Tag Archives: NCAA

Haley Brown Celebrates in the PoolAngel Mason

MAKING A SPLASH: Angel Mason, at right, takes over a Berry athletic program that has had much to celebrate in recent years. Highlights in 2018-19 include a return trip to the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving National Championships for senior Haley Brown (seen above in this photo by student Leigh Hadaway).

A former college athlete with 14 years of experience as a coach, administrator and NCAA Division III advocate has been chosen to lead Berry’s high-performing athletic department. Angel Mason will officially begin her service as director of athletics June 1, concluding a successful national search.

“Building on her experience as a player and coach, Angel has established a strong national reputation through administrative positions at top colleges across the country and in her leadership work with the NCAA,” President Steve Briggs said. “She is well-poised to help our program flourish.”

Mason currently serves as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at Pomona-Pitzer in California. At Berry, she will provide leadership for a program that has enjoyed tremendous success in the Southern Athletic Association and NCAA Division III. In 2017-18, Viking athletes won eight SAA team titles and qualified for nationals in 10 different sports. This academic year has produced additional SAA team championships in volleyball and football, six individual SAA crowns in swimming, seven conference wins in track and field, and national qualifiers in five sports (with more possible).

“I am excited to join a team of professionals that are focused on serving students first,” Mason said. “There is a bright future ahead for Vikings athletics, and I am honored to have the opportunity to grow with the athletic and greater campus community.”

Click here to learn more about Berry’s new director of athletics.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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Debbie Heida PortraitMerriam-Webster defines “pillar” as “a supporting, integral or upstanding member or part,” as in “a pillar of society.” Such words aptly describe Debbie Heida, who this fall was named a “Pillar of the Profession” by the National Association of Student Affairs Administrators in recognition of her work on behalf of students and higher education.

Heida has been a member of Berry’s leadership team for 14 years, beginning with her appointment as dean of students and vice president of student affairs in 2004. This year, she left that role to serve as chief of staff to President Steve Briggs.

“In her 14 years at Berry, Debbie has managed a weighty portfolio of responsibilities and still, to her credit, she is always among the first to run toward a new problem or reach out to offer help when a colleague has a need,” Briggs said. “She is creative and resourceful and therefore one of the people I turn to first for a fresh perspective. She was instrumental in leading the planning effort when Berry joined Division III of the NCAA, and she worked determinedly for several years to bring the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program to Berry and ensure a successful transition.”

Assisting in the nomination process was former SGA President Paton Roden (15C), now second-year experience coordinator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I found my passion at Berry through my student involvement and leadership positions on campus and followed this into my current career in higher education,” Roden said. “I did all of this with the help of Debbie Heida. She is very deserving of this award based on her commitment and involvement.”

Photo by student Matthew McConnell

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This buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior Myles Moore lifted the Berry men’s basketball team to its sixth win in seven games to start the 2018-19 season. Commentary on the shot is provided by student Noah Syverson.

Another remarkable fall for Berry athletics is now giving way to a promising winter thanks to a blistering start in men’s basketball under first-year coach Mitch Cole. In opening the season 6-1 – Berry’s best start in men’s basketball since joining NCAA Division III – Cole’s Vikings are building on the momentum created by Southern Athletic Association championships and national tournament appearances in volleyball and football, winning seasons in men’s and women’s soccer, and a pair of national qualifiers in women’s cross country.

Berry volleyball once again had the home fans roaring, finishing with a sparkling 26-4 record highlighted by a second straight sweep of the SAA regular-season and tournament crowns. Leading the way was junior Carson VanCampen, who made history as the first Berry volleyball player to be named a first-team All-American. Emily Hancock and Laura Beier joined her as honorable-mention All-Americans, while Caitlyn Moriarty (14G) was regional Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Berry players celebrate the courage of teammate Justus Edwards.

Berry players celebrate the courage of injured teammate Justus Edwards. Photo by student Leigh Hadaway.

In football, Berry continued its dominance of the SAA by winning its third straight conference championship. The Vikings finished 10-2 overall, including a perfect 6-0 record at Valhalla. The team now sports a 21-1 record in four seasons on the Williams Field turf, including two national playoff wins. Players this year drew strength from the courage shown by sophomore Justus Edwards after suffering a severe injury in September. Read more.

Women’s cross country also enjoyed a banner fall, advancing two runners to nationals. Junior Abby Carroll qualified for the second consecutive year, while Meredith Herman made her first appearance. Their subsequent placements at nationals were the best by Berry in the NCAA era. They also extended their team’s streak of sending at least one runner to nationals in each of the last three seasons.

Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics.

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SAA trophies won by Berry teams in 2017-18

Berry softball seniors

From left, softball seniors Kassie Howard, Brittany Tuttle, Kylie Aiken and Elisabeth Federici show off the eight SAA championship trophies (four regular season, four tournament) won in their four years at Berry.

