Tag Archives: track and field

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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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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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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Berry Track and Field Team

Full competition in track and field will return to the Berry campus for the first time in decades March 5 when the Vikings welcome teams from Sewanee, Piedmont, Meredith, Millsaps, Oglethorpe, Union (Ky.), Reinhardt and Clark Atlanta for the Ice-Breaker Duals.

Limited to distance running only since the 1980s, Berry’s track and field program has been expanded this year to include competition in sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. This was made possible by the 2015 completion of the Valhalla stadium complex including Clark Track and the Dickey Field throws area.

Berry Coach Luke SyversonThe newly expanded team is headed by coach Luke Syverson, who came to Berry in 2015 after five years as an assistant track and field coach at Lipscomb University, an NCAA Division I institution in Nashville. Assisting him in the various event groups are Paul Deaton (91C), Berry’s longtime cross country and distance running coach, Neal West, Ossie Buchannon, Zack Smith and Shannon Riley.

“One of the greatest parts of coaching is seeing growth take place in all areas of a student-athlete’s life, not just athletic performance,” Syverson expressed. “To have the opportunity not only to do that but also to see and affect growth in an entire program is even more fulfilling.”

Already, Syverson’s student-athletes have been making their presence felt at various indoor meets across the Southeast. The team’s March 5 campus debut marks the official beginning of the outdoor season. A second home meet, Berry Field Day, will be held April 9, at which time the college will celebrate the official dedication of Clark Track and Dickey Field. That meet will feature a full slate of intercollegiate competition as well as special intra-dormitory and alumni races.

Visit www.berryvikings.com for more coverage.

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Berry’s first season in Valhalla – the new on-campus stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field – has been memorable, to say the least, with a perfect 4-0 record at home propelling the Viking football team to first place in the Southern Athletic Association.

The tone was set in the inaugural game against LaGrange College – a 16-13 overtime thriller won by Berry on Mitchell Blanchard’s 38-yard field goal in overtime. That kick capped an impressive comeback by the Vikings, who forced overtime with a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute of play. Afterward, many in the standing-room only crowd of 4,500 joined players in singing the Alma Mater before fireworks brought a fitting end to the day.

Before kickoff, hundreds gathered for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and the first-ever “Viking Walk” of players through the Valhalla gate. Trustee Steve Cage (74C), whose lead gift through the LifeReady Campaign initiated fundraising for the venue, addressed the crowd.

“The students are the heart of this project,” he said. “Martha Berry provided us all a wonderful educational opportunity. We have great faculty and terrific leadership. Valhalla will give students great experiences, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Since the opener, Berry has defeated Rhodes College, Washington University of St. Louis and Hendrix College on the Williams Field turf. The final home game of the regular season will be played Saturday, Nov. 14, against Centre College. Purchase tickets online at BerryGameDay.com.

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Valhalla
It’s been a busy summer for the workers responsible for bringing Berry’s new Valhalla stadium to life. With construction entering its final stages, thoughts are turning to the Sept. 12 grand-opening football game against LaGrange College. Alumni tickets are now available for those who want to share in the exhilaration as the Vikings rush onto OUR field for the first time.

Five games will be played at Valhalla on Williams Field this fall, including the Sept. 12 opener and an Oct. 3 Mountain Day rematch with Washington University of St. Louis. Last year’s Mountain Day game at Barron Stadium in Rome proved unforgettable, producing Berry’s first-ever varsity win (in overtime, no less) and the GEICO National Play of the Year.

Berry FootballHere’s the complete home schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 12
LaGrange College, 6 p.m. (ribbon cutting at 4 p.m.)

Saturday, Sept. 19
Rhodes College, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3, Mountain Day
Washington University of St. Louis, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17
Hendrix College, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14
Centre College, 1 p.m.

