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Winter Sports Preview: Basketball and Swimming

Jump shots, relays, layups and backstrokes are ready to steal the sports scene in an exciting new season of Berea basketball and swimming.

Basketball

The men’s and women’s Berea basketball teams began their respective seasons on Saturday, October 30 at Kentucky Christian School in Grayson. Both were victorious, the men winning by a margin of 82-64 and the women 66-62. The male Mountaineers will host their first home game on Nov. 9, while the females will host the Berea Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 5 and 6 at Seabury Center on Berea’s college campus.

The men’s season looks to be especially remarkable with the turnover of coaching duties to Head Coach John Hemenway. Hemenway hails from South Dakota with an impressive 115-49 win-loss record as the head coach at Dakota Wesleyan University from 2005-2010. Twice named South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association’s “Coach of the Year”, Hemenway looks forward to the new season, “The attitude on the team right now is very good...I think the Berea College fans will enjoy watching and cheering for this team because we are going to play the right way. We are going to play an exciting, up-tempo style of basketball and play very hard on the defensive end.”

The Lady Mountaineers will be led by returning Head Coach Terence Brooks. Highlights of the women’s season will be the aforementioned Berea Tip-Off Tournament and the Berea College Pepsi Classic, both of which are mini-tournaments consisting of four games hosted over two days in Seabury Center’s Main Arena.

In a recently released poll, the women’s team was picked third and the men’s team fourth most likely to claim this year’s Kentucky Intercollegiate Association Conference (KIAC) Championship. Both teams will play 30 games in addition to KIAC Tournament action.

“This is a great level of small college basketball in a place where basketball is important,” says Coach Hemenway, “We play very good competition, the games are competitive and we are going to play an exciting brand of basketball. Berea College has an excellent basketball tradition that dates back a long way. I would like to think the city of Berea would take great pride in this particular tradition and support its college when our team takes the court at the Seabury Center.”

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Swimming and Diving

Many people might be surprised to know that Berea College has a swim team at all. But if you visit Berea’s Seabury Center, the chlorine smell wafts up the hall to meet your nose and the rhythmic splash of rowing arms and paddling feet alerts you that a pool is nearby. As it turns out, there is a pool which is usually full of some pretty enthusiastic and experienced swimmers from Berea’s swim team.

James Barrett, Berea College’s swim coach shares the students’ excitement about this year. He says he is thrilled about the upcoming season, especially if each of the swimmers and divers improves on his or her times and scores.

Barrett is even expecting to travel to nationals with both the men’s and women’s teams.There is one particular swim meet that he says will be challenging for the team--Warren Wilson, which is scheduled to occur on December 4 in North Carolina.

“Anytime I get swimmers who have basic skills I am excited,” remarks Barrett, “This year is no exception.” Barrett is also enthusiastic about seeing returning swimmers, specifically Lamar Richardson, who is returning after a year off.

Four of the male swimmers have already qualified for nationals. These four swimmers: Dean Leeper, Adam Lewis, Jacob Taylor, and Lamar Richardson have succeeded in meeting the necessary qualifying times. Together these four men qualified in the 200 meter medley and the 200 meter Freestyle relay. Additionally, Dean Leeper and Tierah Ellard have individually broken two school records.

James Barret is optimistic about Berea’s prospects this season, stating, “It will be a good year for swimming.”

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