By Diana Morose
Barry has expanded its sports program with the addition of five new sports teams. The new sports now offered include men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s cross-country and women’s beach volleyball. This brings the total number of varsity sports offered at Barry up from 13 to 18. All five programs will compete in the NCAA Division II and the Sunshine State Conference.
These inclusions offer students with athletic abilities more options to show off their talents while competing at a high level. While the swim teams are a new venture for the Bucs, the cross-country programs have made a comeback after being discontinued in 1992.
“Cross-country was reinstated because it is one of the Sunshine State Conference sponsored sports which provides access to competition in our state,” said Dr. Scott Smith, associate vice president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation. “Our athletic teams and student athletes are a point of pride for the university… expanding our sport programs offers more opportunities for aspiring student athletes to pursue their educational and professional goals while striving for excellence in their sport,” he said.
For Gerardo Avila, a senior majoring in accounting, swimming has always been a major part of his life. He has been in the swimming world for over 13 years and has always wanted to compete at the highest level he could. The addition of a men’s swim team allowed him to be a student athlete one last time.
“I was swimming the year before at Saint Leo, our conference rival, however the swim program was cut last season leaving me high and dry my senior year. Being able to transfer my senior year to swim for our new swim team allowed me to stay in our very competitive conference and allowed me to be a student athlete one last time,” he said.
Jeysi Montero is a graduate student doing her master’s in biomedical sciences. She hadn’t initially planned to play beach volleyball. After graduating from her previous college, she intended to complete her graduate studies as a non-athlete, but hearing about the new team changed her plans.
“When I first learned about the beach volleyball team at Barry University, my reaction was one of curiosity and spontaneity. I thought, ‘Why not give it a try for the last time?’” she said.
With this being their team’s first season, Montero’s hopes for the beach volleyball team to revolve around growth and team spirit.
“I hope that the positive spirit and motivation within our group continues to flourish, ultimately leading to our collective improvement and success throughout the season,” Montero said.
Avila’s time with the team will be short, as he will be graduating soon, but he sees this as a unique opportunity to lead a brand-new group of athletes.
“And that is my hope: that I am able to set a strong foundation for the team via my leadership. The freshmen now will have a bigger impact than I will ever have and setting them up for success is the best thing I can do,” he said.
Don’t forget to cheer on our new sport teams and wish them luck for their seasons. All the Barry University game schedules can be found listed on CORQ, at https://gobarrybucs.com/ or the Barry University Instagram page.