Tag Archives: NCAA Division III

Berry Equestrian ChampionsBerry’s equestrian program is once again tops in the nation, winning the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s western nationals for the second time in five years with help from individual championships by Amanda Petersen (intermediate horsemanship) and Mariel Wrench (novice horsemanship). The team championship was the seventh overall for Berry student-athletes.

Other spring highlights included a No. 4 national finish in men’s golf and a first-ever NCAA Division III national tournament appearance in women’s softball. Both teams won Southern Athletic Association tournament championships, with women’s softball setting a new benchmark for wins with 34 after placing second in the NCAA’s Atlanta Regional.

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

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Tommy McClosky at Nationals

Photo of Berry All-American Tommy McCloskey by John Bell of Touch A Life Photography.

Honorable mention All-American Tommy McCloskey paced a No. 8 national finish for men’s golf in Berry’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Golf Championships. Women’s tennis also made history this spring – capping a sparkling 18-3 season with a first-round NCAA Division III national tournament victory over Methodist University – while the equestrian team closed out another successful campaign with a fourth-place finish at western nationals.

Proving equally impressive in the classroom, 98 Berry student-athletes made the Southern Athletic Association’s spring honor roll. In addition, women’s lacrosse player Kristan Dziurzynski (14C) was honored as a third-team Capital One Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

 

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Berry Swimming

Senior Graydon McCrite celebrates with his teammates. Image courtesy of Wade Photography.

Senior Graydon McCrite will make history later this month as the first Berry student-athlete to compete in the NCAA Division III National Swimming and Diving Championships. He punched his ticket to Indianapolis for the March 19-22 event with a winning time of 20.63 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle at the Southern Athletic Association meet in Birmingham. His performance bested the NCAA qualifying standard, set a new conference record and ranked him No. 18 nationally.

The Kennesaw, Ga., native was one of five Berry swimmers to earn first-team All-SAA honors with championship performances at the conference meet. Also topping the podium were sophomore Cameron Grant, junior Conor Monaghan, junior Johnathon Purdy and, on the women’s side, senior Rachel Sandoval. All four clocked times worthy of national consideration but fell just short of an invitation.

McCrite joins senior cross country runner Ryan James and the women’s volleyball team as national qualifiers in Berry’s first year of active membership in NCAA Division III. Berry student-athletes are also shining in the classroom, with 83 making the SAA’s fall sports honor roll.

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Berry Women's Volleyball Team

A successful fall semester for Berry’s student-athletes culminated with a second consecutive Southern Athletic Association championship in women’s volleyball and the college’s first-ever NCAA Division III national tournament appearance. With honorable-mention All-Americans Stephanie Quinn and Emily Stromberg leading the charge, Mika Robinson’s Vikings posted a 26-8 record highlighted by a sparkling 16-1 mark against SAA competition and a first-round victory over Washington & Lee in the national tournament.

Also qualifying for nationals this fall was senior running standout Ryan James, a top-five finisher at the conference and regional levels who placed 56th overall among 275 competitors in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.

Other notable achievements included a 16-4 finish in women’s soccer (a 12-win improvement over 2012), senior men’s soccer player Josh Hughes’ selection as Berry’s first NCAA Division III Academic All-American, and an undefeated fall for the hunt seat and western equestrian teams.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for ongoing coverage of Berry’s winter sports and more athletic news from fall, including numerous individual accolades and the women’s softball team’s participation in the local Challenger Sports Program for children and adults with special needs.

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Stephanie QuinnVolleyball player Stephanie Quinn made history this fall as the first Berry student-athlete to win National Player of the Week honors in NCAA Division III. A year after claiming MVP recognition in the inaugural Southern Athletic Association tournament, the senior setter and her high-flying teammates are once again on the championship trail, soaring to the top of the standings with an 11-1 conference record (18-5 overall). If you haven’t had the opportunity to cheer the Vikings in person, join us this Saturday, Oct. 26, as we celebrate 10 years of Berry volleyball with matches against Hendrix and Piedmont. The action gets under way at 1 p.m.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for complete coverage of all Berry athletics. Recent highlights include a national ranking in men’s golf, regional rankings in women’s soccer and men’s cross country, and notable academic recognition in softball. (Photo courtesy of Berry Sports Information.)

