• Geoff Cowles/News Mount Vernon’s Cory Berg, right, tries to catch Westerville Central’s Ricky Hyatt Jr. during the 300 hurdles final in the Division I state track and field competition Saturday at Ohio State. Berg passed Hyatt, finishing second overall in the state.
  • Fred Main/News Mount Vernon’s Cory Berg goes over the bar during the high jump competition Friday in the Division I Regional championships at Pickerington North. Berg qualified for state competition by finishing fourth in the event.
  • Fred Main/News Mount Vernon’s Cory Berg strides over the hurdle during the boys 300-meter hurdles Friday at the Mount Vernon News SpecTrackular at Fredericktown High School. Berg was named Most Valuable Competitor.

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MOUNT VERNON — There’s a lot to say about Cory Berg.

“Berg is an elite athlete,” said Kathy Thayer, head track and field coach at Mount Vernon High School. “It is rare to have an athlete with such a hard work ethic, athletic ability and capacity to push himself as Cory does. He is also goal-oriented and doesn’t settle for anything less than his best. He wants to do anything that will help him improve.”

Berg, a multi-sport and senior athlete at Mount Vernon High School, had a lot of preparation to do in the off season for track because of his qualification for two national competitions based on his efforts in the regular season.

“Cory went to two national competitions,” Thayer said. “He qualified based on his performance during the regular season and post-season for the New Balance National Track and Field Meet. For the AAU National Track and Field Meet, he had to compete in a district and regional track meet in Ohio. His performance in those qualifying meets allowed him to enter into AAU Nationals.”

Berg’s accomplishments during the season and post-season that helped him qualify for the two national events included such heroic feats as setting a new school record and OCC record in the 400-meter dash. His time for the 400-meter dash was 48.88 seconds. Berg also broke the MVHS school record at the regional finals in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 37:06. Berg was also a state runner-up in the 300 hurdles.

Berg was thrown a bit of a curve-ball for the national competitions because of a stipulation that athletes at the national level do not run the distance of 300 meters.

“At the national level, athletes no longer run the 300 hurdles, which is the high school distance,” Thayer said. “Athletes switch to the 400-meter hurdles, which aligns to the race at the collegiate level.”

Berg used his incredible work ethic to help him prepare for the national-level competitions that required him to run the collegiate 400-meter hurdles as opposed to the 300-meter hurdles.

“I would do at least three practices a week, most of the time with Coach Thayer,” Berg said. “I had to take my skills from the 300 hurdles and somehow turn them into 400 hurdles within just two weeks.”

Berg ended up representing Mount Vernon High School and the State of Ohio exceptionally well at New Balance Nationals where he finished 17th overall and was the top Ohio athlete in the 400 hurdles and 24th in the high jump; and at the AAU Junior Olympics Nationals where he finished fourth overall in the 400 hurdles, 10th in the high jump and 41st in the 400 dash.

In addition to being a nationals-caliber track athlete, Cory Berg is also a star in the classroom.

“I take my academics very seriously and in sports I work just as hard,” Berg said. “To me being a student-athlete is the best double treat for college and it can only open up many more options in the future.”

Not only does Berg have the athletic potential to be a college athlete, he also has the intellectual capacity of a student-athlete at the collegiate level.

“I do plan on running track in college,” he said. “Wherever it may be, I can’t wait to get another four years of training and competing against high level elite athletes.”

 

Cody Strawser: 740-397-5333 or cody@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

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