ROME, Ga. -- Berry College hosted the inaugural Victor Ice-Breaker Duals on Saturday at Clark Track and Dickey Field. The meet served as the informal opening of both venues, and was the first meet hosted by the revitalized program. The meet featured 12 colleges representing NCAA DII, DIII, and NAIA divisions and included numerous unattached athletes, with close to 600 total participants competing at Valhalla.
"It was fun to open the outdoor season on our home track and to be able to show off the facility," said Vikings' Head Coach Luke Syverson. "Hosting a meet is a lot of work and I had great help from the rest of the coaching staff and student volunteers. I had coaches, fans, and officials telling me all day what a great facility it was. It was also great to hear from our alumni and seniors about what it meant to them to be a part of a home meet on campus."
The Icebreaker meet was unique in that it was scored two different ways; as an invitational with all 12 schools competing against each other; as well as in dual meet format with Berry competing head to head versus both Piedmont College and SAA rival Millsaps College. Overall, the Berry men finished third, behind NCAA DII Shorter and NAIA Reinhardt. BC was also the top scoring DIII school.
On the women's side, Berry finished fourth overall and were the top finishing DIII school in the meet as well. In dual meet scoring, the Berry men and women swept both Piedmont and Millsaps, finishing 2-0 on the day. The Viking men beat Piedmont 75-39, and Millsaps 66-53. The Viking women beat Piedmont 93-19, and Millsaps 86-38.
"I was proud of the way our team competed today," Syverson said. "There is a lot that goes on when hosting a meet, and the host team ends up helping run the meet in between their events. Our team did a great job doing double duty all day. We matched up really well with all of the schools, and even though we are only in our first year of being a full program, we are showing we are already a competitive one. I'm looking forward to building on our early level of success."
In addition to the team success, the Vikings had a number of strong individual performances on the day. The meet started off with sophomore Gino Fabrizio and senior Alyssa Maker taking second and third respectively in the men's and women's Shot Put--and both taking second in the Hammer Throw. Maker's throw in the Hammer set a new outdoor school record for the Vikings. Fabrizio would go on to finish second in the men's Discus, earning three top-two finishes on the day.
The 5000m runners set the tone for the Vikings on the track with sophomore Alainna Chretien taking second with a near two minute PR of 18:41.36. Rachel Dorris and Bethany Terpin rounded out the top eight after placing sixth and seventh. On the men's side, senior Kyle Harris also took second with a PR of 15:25.46. Sam Berendsen and Will Knowlton captured fourth and seventh respectively, both with PR's.
Freshman Alexa Bilsky opened up her outdoor season winning the women's Javelin and breaking the Berry school record with a throw of 38.60m. Junior Eli Sumner continued his string of first place finishes winning the men's Pole Vault at 4.25m. Freshman Reagan Pifer was second in the women's Pole Vault, setting a new Berry school outdoor record in the process. Junior Quincy Watford had a successful day jumping for the Vikings. He took second in the men's High Jump and third in the Long Jump.
The Women's 4x100m relay team of JoCee North, Camille Bryan, Lauren Merical and Amy Ethridge broke a school record set in 1979. Freshman Violet Keys took home runner-up honors in the women's 3000m Steeplechase.
"We had some great individual efforts today and I'm very proud of our team," added Syverson. "Distance runners really set the tone on the track today with their performances in the 5000m. I think we were a little flat in some of the other events in regards to the actual times and marks, but we competed well. I'm very happy with the outcome of the first outdoor meet for us, and look forward to getting back to work after spring break."
The Vikings return to action on March 18 and 19 at Emory University.
Full meet results can be found at ptgrouponline.com