Alumni wishing to purchase single-game tickets can do so in person for $5 each at the Krannert Center information desk the week preceding each home game or at the stadium gate on game day (pending availability). Those wishing to purchase single-game tickets in advance of game week can do so at BerryGameDay.com. (Note: Online purchases include a $1 per-ticket surcharge.) Season tickets good for all five games are available for $30 online (including the surcharge). All seating is general admission.

Free tickets for students, faculty and staff will be available at the information desk in Krannert Center the week preceding each home game. Faculty and staff members are eligible for two free tickets per game. Students receive one. More details will be available soon.

If you can’t wait for the opener, click here to view updated pictures of Valhalla, which includes Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field. Thanks to all who have made gifts through Berry’s LifeReady Campaign supporting this new home for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track and field. Fundraising is now more than 90 percent complete and will continue until the goal is reached.

We hope you will join us Sept. 12 as we celebrate the stadium’s completion – and cheer our Vikings to victory!

Stadium photo by student Lauren Neumann

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Pole VaultA championship legacy will be reborn in spring 2016 with the resumption of full participation in track and field for Berry student-athletes. Competition in throws, jumps and sprints will be added to the sport, which has been limited to distance running at Berry since the 1980s.

Ready to SoarThe return of the sport that produced Berry’s first conference championship in 1961 will coincide with the completion of Valhalla stadium, Clark Track and Dickey Field. Funded through LifeReady: The Berry College Campaign for Opportunity, the stadium and related facilities will provide a first-class on-campus home for track and field, lacrosse and football.

A national search is now underway for a track and field head coach. Assistance will be provided by Paul Deaton (91C), Berry’s longtime cross country coach, and two members of the football staff, Ossie Buchannon and Zach Smith. Read more.

Vintage photos courtesy of Cabin Log yearbook

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The rhythmic beat of the Viking Drumline provided the perfect soundtrack as students, faculty, staff, board members, project donors and special guests celebrated the Oct. 17 groundbreaking for Valhalla, including Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field.

“What a great day it is for Berry College,” said President Steve Briggs, addressing the large crowd gathered at the construction site just south of the Cage Center. “It’s an important milestone in our ongoing effort to enhance this amazing campus and to create places of opportunity for students, for our friends and for our community. And like the Cage Center behind us, Valhalla will provide a major venue for recreation, excitement, achievement, participation and just plain fun.”

Taking up shovels were Steve Cage (74C), the Berry trustee whose 2012 lead gift initiated fundraising for Valhalla; Bob (62H) and Kay Williams, whose generosity paved the way for the naming of the stadium field; alumni trustees Bert Clark (82C) and Roger Lusby (79C), who led the successful Clark Track Challenge, and Bert’s wife, Cathy; Dr. Ouida Dickey (50C, FFS), who has joined daughters Jennifer (77A, 80C) and Angela (75A, 79C) in making a challenge gift to name the track and field throws area for the late Garland M. Dickey (42C); Steve and Michelle Tart, football parents and project supporters; Randy Berry and Barry Griswell (71C), trustees and LifeReady Campaign co-chairs, and Barry’s wife Michele (70C), all major donors to the project; and Board of Trustees Chair Karen Holley Horrell (74C), another major contributor to the fundraising effort to build the stadium.

Steve CageIn his remarks, Cage (pictured) noted that Valhalla is “a collaboration of hard work, trust and leadership with the Board of Trustees, Dr. Briggs, faculty and staff, students and donors.” He offered special praise to the Berry president, dedicating the new stadium in his honor, and thanked all those who had made gifts to the project. Groundbreaking coverage.

Christened  “a place for us” by SGA President Paton Roden, Valhalla will provide a new home for Berry’s football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams when completed in 2015. The stadium and adjacent Dickey Field will also make possible the spring 2016 resumption of full competition in men’s and women’s track and field, in addition to hosting intramural competitions and other large outdoor events. Berry’s service entrance will be closed until construction is completed.

Fundraising for Valhalla is now entering its final phase. Gifts to the project can be made online. If you’d like to double your giving power, make your commitment through the Dickey Field Challenge.

