Erskine's Rachel Berkey Named 2018-19 Murphy Osborne Award Recipient

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Rachel Berkey of Erskine College has been recognized as the 2018-19 recipient of the Murphy Osborne Scholar-Athlete Award, Conference Carolinas announced today. A member of the women’s tennis team at Erskine, Berkey was selected as the league's most outstanding scholar-athlete from a field of elite nominees based on her academic, athletic, leadership, and service accomplishments. 

Berkey, an accounting major, currently holds an impressive 4.0 GPA.  During her academic career, she has been named to the Dean's list and the Garnet Circle, which honors the top twenty five GPA's in the school, for four consecutive years. A member of the Sigma Beta Delta Society and Alpha Chi Honors Society, Berkey is a recipient of the ITA academic award for tennis in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

"Rachel has distinguished herself from the rest of the students at Erskine academically by being at the top of her class on nearly every project and exam," noted Derek Henrichs, a Visiting Instructor of Accounting at Erskine College. "She has demonstrated herself as a hard worker who has a strong desire to succeed inside and outside the classroom. With anything Rachel does, she gives it 100%."   

Berkey has been a key leader for the Erskine women's tennis team, serving as captain during her sophomore, junior, and senior years. Berkey helped her team win the Conference Tournament in 2016 and go undefeated in that season. One of the best in school history, Berkey has been ranked number two in singles and doubles throughout her time at Erskine.

According to Berkey's coach, Calhoun Parr, Rachel is a true team player who "always demonstrates high levels of sportsmanship when competing". Above all, Parr stated, "Rachel has been the best team captains of our team during my 19 years of coaching at Erskine. Rachel is extremely positive, responsible, and focused on helping our team achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the year."

Berkey's resume also boasts an impressive list of other extracurriculars and service activities. Serving as the Student Financial Committee Chair and Treasurer, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and Supplemental Instruction leader for Geology, Berkey deeply invested in her community. She volunteers at a local retirement home, where she visits with her "adopted grandparents" once a week, helps put on monthly game nights, and is in charge of weekly workout classes for the elderly. Also in her local community, Rachel volunteers at canned food drives, teaches tennis to the youth, and is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Mark Peeler, Erskine College’s Director of Athletics, added “Rachel has exemplified the ultimate standard for a student-athlete in the classroom, the tennis court, and the community." 

Each Conference Carolinas institution is eligible to nominate one outstanding student-athlete each year for the Murphy Osborne Scholar-Athlete Award.  This year's finalists were as follows: Vanessa Sanoja of Barton College, Sarah Kenney of Belmont Abbey College, Sarah Russell of Converse College, Jack Fitzpatrick of Emmanuel College, Rachel Berkey of Erskine College, Lennard Neumann of King University, Alexis Feely of Lees-McRae College, Alyssa Voccia of Limestone College, Shona Blades of University of Mount Olive, Sky Dupree of North Greenville University, and Helen Schweiger of Southern Wesleyan University

To be eligible for the award, nominees must be a senior student-athlete with a minimum grade point average of 3.25. The candidate must have been a full-time student at the member school for at least two years, and must be a starter or important substitute in a conference sport.  The recipient is selected by the Faculty Athletics Representatives of Conference Carolinas institutions and represents the most outstanding scholar-athlete in the league. 

Previous Murphy Osborne Recipients

Conference Carolinas is an NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 11 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University.