Eight – that’s the number of conference championships won by Berry teams in 2017-18, a new high for the program in NCAA Division III. The number is even more impressive when you add the 10 individual titles won by student-athletes in women’s golf, swimming and diving, and track and field. It has been a spectacular year by any measure, with national qualifiers in 10 different sports: football, volleyball, cross country, men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor), softball, women’s golf, and equestrian.

It would take a year’s worth of Alumni Accents to list all of the highlights produced by Berry student-athletes since our last issue, but we do want to give a virtual “high-five” to the softball team, which won its first NCAA regional championship en route to a sparkling 39-6 finish.

Kudos are also due women’s golf, which earned a top-10 finish in its NCAA national tournament debut, and equestrian, which posted five individual top-10 finishes at western nationals. In addition, Alainna Chretien (18C) capped a stellar track and field career by qualifying for NCAA outdoor nationals – a first for Berry – shattering the school record at 1,500 meters in the process.

Not to be forgotten is the SAA regular-season championship won by Berry’s baseball team, another first in the NCAA era. The Vikings came tantalizingly close to a national tournament bid of their own before closing the season with a 29-13 record.

Visit berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics, including the many individual accolades claimed by Berry student-athletes this spring.

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Viking ChargeSingle-game tickets for the 2016 football season are now available online for alumni and friends wishing to join in the fun as coach Tony Kunczewski’s Vikings – ranked No. 21 in NCAA Division III by Lindy’s magazine – work to build on their 7-3 finish in 2015.

Tickets may be purchased for $6 apiece (including $1 online surcharge) at www.BerryGameDay.com and picked up at the will-call window on game day; no tickets will be mailed. Online purchases must be made by noon Wednesday of the week preceding each game. If you miss this cutoff or prefer to purchase your tickets in person, visit the Krannert Center Information Desk between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, or stop by the stadium ticket booth on game day. Interest is high, so get your tickets early!

This year’s home schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 3
Maryville College, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24
Sewanee: University of the South, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 8
University of Chicago, Noon

Saturday, Oct. 29
Millsaps College, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 5
Birmingham-Southern College, 3 p.m.

Last year’s inaugural season at Valhalla was a winner for the team and the fans, producing a 4-1 record on the Williams Field turf and average attendance of more than 3,000 per game (ranking Berry in the top 12 percent nationally for NCAA Division III).

Note to campus community: Free tickets for students and faculty/staff are available at the Krannert Center Information Desk the week preceding each home game. Students are eligible for one free ticket per game; faculty/staff receive two. Up to two additional tickets may be purchased at the time of pickup for $5 apiece.

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Equestrian Champions

Berry riders (from left) AnnaLee Cooley, Emily Lambert, Elizabeth Poczobut, Sarah Cooper and Allie Robertson.

The Berry equestrian team is closing in on “dynasty” status after claiming its second national championship in a row – and third in five years – at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Western Nationals. Berry also competed nationally in softball and men’s golf this spring, with the softball team finishing with the best record in its history, 39-8, and hosting an NCAA Division III regional for the first time.

This year’s equestrian title was shared with St. Andrews University after the two teams finished the four-day competition tied with 19 total points. Five other teams finished within four points of the leaders, including Ohio State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Oregon State University.

“Winning the national championship for the third time in five years is such an honor,” said Berry coach Margaret Knight. “I’m so proud of my team this year and how hard everyone worked to defend the title. We are truly blessed!”

Four riders scored points for Berry in the team competition: sophomore AnnaLee Cooley (first, Advanced Western Horsemanship), freshman Sarah Cooper (second, Novice Western Horsemanship), junior Elizabeth Poczobut (second, Open Western Horsemanship) and freshman Allie Robertson (fifth, Intermediate Western Horsemanship). Poczobut also competed in Open Reining, finishing eighth, while freshman Emily Lambert matched that placement in Beginner Western Horsemanship.

Individually, Poczobut claimed a No. 5 national finish in the High Point Western Rider competition, while Berry’s lone hunt-seat competitor – senior Mallory Hammer – was ninth in Open Equitation on the Flat.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics.

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Tennis Center Site PlanA vision years in the making came into sharp focus with the June groundbreaking for the Rome Tennis Center of Georgia at Berry College. Upon completion in 2016, the 51-court facility will become a key economic development tool for the Rome community and a source of fresh opportunities for Berry students.

Funded by a voter-approved SPLOST (local sales tax for a special purpose), the center represents a public-private partnership involving Berry, the City of Rome, the Coosa Valley Tennis Association, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau. It will be located northeast of Mount Berry Square Mall on 35 acres of Berry-donated property orphaned by the 2012 completion of the Armuchee Connector linking Martha Berry Highway and Veterans Memorial Parkway (Georgia Loop 1).

