Miranda Smith, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
Berry spring sports are finishing out their regular seasons and are approaching soon coming to post-season. The playoffs and conference tournaments are the focus for teams as they round up their regular seasons. Some teams are ahead in their conference ranking and some are playoff bound with high aspirations for their conference tournament.
The softball team is ranked second in the conference as they recently have defeated conference teams from Millsaps College, Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South. The team played against Wesleyan University on Tuesday. In preparation for the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tournament, senior Katlin Seger said that how the team’s mentality is to not look too far ahead and to focus on one game at a time. She explained how the team needs to be consistent offensively in order to stay in the top spots. Seger went on to say that the team is peaking at the right time of the season, which is now, and right before the conference tournament.
Seger shared her feelings as post-season arrives in a couple of weeks.
“I’m very excited to go into post-season; it’s always the best time of the year,” Seger said. “I understand any game can be my last game, and I know I have to put everything that I have on the field. I need to know that I gave everything I have to the team and what we need to do to continue through the post season. We take it one game at a time; we can’t win a season in a day.”
The Berry golf team shined at its meets Tuesday. The men’s team traveled to Memphis, Tenn., to face off at the Rhodes Spring Classic and the women’s team traveled to Bessemer, Ala., to compete at the Birmingham-Southern College Southern Shootout.
The women’s team tied for first place with Methodist University but finished as the runner-up by virtue of a tiebreaker. The team was led by freshman Chloe Wegienka, who finished fourth and jumped 14 spots on the second day. Junior Jorie Hodapp and senior Karley Hammond both finished inside the top 10 and sophomore Loren Kim finished in 13th place. The team is ranked no. 15 in the WGCA poll and no. 16 according to Golfstat. The team placed ahead of conference teams no. 5 Rhodes College, no. 17 Oglethorpe University, no. 23 Sewanee and no. 28 BSC.
The men’s team shot a NCAA DIII era program record 19 under, leading them to win the top spot. Freshman Wesley Heston took first individually, where he shot 10 under. Freshman Preston DeSantis followed behind Heston in second place with eight under.
Senior Henry Jones tied for fifth with a five under three-round score. Senior Peter Trask finished in the top 15 to round out the team. The team placed ahead of no. 29 Sewanee, no. 17 Rhodes, BSC, Millsaps and Hendrix. The team is ranked no. 22 in the Golfstat ranking and will head to the SAA tournament in Dickson, Tenn., on April 26-28.
Heston described his mental preparation following the last successful meet, and how the rest of the team plans come out on top at the SAA Tournament.
“I think this win and our play in general gives us a huge boost in confidence,” Hestons said. “We have proof that we can get the job done, and we are very hot coming into conference, which is great. For me, this really boosts my confidence. I had been trying to put together three good rounds all year and I finally did it, which felt really good.”
Track and Field
The Berry Track and Field team recorded several personal records (PR) and new school records at the Berry Field Day Invitational. The team finished seventh out of 21 total colleges and will travel to Conway, Ark., next weekend for the SAA Conference Championships.
For both days, many placed in the top ranks and set new personal records, as the invitational served as both Pack the House and Senior Day. Senior Will Knowlton placed fourth in the men’s 1,500m and the men’s 800m with a seasonal PR and is looking to gain in the rankings as the conference championships get closer. Going into his last post-season and last races, Knowlton is enjoying the time spent and looks positively toward the future.
“The conference championship is always the pinnacle race for myself and others when looking ahead at the season,” Knowlton said. “That’s where the athletes race their guts out and leave everything on the track. My goal is to not only place in the top three, in the 1,500m at conference, but also run under four minutes. I am very excited for our guy steam and I know they will perform well.”
Senior CJ Stone tied for first in the men’s 200m with a new lifetime PR of 21.80 seconds, and shared his outlook on the season. Stone is preparing by pushing his teammates and himself to the limits he knows the team can achieve, and by getting stronger and faster everyday.
The tennis team finishes out its regular season this Friday against Oglethorpe and looks to round out its recent success on the court. The team is coming off of a 9-0 win against conference team Hendrix College and is looking ahead to post-season with optimism.Freshman Allison Ivey explained what the win against Hendrix meant to the team after coming off of conference losses to Sewanee, Centre and Rhodes.
“Our team definitely needed the confidence boost of our win over Hendrix this past weekend, and I think that everyone’s spirits are a little higher now in preparation for Oglethorpe,” Ivey said. “The team has worked very hard this season, and we have all been working to improve certain aspects of our game. All of our team has supported each other tremendously this season, and we hope that all support will keep factoring into our successes.”
Junior Kathryn Barker shared the team’s accountability in order to stay motivated and keep focused on the improvements that need to be made.
Barker said that adjusting the pairs and little adjustments are key to coming out strong against Oglethorpe.
The men’s lacrosse team begins the SAA Tournament quarterfinals this Saturday against Hendrix at home and look to keep the recent success of the season. The team has won the last three of its conference games and has also had outstanding individual performances.
Senior Justin Westbrook earned his second straight SAA Player of the Week Honor and leads the SAA with 68 points, also setting a single-season program record. Senior Chris Berchock became the SAA’s All-Time leading goal scorer in the game against Oglethorpe. Westbrook described the team’s mental game going into Saturday’s matchup.
“Everyone knows that we can be successful when as we play as a team,” Westbrook said. “As far as our recent success goes, we have been playing as a team and really playing to our strengths. Our mentality right now is that if we play our game, then it will be really tough to beat us. We know what we are capable of doing, but it is all about executing our game plan and limiting mistakes.”