Tag Archives: Southern Athletic Association

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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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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Men's Basketball Team Celebrates Championship

Above: Members of the Berry men’s basketball team celebrate at midcourt after winning the Southern Athletic Association tournament championship. The Vikings became the first No. 8 seed in SAA history to accomplish the feat.

Genesis Leggett Qualifies for Indoor Nationals

Sophomore Genesis Leggett made history in March as Berry’s first NCAA qualifier in track and field. She competed in the weight throw at indoor nationals.

Basketball, equestrian, swimming and diving, track and field, softball, and golf – regardless of the sport, Berry student-athletes can’t get enough of national competition this semester, and more is yet to come!

In the last week alone, Berry has locked up NCAA Division III national tournament invitations – and conference championships – in softball and women’s golf.  The baseball team can join them by winning this weekend’s SAA championship series in the friendly confines of Bowdoin Field. The men’s 4×100 relay team may also get a crack at nationals after blazing to victory at the SAA track and field championships.

Earlier this semester, senior Haley Brown earned honorable mention All-America recognition as one of four national qualifiers from the women’s swimming and diving team. Sophomore Genesis Leggett, meanwhile, became the first Berry track athlete, male or female, to compete nationally in the NCAA era, qualifying for indoor nationals in the weight throw. Not to be outdone, six members of the equestrian team have punched their tickets to nationals in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

Fittingly, all of this success got started with a bit of madness – February Madness, in this case – courtesy of the men’s basketball team. After finishing eighth in the regular season, the Vikings made history with three wins in three days to claim Berry’s first conference championship in men’s basketball since 1992. Read more about their magical run in this oral history by student Noah Syverson.

Follow the action in all sports at www.berryvikings.com.

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Volleyball CelebrationBerry players and fans celebrate the Vikings’ stunning come-from-behind victory over Covenant College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Atlanta Regional. Photo courtesy of Jack Lewis.

Football Celebration

Senior Antonio White Jr. hoists the SAA championship trophy as Berry celebrates a perfect 10-0 regular season. Photo by student photographer Matt McConnell.

Historic success in volleyball and football provided a spectacular climax to fall semester for Berry’s intercollegiate athletics program. Caitlyn Moriarty (14G) and Tony Kunczewski each earned conference and regional Coach-of-the-Year recognition after leading their respective teams to Southern Athletic Association championships and NCAA Division III national playoff appearances.

Powered by the All-American trio of Hannah Kate Thompson, Carson VanCampen and Emily Hancock, the volleyball Vikings finished a perfect 14-0 in conference play – a first in SAA history – dominated the SAA tournament and advanced to an NCAA Division III regional final, another program first. Their final win total (30) represents a new high for Berry volleyball in the NCAA era.

The football team also claimed perfection in conference play, led by two-time All-American and 2017 D3football.com National Defensive Player of the Year Mamadou Soumahoro and many other All-Conference and All-Region performers. The Vikings defeated Huntingdon College in the first round of the national playoffs before a hard-fought loss to Division III power St. Thomas of Minnesota capped an 11-1 finish, the best in Berry history.

The softball Vikings also swept the SAA last spring, winning regular-season and postseason titles, giving Berry three unbeaten conference champions in 2017.

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Mason Kinsey prepares to catch a touchdown pass late into the fourth quarter of Berry's home opener against LaGrange.Mason Kinsey prepares to catch a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of Berry’s home opener against LaGrange. The Vikings won the game 28-14, part of a 14-game winning streak dating back to last October.

Berry volleyball players celebrate their first-ever win over Emory University.

Hannah Billiard (15) and her Berry teammates celebrate during their first-ever win over Emory University.

To say it’s been a splendid fall for Berry’s volleyball and football teams would be something of an understatement. Both have earned national rankings and kindled championship dreams by dominating their peers in the Southern Athletic Association.

The volleyball team made history Oct. 22 as the first SAA program to finish the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record in conference play. Next up is the SAA tournament, to be held Nov. 3-5 in the friendly confines of the Cage Center. A victory in that event will guarantee the Vikings and coach Caitlyn Moriarty (14G) a trip to nationals. SAA tournament website.

The football team has enjoyed similar success, soaring to a best-ever 9-0 start that includes a 7-0 mark in conference play. The Vikings have clinched a share of their second consecutive SAA championship and can win the title outright with a home victory over Trinity (Texas) on Nov. 11. Regardless of the outcome of that game, coach Tony Kunczewski’s team has already assured itself of a first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III national playoffs. Complete coverage.

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Mamadou Soumahoro returns a fumble for a touchdown against the University of Chicago.

Mamadou Soumahoro returns a fumble for a touchdown against the University of Chicago in this photo by Russell Maddrey (17C).

Berry’s 2017 football season is beginning just as last year’s ended, with individual recognition for outstanding achievement. Linebacker Mamadou Soumahoro has been tapped as a Preseason All-American by D3football.com, while another rising senior, Michael Wenclawiak, is among 146 national nominees for the American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team, which honors those who dedicate themselves to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others.

The Vikings, defending Southern Athletic Association champions, begin their fifth season of competition Sept. 2 at Maryville hoping to build on last year’s 9-1 finish. The home schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 9
LaGrange College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 16
Rhodes College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 23
Centre College
6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 14
Hendrix College
2 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 11
Trinity University
2 p.m.

