As former Brookstone golfer Sydney Weaver prepared for her senior year at Berry College, she had the goal of ending her time at Berry in the NCAA Division III Championships. Though she did earn a spot in the field at the Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston, it turned out that wouldn’t be the end of her time as a Viking.
Weaver set herself apart in Berry College history, becoming the first female golfer to ever make it to the NCAAs. After finishing seventh as an individual in the four-round tournament, Weaver decided to stick around the program as the team’s new graduate assistant.
Weaver, a Columbus native, entered her senior year after undergoing shoulder surgery midway through her junior season. She had a respectable fall showing for Berry, recording two individual top 5 finishes and four top 10s.
Still, she wanted more out of her last collegiate season. She strived to improve during the four months that split the fall and spring portions of the campaign.
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“I really had to work on my swing in general,” Weaver said. “Just coming off (the surgery), I really had to focus on keeping the fundamentals correct so I didn’t go back to my old ways.”
Those efforts quickly paid dividends to start 2017. She finished second in the Lady Cougar Classic in Columbus then topped that in the next two tournaments, tying for first in the Callaway Garden’s Collegiate and the Jekyll Island Women’s Collegiate.
After taking ninth and third in Berry’s final two tournaments, Weaver was named the Southern Athletic Association Golfer of the Year and one of six individuals to compete at the national championships.
“It was really awesome,” Weaver said. “My goal for the whole year was to make it to nationals somehow. (Those two victories) really set me up to get a bid to nationals. I think I hopped about 15 spots in two weeks, and that punched my ticket.”
As she worked toward ending her playing career on a high note, Weaver was also busy determining her next step in life.
Weaver said she had thought about becoming a graduate assistant going into her senior year and had discussed what it takes with Berry head coach Brian Farrer. Weaver had spent some time looking at other programs, but that all changed thanks to an impromptu tour.
Farrer sought a graduate assistant for the 2017-2018 season and asked Weaver to escort a candidate around Berry’s course and facilities. As Weaver showed the ins and outs of the Vikings program, she realized the opportunity she wanted was right in front of her.
“You can’t really find a place better than Berry,” Weaver said. “It really got me thinking about how lucky anyone would be to get that position.”
The candidate who met with Weaver ultimately did not take the position. Before too long, she expressed her interest to Farrer. She was named a graduate assistant on May 30 as she works toward her master’s degree in business administration.
After serving as a captain for three years, Weaver filled an important role for the Vikings and is now transitioning to the coaching side. Her top 10 finish in Houston would have been a fitting close to her Berry College career; Instead, she’s sticking around to help the program check off even more objectives.
“It just all fit together,” Weaver said. “Obviously, I did something right the last four years.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports