NSU’s athletes have won national championships, won conferencechampionships and been named All–SSC and All–Regional teams over the years. Yet, one could argue that the honor of receiving an NCAA Sportsmanship Award is the greatest accomplishment of all.
Sophomore rower, Courtney Berger, was one of five individuals to receive a Sportsmanship Award in August, and she was even featured in the Sept. 12 issue of Sports Illustrated. According to the NCAA, the Sportsmanship Award is given to “student–athletes who, through their actions in the competitive arena of intercollegiate athletics, have demonstrated one or more of the ideals of sportmanship, including fairness, civility, honesty, unselfishness, respect and responsibility.”
She is being recognized for helping an opposing rower who was having trouble breathing during the SIRA Regatta in April.
“I saw the girl passed out, and I asked ‘is she okay?’ They said no, and everybody started crying because this girl was unconscious. So, I backed the boat up a little bit, and I hopped in their boat. For the next fifteen minutes, I sat behind the girl and held her arms up, and I was just talking to her and getting everybody calm and helping the girl breathe,” said Berger.
On what was going through her mind as this was happening, Berger said, “My main focus was to get the girl to breathe with me, because she was hyperventilating when I finally got in the boat. [I was trying] to get her to listen to me and zone out everybody else, which she did, and she started calming down a little bit, which was good.”
Berger’s parents were extremely proud when they heard of the news. She laughed, “My mom went crazy. My dad was just proud of me. [When] they found out I won the National Sportsmanship Award, my mom called everybody and told everybody. It was a normal reaction for a parent, I guess.”
From Sarasota, this biology major would be described by those closest to her as a “quirky goofball.” She enjoys surfing, skateboarding, listening to country music and being a good sportsman.