertson

Allie Robertson is all smiles after winning her second national championship as a member of Berry’s equestrian team. Photo courtesy of EQ Media.

Most students process into commencement to the strains of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, but it’s not usually played on an iPhone. Then again, graduation was anything but typical for Allie Robertson and Sarah Cooper.

As members of Berry’s varsity equestrian team, Robertson and Cooper found themselves in Syracuse, N.Y., the first weekend in May competing in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships.

Robertson walked with her Berry classmates before flying to New York for two events the following day. She ultimately won an individual national championship in Novice Western Horsemanship, her second national title at Berry, to pace a sixth-place team finish.

“It was kind of a whirlwind weekend,” she said. “I didn’t really have time to process that I had just graduated college and was going to nationals.”

Cooper’s competition schedule prevented her from walking with Robertson and the rest of her class, so Chief of Staff Debbie Heida brought graduation to her, flying to Syracuse once Berry’s commencement concluded to preside over a miniature ceremony for both equestrian seniors.

“It’s a privilege to go and be part of their nationals experience,” Heida said, adding that it means a lot to her to be able to “celebrate with someone the end of a four-year academic career.”

At the ceremony, which was held in a conference room at the event center, the students processed into the room as they would at a typical graduation.

“We had caps and gowns on top and boots and spurs on the bottom half, which was so perfect for us,” Cooper said. “It really made up for the sadness of missing the real graduation. It was the perfect way to wrap up nationals and my Berry College career.”

By student writer Cassie LaJeunesse

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Then-President John Bertrand (center) and other members of the campus community celebrate Berry's first national championship.

Then-President John Bertrand (center) and other members of the campus community celebrate Berry’s first national championship.

Jason Sweatt (88C) is on a roll, winning our trivia challenge for the second issue in a row by correctly noting that Berry’s 1976 national championship – the first in school history came in women’s basketball. Those special alumnae made history not just for their school but for their state, becoming the first four-year women’s program to claim a national basketball title. Read more.

For this month’s question, we take inspiration from the upcoming anniversary of the 1996 Centennial Olympics. Surely, someone out there can stop Jason from making it three-for-three by tweeting the name (with hashtag #berrycollegetrivia) of the alumna and (now) longtime staff member who bore the famous flame through campus on its way to the Opening Ceremonies in Atlanta. (Hint: Her picture can be found on Page 6 of the new issue of Berry magazine.)

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Brin Enterkin in AfricaBrin Enterkin (12C) has been making news for her service activities since high school, when her efforts to raise funds to establish a school in rural Cambodia landed her on the cover of Fayette Woman magazine (and later in Berry magazine). As she completes her distinguished career as a Berry student, it’s only fitting that we spotlight her one more time as recipient of the $40,000 William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose Grant to support The SOUP (Sponsorship of Orphans in Uganda Project), a nonprofit she started while at Berry. More about Brin.

Junior Aaron Ostrander also earned praise this spring as one of a select group of students nationwide to be awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for his work in physics and mathematics.

On the athletic front, sophomore Kristin Brennan made her mark by claiming top honors individually in the Novice Equitation on the Flat event at the 2012 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national championships. In team competition, Berry’s western riders logged another top-five finish. Not be be outdone, senior lacrosse player Jenny Miller finished as one of the nation’s top scorers and earned a spot in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III North-South Senior All-Star Game.

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A pioneering group of alumnae will return home Feb. 11 for a special ceremony honoring the incredible achievements of the 1976 women’s basketball team, the first in Berry history to win a national championship. Until the Clayton State University Lady Lakers won last year’s NCAA Division II national tournament, these women stood alone as the only women’s basketball team from a four-year institution in Georgia to claim a national crown. Team members will be honored at a morning brunch attended by current Lady Vikings and again at halftime of Saturday afternoon’s home game with LaGrange College.

Alumni can attend the 2 p.m. game free of charge by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations at 706-236-2256 or alumni@berry.edu by Feb. 10. Those who do not RSVP will be admitted to the game for a small fee.

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