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Kansas Student-Athlete Spotlight: Whitney Berry
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By Porscha Weddington
Big 12 Campus Correspondent


Whitney Berry has achieved a great deal of success at the University of Kansas and is perhaps one of the most dynamic soccer players in the Big 12.

Standing at 5-foot-5 the sophomore forward/midfielder is versatile enough to play both offense and defense for the Jayhawks.  Berry set the freshman record in assists at the University of Kansas in 2009 and has now led her team in assists for two consecutive seasons. She was also selected All- Big 12 Second Team two years in a row and All-Newcomer Team in 2009.

Despite all the accolades and success she has received during her first two years at KU, Berry isn't settling for anything but the best from herself and her teammates.

"We are a good team that just had a rough season, but we all know what what we need to work on personally and as a team to be successful next year," said Berry, who's team finished the season at 6-13 and missed the Big 12 Championship.

It was the first time the Jayhawks missed the postseason tournament since 2000. Having a disappointing year has motivated the Wichita, Kan. native to work even harder this off-season in order to help the team get back to the NCAA Tournament.

She believes that regardless of what happened this season she is going to persevere, motivate and lead her team.

"We had a very unlucky season, but we need to fix a few things and work hard this off-season to make it to the tournament next year," Berry said. "I feel that my team needs to stay positive, work hard, and stay together."

Many people believe that hard work can be contagious and it takes one person to start the trend. This is something Berry has taken to heart. During the postseason tournament teams are allowed to work out even if they are not participating.

Berry and the Jayhawks have used this time to start the preparation for next season, something the sophomore thinks can help turn things around.

"I work hard and try to give it my all everyday on and off the field," she said.

"I feel that adversity is there all the time, but is about how you respond to adversity and how positive you are that makes the difference. I try to stay positive with myself and my teammates. I feel that I am more focused than ever before on achieving my goal for next year and will do whatever it takes to achieve it."

While not always the most vocal player on the field, Berry instead tries to lead the team by example.

"I believe actions speak louder than words when I'm motivating my team," Berry said. "It is the ripple effect, once they see you working hard; they will work hard as well."

In her first two seasons in the Crimson and Blue, Berry has been a tremendous example. She has started every game for the team in her two-year career and recorded nine goals and 12 assists. In 2010, she finished second on the team in scoring.

"This season was hard and I had to be strong for my teammates and stay positive through the ups and downs of the season," she said.

Although she has had a lot of personal success on the soccer field, she has her own definition of how she defines success.

"I define success based on when everyone is on the same page and everybody is working hard and together," Berry said. "It's not just about winning the game, but it's about walking off the field knowing the person next to me gave their all and that is how I feel with my teammates."

Berry and her Jayhawk teammates are not just working hard for themselves in the off-season, but are also working hard for their university and community. They understand that their success is much bigger than them. When they put on their jerseys they are representing so much more than the names on the back of the jersey.

"When I put the jersey on I'm not just representing myself, but I am representing my family, university, and community," she said. "We owe it to our fans, families, and community to not just make it to the tournament and be successful, but to give it our all and leave everything out on the field."

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