ROME, Ga. — Berry College's Alainna Chretien closed her stellar career as a Vikings runner last week at the NCAA Division III Championships after becoming the first qualifier from the women's squad in program history.
Earning a spot at nationals took shattering the school record in the 1,500m by more than nine seconds at the NCC Gregory Invitational, posting a time of 4:32.90. She entered as the 17th seed and placed one spot above her seeding.
When she arrived at Berry, Chretien's time for the 1,600m was 6:11 or the equivalent of about 5:48 for the 1,500m, head cross country coach Paul Deaton said. Under the training of the Berry coaching staff, she dropped her time to 5:31 as a freshman, finishing 14th at the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Championships in 2015. As a sophomore, she ran a 4:53. As a junior, 4:47. Then, finally, her record-shattering time during her senior year.
"Alainna's four years of Berry cross country and track have been incredible, complete with great success and personal growth," Deaton said. "She leaves a most positive impact on every teammate and coach who shared this experience. She responds to nervous scenarios with great excitement. She also responds to concerns or differences among teammates with compassion that brings peace to every situation. Alainna has been an exemplary Berry College student-athlete."
Chretien graduated with a degree in animal science and will be interning at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut working with beluga whales. Adding this experience with the work she has done in the Berry aquatics center and her summer 2017 internship at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, Deaton noted that Alainna is well on her way to her career goals.