Newberry named finalist for NCAA award for partnership with Screaming Eagles


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Newberry College was recognized by the NCAA as a finalist for the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence for the work that the softball and baseball teams do with the Screaming Eagles organization on a yearly basis.

Newberry was one of 22 schools to be named a finalist as they earned an At-Large finalist spot. Two other schools from the South Atlantic Conference were named finalists as well.

The 2023 Division II Award of Excellence is an accolade recognizing initiatives in the past year that exemplify the Division II philosophy, community engagement and student-athlete leadership. Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that promote student-athletes giving back and serving as leaders within their communities or on their campuses.

The Newberry College baseball and softball teams partnered with the Screaming Eagles special needs athletics organization to host a baseball game. The Screaming Eagles is a team composed of special-needs athletes of all ages and abilities who attend schools throughout the midlands of South Carolina. Newberry baseball and softball players helped to create a realistic athletic environment that was adapted to meet the needs of all participants.

“We look forward to our day with the Screaming Eagles every year. Our players learn so much from them and these experiences stick with them for years to come,” said baseball Head Coach Russell Triplett. “We look forward to continuing this relationship for many years.

The Screaming Eagles is organized as a non-profit 501c3 and is open to special needs athletes of all ages and all abilities. This team is composed of many athletes who attend several schools throughout the midlands. They work with local schools and surrounding colleges to create a realistic athletic environment that is adapted to meet the needs of all. The goal of the Screaming Eagles Athletic team is to provide an environment of inclusion for all their special needs athletes and promote community involvement. This is facilitated through traditional sports where local teams and volunteers can engage appropriately and individually with their athletes.

“The bond between the Screaming Eagles athletes and players impacts them both in a way that is indescribable,” said softball Head Coach Ciria Triplett. “We are very thankful to have been able to work with the Screaming Eagles since September 2015 and look forward to continuing this partnership with these amazing athletes as their new field is being completed.”

The Screaming Eagles’ first goal is to obtain land to be the home for a miracle field for the special needs community. This field will be designed to accommodate all ages and all abilities. The long-range plan is to build an outdoor shelter, dugouts, an announcer box, a playground with paved trails, and a large indoor facility. The indoor facility will be used for games that are rained out, end of season celebrations, afterschool care, and serve as an adult day activity center for the special needs community. The Screaming Eagles are currently working with a group of infrastructure engineers and are in the concept phase of developing their vision of the Field of Dreams.

To keep tabs on the development on their Field of Dreams project, follow the Screaming Eagles on their official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/screamingeaglesathletics. To find out more about the program and to donate, visit their website: http://www.screamingeaglesspecialneeds.org.

A committee of athletics administrators determined this year’s finalists, and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selected the top three finalists, who will be announced at the Division II business session Jan. 14 at the 2023 NCAA Convention in San Antonio.

Each finalist will receive $500. In addition, the winner will receive $2,500, the first runner-up will receive $1,250 and the second runner-up will receive $1,000. All prize money is intended to be used for future SAAC initiatives or community engagement events.

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