Berg ready to lead Warriors this season in track

Donzailya Berg

STEPHENS CITY — It’s now Donzailya Berg’s time to really shine.

For the last several years, Sherando’s girls track and field team has been led by Davina Lane, who now runs track at George Mason University. This season the Warriors will be looking for Berg to lead the way.

“She was kind of the unsung hero last year,” Sherando track coach Jamie McCarty said. “Everybody gives Davina (Lane) a lot of credit, which rightly so, but Donzailya was just as important in her ability to score in multiple events. She’s kind of taken that mantle now. It’s kind of her thing now to be the big scorer for us.”

Berg can do a little bit of everything for the Warriors. She will do all three of the jumping events, the hurdles, at least one of the sprints and the 4×100 relay.

The senior said she loves being so versatile and trying to help the team score as many points as possible.

“Doing so many events is very difficult, especially when we’re trying to win meets,” Berg said. “It’s very tiring, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I do enjoy being multi-faceted in all my events.”

In her first two years at Sherando, Berg was known for her jumps, especially the high jump. She even qualified for the state indoor track meet in the high jump as a sophomore.

McCarty said she’s just always been naturally good in the high jump.

“She’s got spring, she’s got a little bit of power in her legs,” McCarty said. “She’s technically pretty solid. Obviously, that event is very technical, and it’s very repetitive. But from day 1 she just kind of always liked that event and that never hurts either. When you got an event that you like more than others you have a tendency to elevate up to that.”

Berg said she’s excited to see how she does this season in the jumping events, because the Warriors have a jumps coach for the first time in her high school career.

One of her goals is to high jump at least 5 feet, 2 inches. Berg has cleared that only once before, and has struggled to do it again.

“I know I can do it,” she said. “I just feel like maybe I just need to get stronger and just practice more. I feel like I’ll definitely clear 5-2 this season, hopefully something higher.”

One event that didn’t come as naturally to Berg was hurdles. McCarty said he decided to try her at the hurdles toward the end of her sophomore season, and all of her hard work is paying off now.

Berg finished seventh in the 55-meter hurdles in the Class 4 state indoor track and field championships last month and said the success really gave her a confidence boost.

“I did way better than I thought I was going to do, and I’m very proud of myself for that,” Berg said. “I tried my best and I made it to finals. And then I tried my best again and I got seventh, and I was seeded eighth. I almost beat one other person, but I’m still happy with myself because I wasn’t expected to be there to begin with. I feel like I broke a wall at states. It made me see my potential. So that was a really big plus as well.”

She said it’s only been in the last year that she really started to like running in the hurdles.

“I like knowing when I’m improving,” Berg said of what she likes about hurdles. “I like the huge (personal records). I like knowing that once I fix something that it could cut down my time. So it’s just the little things, the little tweaks that could help you push yourself further and that’s what I like about that.”

Another of Berg’s strongest events is the 4×100 relay. She said if she had to pick a favorite event it would be relays.

“You can’t have a relay without the rest of the team,” Berg said. “So you’ve really got to focus on the team as a whole and not just yourself. But every individual is a big part of the whole race. So relays are really exhilarating, fun. And you also create great bonds with those teammates that are within the relay.”

Berg said that she is being recruited by several colleges for track and field, but hasn’t decided what school she wants to attend yet.

She said many of the colleges have said they would like to put her in the heptathlon, which consists of 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run.

The Warriors have a very young squad this season, but Berg said she believes the team can have a great season.

“I feel like we have a lot of room for growth,” she said. “But we definitely have the opportunity to do great things. The skill — everybody’s there. It’s just all about working hard, pushing yourselves.”