| Berea athletes finish Fall with records and recognitions
Record-busting games, all-conference player recognitions, coach of the year awards and more – these are some of the achievements of Berea athletes this past season.
Glimpses from the Fall 2009 season.
The men’s basketball team showed out on Homecoming night and crushed Ohio Mansfield, beating five team records and tying one from 1986 in the meantime. The records include most points scored in a half, 76; most points scored in a single game, 151; most rebounds in a game, 83; most assists in a game, 33; and most field goals in a game, 66.
Finishing off a tough regular season with style, the men’s soccer team advanced to the finals of the KIAC tournament after a victory over Cincinnati Christian.
The Mountaineers traveled to Bluefield, VA to hand the top-ranked Mountain State one of their only two defeats this season. The Mountaineers looked set in the final to avenge their 7-1 loss to Asbury earlier this season. They played strongly until the last six minutes when a penalty shot gave Asbury the winning edge.
The Mountaineers missed the championship 2-1, but got a number of other recognitions for their performance. Senior Luke Miller, defender, and sophomore Ismaila Ceesay, forward, were recognized as All-Conference players.
“I am honored to be recognized, but I would rather have the team be recognized as the best team in the league. I think we are putting the pieces together to work for that recognition next season,” Ceesay said.
Berea men's soccer finished fourth this season, their best performance in at least the last five years.
Miller summed up the team's journey in the tournament, “We had periods of let-downs, but for the tournament everyone did their part. There was no quitting on the field. We had heart. Everyone played all the way through and gave it their all.”
The women’s soccer team also had senior Jessica Proffit, forward, recognized as All-Conference player. “I was actually surprised to find that I made All-Conference this year. I didn’t really expect the Conference to notice a player from a team that wasn’t doing too good through the season,” Proffit said.
She continued in her humble sportsperson’s spirit, “I’m not a player who focuses on getting any awards for what I do. I don’t see myself as being better than anyone else out there, so when I get compliments about how good of a player I am, I usually don’t know how to react, except with a simple ‘thank you.’”
Two first-year students led the women’s cross country team to the nationals, with Coach Mike Johnson recognized as the Coach the Year.
Freshmen Shaina Mason and Nicole Hardin were invited to Vancouver, Washington to compete in the NAIA Championship.
An H1N1 flu outbreak in the team impacted its overall performance this season. More runners would have advanced to nationals if not for H1N1, Coach Johnson said.
Mason shared her remarks on her accomplishment, “I'm glad that I got to go to nationals. It was a wonderful learning experience. I know I wouldn't have come as far as I have without coaches, friends, family, and my running buddies to push me to do better. Also, I know that without God, who gives me strength, I wouldn't be able to do anything.”
Coach Johnson has been recognized several times in the past as Coach of the Year for his work on grooming a good team.
“Receiving [individual] awards aren’t important. I’d rather focus on the team. Awards are just an outcome of work for me and the team,” he said.
Coach Johnson feels that the team set a good standard for future seasons. “I really like the team because they are hardworking,” he added.
The Berea sports program has been marking its territory and having its name heard far and wide so far this year.
Coach Johnson expressed his cross country team's aims for the coming year, "[We want to] win both championships and take the men and women to the nationals.”
That also sums Berea athletics program's goal for next season.