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A crowd more than 6,700 strong overflowed Rome’s Barron Stadium on Sept. 7 for the first intercollegiate football game in Berry history. With the new Viking Drumline providing the sound track, students, faculty/staff, alumni and friends displayed their Berry pride with a blizzard of blue-and-white shakers, horned Viking helmets and yes, even the occasional cow bell. Many fans lingered afterward to join the players and coaches in the singing of the Alma Mater. Though the game was won by visiting Maryville College, the day belonged to Berry. As the Rome News-Tribune praised, “That Berry football was so warmly welcomed should come as no surprise and not just because of the college’s considerable reputation and unusual history. It is part of the growing one-for-all and all-for-one attitude that is at the core of a local economic and social success that is becoming more visible, and more remarkable, all the time.” More coverage.

A week later, the team broke into the win column, with Chris Lilly tallying Berry’s first score.

Prior to the season, the Viking football players gained fans on campus and off with a flash mob at the opening reception for Berry’s first-year class. As the thebiglead.com later noted, “It was silly, awkward and fairly endearing. What an introduction for the team to both the school and the Internet. This year, we are all Berry Vikings.”

Berry will play three more games in Rome this season: Oct. 12 and 26 at Darlington School and Nov. 9 at Barron Stadium.  Click here to purchase alumni tickets.

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New Faces in Athletics

Curtis Gilbert, left, and Dr. Tom Hart

A coach with a championship pedigree has taken the reins of Berry’s men’s lacrosse program. Curtis Gilbert previously distinguished himself at New England College in Henniker, N.H., where he posted a 69-48 record in seven seasons, culminating with a 2012 North Atlantic Conference championship and NCAA Division III Men’s Lacrosse Tournament appearance.

The Berry team he inherits is coming off a program-best 13-5 finish highlighted by a Southern Athletic Association regular-season championship. After the season, the Vikings were lauded by laxpower.com as the nation’s third most-improved team among the 208 institutions fielding NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse programs. More on Gilbert.

Earlier this summer, Berry welcomed Dr. Tom Hart as director of intercollegiate athletics. He brings a wealth of experience after serving for 19 years as athletic director at Webster University in St. Louis. Under Hart’s direction, the Webster program garnered 52 conference championships and 49 NCAA playoff appearances. Webster student-athletes also shined academically, graduating at a rate 10 percent higher than that of the overall student body. More on Hart.

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Berry Football ScheduleThe countdown to Berry’s inaugural football game begins in earnest with this week’s arrival of more than 100 student-athletes for preseason practice. As the Vikings prepare for their Sept. 7 season opener, your alumni staff is making plans to help you enjoy the historic game.

An online ordering system has been established for alumni wishing to purchase their general admission tickets in advance of the game, which will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome. The price is $5 per ticket. Purchases may be picked up in the Berry Alumni Center (Aug. 28 to Sept. 6) or at a special alumni will-call on the stadium grounds beginning two hours prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff. Visit our Football FAQ for other game-day details, and don’t forget to join us for the alumni tailgate party beginning at 4 p.m. at Schroeder’s on Broad Street.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The online order form is for alumni only. Tickets for students, faculty, staff and the general public will be available at the Krannert Center information desk beginning Wednesday, Aug. 28. Click here for more details.

As you finalize your plans for the first game, coaches and players will be hard at work preparing for Maryville College of Tennessee. Many of the Berry players hail from Georgia and nearby states, but some have come from as far away as Washington, Illinois and New Jersey to be part of the new program. Head coach Tony Kunczewski is particularly proud of his team’s strong academic profile, which compares favorably with that of other incoming students.

“It was a team effort to get this first class,” said Kunczewski, crediting the many students, faculty and staff who assisted with the recruiting process. “I like to think our players epitomize Berry.”

Looking ahead to a schedule that includes six games against Southern Athletic Association foes, Kunczewski emphasized, “We don’t talk about winning. If that’s all that it’s about, then I think you’re missing the point. Our goal is to get a little bit better each week. I believe we are set up for success here both on and off the field. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the job.”

As fundraising efforts continue for an on-campus stadium – christened Valhalla by lead donor Steve Cage (74C) – the Vikings will split their 2013 home games between Barron Stadium and nearby Darlington School. Those interested in supporting the Valhalla project have the option of making a gift online (select Valhalla or Clark Track when prompted for a gift designation) or emailing David Clark (85c) for more details.