Tennis Center Club HouseDesigned to tap into Rome’s strong tennis tradition, the center will have room for up to 60 regulation courts – more than sufficient to host large tournaments. Notable features include six NCAA regulation courts and three main-event courts overlooked by a 3,846-square-foot lodge-like clubhouse (pictured at left). Twelve of the regular courts will be painted with “quick-start” lines to introduce the sport to children. There’s also space for an indoor facility, a possible future addition.

In the summer issue of Berry magazine, President Steve Briggs discussed the college’s strategic emphasis on partnerships that support the surrounding community while providing students with practical firsthand experiences. Read his column.

Site plan and club house rendering courtesy of Cevian Design Lab

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Rachel QuillinBiochemistry major Rachel Quillin (pictured) is one of only a handful of students nationwide to be awarded a Lambda Sigma National Honor Society scholarship in 2013-14. Quillin, the recipient of Lambda Sigma’s Emily Taylor Scholarship, has distinguished herself in the classroom – making the dean’s list in each of her four semesters at Berry – and through significant participation in the Work Experience Program. She also established a literacy program at the Open Door Children’s Home. The aspiring health care provider was nominated for the scholarship after serving as president of Berry’s Lambda Sigma chapter in 2012-13.

Also earning acclaim this summer were the seven students responsible for The Jews of Florence multimedia reporting project, which placed third nationally in the Newspaper Project Award competition. The series – consisting of more than a dozen stories across multiple media – was produced during a summer study-abroad experience in 2012. Other institutions honored in the competition included Northwestern, Iowa State, James Madison and the University of Texas at Austin. Read more.

Not to be outdone, Berry math majors scored in the 97th percentile nationwide on the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test, a comprehensive undergraduate assessment designed to measure the critical knowledge and understanding obtained by students in a major field of study. Read more.

UPDATE: In our last issue, we shared news that Berry tennis player Kaleigh Carpenter’s inspirational story had been featured in the summer issue of the NCAA’s Champion magazine. More recently, the sophomore standout – born missing part of her left arm – has been interviewed by ESPNW and Fox Sports Radio.

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Viking Fusion Feature: Kaleigh Carpenter

The inspiring story of Berry student-athlete Kaleigh Carpenter was featured in the summer issue of the NCAA’s Champion magazine. The rising sophomore, who was born missing most of her left arm, has proven herself to be one tough competitor on the tennis court, earning honorable mention All-Conference recognition as a freshman. Playing with a prosthetic device that helps her serve, Kaleigh finished 16-5 in singles and 15-6 in doubles while helping the Lady Vikings claim runner-up honors in the inaugural Southern Athletic Association tournament.

Read more about Kaleigh in this spring feature written by Berry Sports Information Director Bob Lowe. See her in action by watching the accompanying Viking Fusion video produced by student Blake Childers.

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Berry Softball

Lisa Jellum's photo of senior Lacey Herring celebrating a 2011 home run appears on the cover of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association 2013 calendar.

It’s been a great fall for Berry’s intercollegiate softball team – and the new season hasn’t even started yet! Already, the Lady Vikings have earned a No. 22 national ranking for academic success in NCAA Division III from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. In addition, nine team members have been named NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes. As if that’s not enough, the accompanying photo of Berry players celebrating a home run will grace the cover of the NFCA’s 2013 calendar.

The team will be looking to build on its best-ever 25-11 finish when the season begins in February. In the meantime, coach Cori Thiermann and her players have been busy giving back to the community.

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It didn’t take Berry student-athletes long to make themselves at home in the new Southern Athletic Association, winning championships in women’s volleyball and men’s soccer this fall.

The volleyball team posted a 27-5 overall record en route to regular-season and tournament crowns in the SAA. The Lady Vikings hosted the inaugural conference tournament in the Cage Center, sweeping three straight matches to win the postseason title. Click the video to see the tournament clincher and hear interviews with the victorious players and coach.

The men’s soccer team was similarly successful, finishing second in the regular season before winning the conference tournament in thrilling fashion, edging top-seeded Centre College 5-4 on penalty kicks after the two teams finished regulation play and overtime tied 2-2. The Vikings’ 14-3-2 final record included a 7-0 start that produced the program’s first national ranking in Division III.

Berry is currently completing its final year as a probationary member of Division III. Next fall, student-athletes in all sports will be eligible to compete for NCAA national championships.

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Berry College Football HelmetTony Kunczewski is looking for a few good players – and he needs your help to find them! Berry’s first-ever football coach is seeking alumni input as he builds his roster for the 2013 inaugural season. Kunczewski (or Coach K, as he’s known on campus) has been hard at work since the spring recruiting student-athletes destined for success in the academic-focused world of NCAA Division III. If there’s a talented football player in your area who would benefit from a Berry education, please contact Coach K via phone (706-378-2920) or email.

This is our team, Berry alumni. Let’s help fill these helmets!

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