Ticket information: Alumni wishing to purchase $6 single-game tickets online may do so at www.berrygameday.com. Free tickets for students, faculty and staff will be available for pickup 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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Sydney Weaver (17C)

Sydney Weaver (17C)

Genesis Leggett throws the shot put

Freshman Genesis Leggett throws the shot put for Berry during the SAA championships at Valhalla.

Sydney Weaver (17C) made history this spring as the first Berry student-athlete to compete in the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships, finishing seventh overall. The first-team All-American has taken her last swing for Berry, but she’ll continue to serve the program as a graduate assistant.

Weaver’s success was one of many athletic highlights for Berry this spring. Others included a No. 5 national finish and All-America recognition for men’s golfer Ryan Elmore (17C); national equestrian crowns for sophomores Allie Robertson and Emily Lambert; Berry’s first All-American in men’s lacrosse; two conference championships for Southern Athletic Association Women’s Field Athlete of the Year Genesis Leggett; and numerous regional and national honors for Berry’s record-breaking softball team.

Berry facilities were also on display, with Valhalla hosting Georgia High School Association state championships and the SAA track and field championships, the newly-christened Kay Williams Field hosting an NCAA Division III softball regional, and the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College welcoming the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference championships.

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

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Conference championships in football and women’s cross country highlighted another successful fall for Berry’s student-athletes.

The football team posted a best-ever 9-1 record in its fourth season of competition, closing with a five-game winning streak to share the Southern Athletic Association crown with Washington University in St. Louis. Highlights for Berry included road wins over SAA rivals Hendrix and Centre and a perfect 5-0 record at Valhalla. Also notable was a thrilling 22-19 overtime win over Millsaps made possible by a play you simply have to see to believe. Click the video and you’ll know why it was named d3football.com National Play of the Week.

In women’s cross country, senior captain Danielle Patterson paced Berry to first place in the SAA meet and sixth in the NCAA Division III regional (held in the Clara Bowl). Her time of 22:32.30 in the latter race qualified her for NCAA nationals, a first for Berry.

Fittingly, both of Berry’s SAA-winning coaches, Tony Kunczewski and Paul Deaton (91C), earned conference Coach-of-the-Year recognition. Student-athletes in a number of sports also claimed individual honors this fall. Visit www.berryvikings.com for complete coverage.

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The Berry football team is making news on and off the field as it chases a conference championship in only its fourth year of existence. Players in the spotlight include receiver Trey Ciresi, who was featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after helping propel the Vikings to the best start in their history, and fellow senior Chris Lilly, whose one-handed touchdown catch against LaGrange (see video) has been nominated for GEICO National Play of the Year. The team also earned a preseason shout-out from Atlanta NBC affiliate 11 Alive News for having three sets of brothers on the roster.

The Vikings carry a 6-1 overall record into their final three regular-season games. Win all three, and the team has an opportunity to claim its first Southern Athletic Association championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III national playoffs. Two of those games will be played at Valhalla, where Berry is 3-0 this season and 7-1 since the stadium opened in 2015. Visit www.berrygameday.com for schedule and ticket information.

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Audrey Morgan

Audrey Morgan

Todd Brooks

Todd Brooks

The visionary donor who helped spur development of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program and the administrator who has led Berry’s athletic program during a period of tremendous growth have been granted honorary membership in the Berry Alumni Association. Audrey Morgan and Todd Brooks join an impressive list that includes former college presidents, beloved faculty members and other close Berry friends.

Morgan has committed more than $7.5 million to programs and facilities benefiting Berry students, including $1 million in matching funds to encourage support for a new campus theatre. She is a member of the Board of Visitors and a recipient of Berry’s honorary doctorate.

Brooks, meanwhile, has served two stints as athletic director, helping guide Berry’s transition to NCAA Division III and the Southern Athletic Association and assisting in the planning process for the Cage Center and Valhalla.

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Caitlyn JansenWhen Berry’s highly successful volleyball program returns to action this fall, Caitlyn Jansen (14G) will be at the helm. She succeeds Mika Robinson, whose eight-year tenure came to a close when she accepted a similar role at Rollins College in Florida.

Jansen has been a familiar face on the Berry bench for the last four seasons, serving as a graduate assistant in 2012 before being promoted to full-time assistant in 2013. During this time, Berry has posted an impressive 94-36 record while earning two Southern Athletic Association regular-season championships, a pair of SAA tournament crowns and two NCAA Division III national tournament appearances. Last summer, she served as assistant coach under Robinson during an all-star tour of Brazil.

Before coming to Berry, Jansen played and later coached at Christopher Newport University, where she was 2009 USA South Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-American. As an assistant coach in 2011, she helped Christopher Newport advance to the Division III national finals.

“I am extremely excited that Caitlyn has accepted our offer to be our next women’s volleyball coach,” said Berry Athletic Director Todd Brooks. “She had a storied career as a student-athlete at Christopher Newport University and has been an integral part of our volleyball program as our assistant coach. These experiences have prepared her well for this opportunity.”

Read more.

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