Complete coverage of all Berry sports is available at www.berryvikings.com.

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Jeff RogersA busy spring for Berry’s student-athletes ended with two individual conference championships in men’s track, regular-season titles in men’s lacrosse and women’s softball, and a sixth-place national finish in hunt seat equestrian competition. Also making headlines was men’s basketball, which welcomed a new coach in Jeff Rogers (pictured), who comes to Berry after posting a four-year record of 77-34 at Kentucky’s Thomas More College.

Standouts for Berry included junior Ryan James, who raced to victory in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Southern Athletic Association track and field championships. Also excelling were student-athletes competing in men’s lacrosse and women’s softball; both teams set new benchmarks for wins, men’s lacrosse with 13 and women’s softball with 29. The 13-5 finish in men’s lacrosse represented the third-best one-year improvement among 208 teams competing in NCAA Division III in 2013. Women’s tennis and men’s golf added a pair of second-place finishes in SAA tournament play. Success by the various teams resulted in numerous individual awards. Click the link for each sport to read more.

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Jim Owen (81C)Last summer, we were proud to report that Jim Owen (81C) had once again reached the top of his profession by leading Oglethorpe University to its second NCAA Division III men’s golf championship in four years. In December, Jim was honored for his accomplishments as the Division III recipient of the Dave Williams Award, presented annually to America’s top college golf coaches.

Jim, a standout on the basketball court while at Berry, has enjoyed tremendous success as Oglethorpe’s men’s golf coach, winning 12 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year awards and 10 SCAC championships in a span of 15 years. The Stormy Petrels have been equally successful at the national level, finishing in the top 12 every year since 2000. This spring, Jim’s Petrels – ranked No. 1 nationally at the end of the fall season – will join Berry in the race for golf supremacy in the newly formed Southern Athletic Association.

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Collin McHugh

Courtesy of WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y.

Former Berry pitching standout Collin McHugh (09c) is one step from the majors after being promoted to the New York Mets’ Class AAA affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y. Collin, who pitched for Berry from 2006-08, earned his promotion after posting a 5-5 record with a 2.41 ERA at Class AA Binghamton, where he was Pitcher of the Year in 2011. In addition to his pitching prowess, Collin is also a social media sensation. His blog, A Day Older, A Day Wiser, has gained mainstream coverage from outlets such as ESPN New York, while his musings on Twitter have attracted more than 1,400 followers.

Also making news this spring is Jim Owen (81C), one of the many Berry alumni enjoying success as collegiate golf coaches. Jim recently reached the pinnacle of his profession – again – by leading Oglethorpe University to the 2012 NCAA Division III men’s golf championship. The title is the second in four years for Jim and the Stormy Petrels; Oglethorpe is only the sixth school to win multiple championships in the 37-year history of the event. Next season, Jim will find himself coaching against his alma mater as Oglethorpe and Berry begin play in the Southern Athletic Association.

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A track record of success in NCAA Division III and a passion for Berry’s distinctive mission helped Tony Kunczewski emerge from a pool of 263 applicants to earn the title of head coach for the college’s first varsity football team. The new program, with Kunczewski at the helm, will begin play in 2013 as a member of the Southern Athletic Association.

“Berry is one of the most beautiful and impressive campuses in the world,” Kunczewski said during the April 16 press conference announcing his selection. “It’s truly a unique place that combines excellent academics with a strong history of success in athletics. The people from the administration on down were so impressive in their desire to promote well-rounded student-athletes in their athletics programs. It was easy to detect that there is something special about the Berry culture.”

Kunczewski (pronounced kun-CHESS-key) has more than a decade of experience as an assistant coach in Division III. Most recently, he served as defensive coordinator and head strength and conditioning coach at LaGrange (Ga.) College, where he helped launch football in 2006. Two years later, in 2008, the Panthers set a record for single-season improvement and made an appearance in the national playoffs.

“[Coach Kunczewski] understands how to build a football program that both wins on the field and contributes to the greater good of the campus,” said Berry President Steve Briggs. “He coaches for life as well as for Saturday afternoon.”

Read story and view press conference.

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