ROME, Ga. — Both the Berry College men's and women's golf and men's and women's track and field programs are set to begin competition in their respective Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Championship events this weekend.
The men’s and women’s track and field SAA Conference Championship will be hosted by the Tigers of Sewanee in Sewanee, Tenn., beginning on Friday, April 20. The men’s and women’s golf SAA Conference Championship will take place in Dickson, Tenn., at the Greystone Golf Course beginning on Friday, April 20 as well.
The Berry men’s golf team will head to the conference tournament after placing in the top-ten four different times this season. Most recently, the Vikings placed 10th overall at the Emory Invitational on April 7-8, finishing ahead of SAA competitors Birmingham-Southern College and Centre College. The Vikings’ women’s golf team will head into postseason competition after placing in the top ten at every competition this season. Berry finished atop the leaderboard twice this year as well, most recently finishing first at the Sewanee Invite on April 8-9, besting three SAA schools with the win.
On the men's side, the Vikings finished second last year at the conference championship and will look for similar success this year. The women's team has a strong opportunity to build upon their fifth place finish last season.
TRACK & FIELD: SEWANEE CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE
Striding into postseason form, the Berry track and field teams head to the SAA Championships riding several strong late season meets. Just last weekend, the Vikings competed at the Mountain Laurel Invite in Sewanee, Tenn., posting several personal records. Prior to the meet, the Vikings also hosted the Berry Field Invitational as well, April 6-7. The third annual invitational saw over 800 track and field athletes compete over the course of the weekend, with Berry competitors taking home several top-ten finishes and PR performances.
"The favorite on paper is Rhodes for both men and women," head coach Luke Syverson said. "It’s truly resting on the backs of their distance runners, especially on the men’s side."
Defending champions for the conference are Birmingham-Southern for the men, and Rhodes for the women. The Vikings are projected to finish 3rd on the men’s side and 4th on the women’s. The Vikings currently have several athletes ranked No. 1 going into meet, with Rachel Bibbey in Discus, Carson Butler in Shot Put, Rory Fleming in the 400H, Tucker Smith in Pole Vault, Abby Carroll in the 10k, and Alainna Chretien in the 800m.
The teams will also be returning with several All-Conference athletes, including Ethan Caldwell and Mitchell Brice in Pole Vault, George Saboura and Alexa Bilsky in Javelin, Rory Fleming in both the 110H and 400H, Will Knowlton in the 800m, Meredith Herman in the Steeplechase, Rachel Bibbey in Discus, Abby Carroll in the 10k, and Alainna Chretien in the 1,500m.
"This meet is what we work for all season, especially as a building program," Syverson said. "Our goal all year was to have both teams finish in top 3 at conference and we are positioned well to accomplish that. Our women’s distance group is the strongest it’s been since I’ve been here, and they are running great right now. On the men’s side, this is the strongest we’ve been overall as well. We are more diversified in where we will earn points and that helps in a meet like this. I’m looking forward to what the sprints and pole vault group can do too. Our whole conference is much stronger than it has been. Winning times and marks from 4 years ago wouldn’t even place in the top 8 in most events this year. It should be a great meet.”