Three volleyball graduates find success on the court and in life

Elizabeth, Hannah and Rachel are known at Berry as a triple threat of leadership, service and athleticism.

Recent grads Rachel Ford, Elizabeth Ragland and Hannah Thompson were part of the Women’s Volleyball team that had their best season in 12 years. The team earned the Southern Athletic Association Regular Season Title, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and had an overall win score of 30-7.

When Rachel describes her college experience, she remembers Berry as the push in helping her emerge from her comfort zone. She was involved in Athletes Bettering the Community for three years, serving as president during her senior year. Now she is moving 1,000 miles away from home to pursue Ithaca College’s graduate program in sports psychology.

Her teammate Elizabeth, winner of the “Be Berry” athletic award, discovered a passion for leading others. She worked with the Assistant Athletic Director of Sports Medicine, while also coaching the Tsunami Volleyball Club for three years. Putting those leadership skills to work, she has been hired as an elementary teacher for a private school in Birmingham, Ala.

Finding a job in the same state as her teammate, Hannah will be working at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in the Cardiovascular ICU. While at Berry, she conducted a literature review about the effects of Nurse Residency Programs under her mentor, Dr. Cindy Johnson.

“I realized how much I changed since entering Berry as a freshman. Every experience I have ever had at Berry has prepared me to enter the real world and impact the lives of others,” said Hannah, who considers the team’s head coach, Caitlyn Moriarty, to be one of her strongest influences at Berry.

Coach Moriarty said, “Elizabeth, Hannah Kate, and Rachel exemplify the impact of leading with humility, grace, and most of all love. You set the bar for what it looks like to serve your teammates, serve your coaches, and serve your community. It’s not always fun to be the leader but you set the bar in your leadership development, your commitment in the classroom, your consistency, and you gave your heart and heads to making our program better.”

Leaving the team better than before, these young women continue to achieve new heights in all that they do.

Story by student social media assistant Naomi Lee

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