By Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
|Haiden Widener | CAMPUS CARRIER|
With 222 points already this season, freshman Kristin Rampersad has quickly become a key player for the Vikings. But her accomplishments within basketball started long before her first season at Berry started in November.
Originally from Boca Raton, Fla., she started playing basketball at the age of 7 after retiring from her short- lived dancing career. Growing up, she also played soccer, but decided to eventually focus only on basketball.
“I didn’t think I was good,” Rampersad said. “But a lot of coaches wanted me to play on their teams, so I thought I was pretty good after that.”
Once Kristin reached high school, her talent within the sport only continued to grow.
Over the next four years of her career, she would score 1,000 game points.
When she walked off of the Grandview Prep School’s basketball court for the last time as a player, she held multiple records. These include her points per game average, 41, and 3-pointers made in a game, 10.
She was also named to the first-team All-State, was a Palm Beach Fab Five player and was even ranked by ESPN as one of the top 150 guards in the country.
In her senior year of high school, Rampersad received eight Divison I offers, two of which were Ivy League schools, four Division II offers and 13 Division III offers.
But even with Ivy League competition, Head Coach Stephanie Dunn was determined to get Kristin to Berry.
“I knew that we were in desperate need of a shooter,” Dunn said. “So Kristin came across our desk and I just started calling her.”
But it wasn’t just her impressive shooting skills that caught Dunn’s interest.
“She had a winner’s mentality,” she said.
Kristin eventually decided to come to Berry because one of her role models, Chanlir Segarra, class of 2015, was an alumna of the basketball program.
Segarra was also from Florida and set many records there in high school as well. While at Berry, Segarra went on to be one of the best players in the Southern Athletic Association Conference her junior and senior year. This was a name that Kristin was familiar with, and had looked up to before Berry contacted her.
“I looked up to Chanlir when I was playing, and she was a really big player here,” said Rampersad. “We sort of play alike, so I thought this would be a good fit for me.”
With a majority of the season already under her belt, Rampersad has played 422 minutes, almost double the amount of the next closest freshman. Her free-throw percentage is 80.9 and her 3-point percentage is 37.7, the highest on the team.
“It’s not very often that a freshman can come in and start in a program, especially with a junior class as large as ours,” said Dunn. “She deserves to be on the court.”
But even with this success so far, Kristin knows that she still has a lot of room to grow within the game of basketball.
“I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I’ve been given a role that most freshman don’t have and I’ve learned from the players and coaches what I need to be doing to get better.”
What the future for Berry basketball holds for Rampersad is unclear, but Coach Dunn seems to think that it will be nothing less than extraordinary.
“I think Kristin is going to be not only a top player in our conference, but nationally, just like Chanlir was,” said Dunn. “She’s leaving her mark early on.”