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Garland M. Dickey (42C) is a name that resonates across decades of Berry history. As the college’s first full-time athletic director, Dickey helped lead the rebirth of intercollegiate athletics at Berry in the years after World War II, forging the college’s first conference affiliation, initiating the contest that resulted in Berry’s “Viking” nickname, and at one time or another coaching every men’s sport on campus, including track and field. More than three decades after his death, he is poised to once again play a key role in the establishment of full competition in track and field – which has been limited to distance running since the 1980s – this time through the generosity of  wife Ouida (50C, FFS) and daughters Jennifer (77A, 80C) and Angela (75A, 79C). Their commitment of $100,000 has made possible the Dickey Field Challenge, which will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for all future gifts to the track and field throws area adjacent to Berry’s new Valhalla stadium. As a result, your giving power is effectively doubled! There’s no better way to honor the memory of a pioneer in Berry athletics.

Take the Dickey Field Challenge today by visiting our online giving page and selecting “Valhalla stadium – Dickey Field” in the drop-down menu under Campaign Priorities. Pledges can be fulfilled over a period of up to five years. Contact David Clark at dclark@berry.edu or 706-236-1708 for more information.

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New Site for Valhalla Stadium

Tentative rendering for new Valhalla stadium site. Cage Center is top center.

Berry’s eagles were back in the news in late spring thanks to a decision by college officials to preserve the natural buffer around the famous nest by changing the site for the new Valhalla stadium.

Already shifted once as part of an eagle buffering plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Valhalla will be constructed south of the original site in the field bordered by Maple Drive (the service entrance), Martha Berry Highway and Memory Lane.

The relocation announcement was met with widespread support on Berry’s social media channels, especially among nature enthusiasts who have helped to make the college’s Eagle Cam an international sensation.

“The eagles are mesmerizing, better than any reality television show,” said President Steve Briggs. “And the truth is we are entranced by them as well.”

Fundraising for Valhalla – which will provide a home for intercollegiate football, lacrosse, and track and field in addition to intramural sports and other campus events – is more than 80 percent complete. Construction is expected to begin later this year. As part of the project, Maple Drive will be widened and a grassy field for track-and-field throwing events will be added.

The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2015 football season. Home games this fall will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome.

Support Valhalla.

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Mountain Goat 12K

Clockwise from top, Kevin Brodrick (99C), Andy Christie (99C), James Tigue (98C), Joe Mareno (99C), Paul Deaton (91C) and Brian Brodrick (97C) mug for the camera with the Mountain Goat 12K mascot.

Cross country and track alumni resurrected a proud tradition with the Jan. 25 running of the “new” Mountain Goat 12K on the slopes of Berry’s Lavender Mountain. A total of 91 participants braved the frigid weather and challenging course, many of them former student-athletes. Chris Mayer (11C) was first across the finish line in 44 minutes, 28 seconds, while Jennifer Stocks (12C) led all women in 52:11. Full results.

The origins of the Mountain Goat 12K date back to a series of formal and informal trail races started by then-Berry coach Jim Dugger in the early 1980s. Current coach Paul Deaton (91C) got his introduction to Berry when he competed in the 1985 race. The name, he said, comes from the terrain: “Only a mountain goat could run up there.”

Those early races were held in the heat of August and often featured “recycled” awards such as old hats and t-shirts.

“Someone recently mentioned a bowling ball they received,” Dugger said. “And another took home an oversized cheerleading trophy.”

The 8-mile Mountain Goat run eventually evolved into a shorter 5-mile race before moving off campus entirely in the mid-1990s, but the hilly route has remained a weekly staple for Berry distance runners ever since.

No bowling balls were handed out at this year’s race, but there was still fun to be had (as evidenced by the accompanying photo). After the run, some participants gathered at Ford Dining Hall for the first of what Deaton hopes will be an annual reunion of distance running alumni. Attendees were updated on Berry’s cross country and track seasons and heard about future plans for track and field and the associated Valhalla stadium project.

More photos.

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