ROME, Ga. — Following the 2018 Berry Athletics Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening, the department of athletics has officially released the award winners for the 2017-18 season.
The full list of honorees can be found below.
Women's Newcomer of the Year - Bayleigh Masterson (Softball)
A Louisville, Kentucky, native Bayleigh has hit .398 during regular season play for the Vikings this year, leading the Berry College softball team to their sixth straight SAA Regular Season Title, as well as their fourth straight SAA Tournament Championship Title. She was also named the SAA Newcomer of the Year last week. Masterson has competed in 40 contests for Berry this season, finishing the year ranked in the top five in three different SAA offensive categories. Bayleigh added 17 multi-hit games for Berry this season as well, leading the Vikings to a 36-4 overall record on the year.
Men's Newcomer of the Year - Elijah Hirsh (Men's Basketball)
In his first season competing on the Berry men’s basketball team, Elijah Hirsh finished the season averaging 15.3 points per game, as well as 8.6 rebounds per game, as he led the Vikings to the program’s first ever SAA Tournament Title. A Woodstock, Georgia, native, Elijah posted 14 double-doubles on the year, earning a spot on the All-SAA Second Team. He led the team with a 50-percent shooting percentage, while setting a single-season record in Berry’s NCAA Division III era with 54 blocks. Hirsh and the men’s basketball team also made history appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Women's Inspiration Award - Haley Brown (Women's Swimming)
Returning to the pool for her senior year, Haley Brown led the Berry College women’s swim and dive team to a season of firsts. Haley was an All-Conference selection, and helped Berry to a third place finish at the SAA Championships. Brown then took her talents to Indianapolis for the NCAA Championships, where she became the first All-American in program history for the women’s team. Overcoming injuries, Brown shaved nearly three full seconds off her 100-yard freestyle time from her freshman year, to make Berry swimming history.
Men's Inspiration Award - Mamadou Soumahoro (Football)
The first of his family to go to college, Mamadou Soumahoro didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school. He was recruited by Berry after a standout senior season that quickly landed him a spot on the All-Conference team. Mamadou arrived at Berry in the Fall of 2014, quickly finding a spot on the field headlined by both his defensive skills and unprecedented humility. Four years later, Soumahoro will leave Berry as one of the most decorated student-athletes in the school’s history, leaving a hard-to-fill hole on the football team when he graduates. He is a two-time SAA Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a four-time All-SAA team member. He recorded 40 games on the field for Berry over the span of his four-year career as a Viking, earning All-American honors twice and was named the D3football.com National Defensive Player of the Year following his standout senior season. Behind Mamadou, the Berry College football program boasted their best season to date following the 2017 campaign, as the Vikings won 11 straight contests to earn the SAA Title, as well as a trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Service Award - Berry Men's Lacrosse Team
Community service is central to the Berry men’s lacrosse team’s core principles, and the Vikings have shown this for the third straight year with their annual Faceoff for a Cause Event. Held each fall, the Faceoff for a Cause event includes a day of lacrosse contests at Valhalla Stadium, hosted by the Berry College men’s lacrosse program and including teams from all NCAA divisions. The teams come together with one goal in mind, to raise money for charity each year. This year alone the event raised more than $10,000 for Samaritan’s Purse and their hurricane relief efforts. In the past three years combined, the event has raised over $27,000 for charity.
Women's "Be Berry" Award - Elizabeth Ragland (Volleyball)
A four-year team member and libero for the Berry volleyball team, Elizabeth Ragland finished the year averaging 5.22 digs per set for the Vikings, earning a spot on the All-SAA Second Team. The Birmingham, Alabama, native was also named to the SAA Academic Honor Roll for the third time in her career, leading the volleyball program to an SAA Title, as well as a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. Elizabeth does not just lead her team on the court. She is also a standout student, majoring in early childhood education. She also helps coach the Tsunami Rome Volleyball club, is a Presidential Ambassador, an active member of campus outreach, and a member of the athletic department’s leadership team. She serves the Berry community on and off the court as well, acting as a mentor at the West Central Mentor Program and earning an SAA All-Sportsmanship Team honor in 2015.
Men's "Be Berry" Award - Caleb Ford (Men's Soccer)
Recording time in 54 games for the Vikings, Caleb Ford finishes his Berry career as a standout senior defender for the men’s soccer team, as well as a standout student, worker, and community member. An exercise science major, Ford finishes his career as a two-time All-SAA team member, as well as a three-time SAA Academic Honor Roll selection after overcoming an injury during his junior year.
Women's Scholar Athlete Award - Brittany Tuttle (Softball)
Brittany Tuttle boasts a 3.92 GPA in exercise science with a minor in psychology, but she has also been a valuable member of the Berry softball program for the past four years. She is a three-time NFCA Scholar All-American, as well as a four-time All-SAA First Team member. Brittany has competed in 153 games for the Vikings over the course of her four-year career, hitting .427 this season, while leading the conference with 42 stolen bases. While at Berry, Brittany has also contributed to the softball program’s last four SAA regular season and tournament Championship titles.
Men's Scholar Athlete Award - McKinley Gannon (Men's Lacrosse)
Maintaining a 3.83 GPA while pursuing a Pre-Med major is a feat in and of itself, but doing so while competing as a student-athlete as well is even more impressive. An Ooltewah, Tennessee, native McKinley Gannon does just that, playing in 47 games over his three years of competition for the men’s lacrosse program, while posting a team-leading GPA. This season alone, McKinley has scored 34 goals and passed 21 assists for Berry, ranking in the conference top-five in both categories for the Vikings. A two-time SAA Academic Honor Roll member, McKinley led the men’s lacrosse program to a 12-4 overall record this season, as Berry finished regular season play ranked second in the conference.
Male Student Athlete of the Year - Jacob Delk (Baseball)
Jacob Delk has been an integral part of the baseball program since he arrived to campus in 2014. Over the course of his four-year career, Jacob has earned SAA All-Conference honors twice, been named to the SAA Academic Honor Roll three times and competed in 116 games for the Vikings. He is currently having the best season of his career for Berry this year, as he led the baseball team to their first ever regular season SAA Championship title a few weeks ago. Jacob also tied the Berry single-season hits record this year, with a chance to break that record this weekend. He excels on the field, in the classroom and in his student work roles, as he graduates with a degree in management.
Mika Robinson Female Student Athlete of the Year - Kassie Howard (Softball)
Kassie Howard will leave Berry as the most decorated pitcher in the softball program’s history. Her accolades are almost too numerous to list, but during her All-American career, she has earned two SAA Player of the Year titles, two SAA Pitcher of the Year titles, has been named to the All-SAA team four times, and is a two-time scholar All-American, just to name a few. She finishes her career holding program records in nearly every pitching category and has a career pitching record of 86-8. Over her career, Kassie has struck out 707 batters and has helped the Vikings to four straight SAA Tournament titles.