KSU Alumnus Berryhill Awarded Another Gold Medal at Modern Pentathlon National Championship

KSU Alumnus Berryhill Awarded Another Gold Medal at Modern Pentathlon National ChampionshipJune 25, 2015 – Kennesaw State University alumnus Keith Berryhill, who earned a Master of Science in health and exercise physiology in 2011, recently captured another gold medal at the US Modern Pentathlon Senior/Junior National Championship held from June 5-7 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Modern pentathlon features the following events: fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a combination of pistol shooting and cross country running.  Baron Pierre du Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, introduced modern pentathlon in 1912 and it has been a core sport at the worldwide competition ever since.

“The biggest difficulty for modern pentathlon overall is that we’re a relatively obscure sport, to say the least, despite the fact that it is one of the oldest sports in the Olympic Games,” Berryhill said. “Its roots in the Olympic movement are very deep but it’s a relatively small and obscure sport in this part of the world.”

Berryhill was one of 34 competitors in the 2015 national event conducted by USA Pentathlon. For the second straight year, he won the masters division title in the 50-59 age group.

Berryhill competes and serves as head coach for Atlanta Team Pentathlon, an organization he founded in early 2014. He is also a U.S. Masters swimming coach and an aquatics coordinator at Windy Hill Athletic Club in Marietta, Georgia. Additionally, Berryhill is a nine-time U.S. Masters swimming national champion and an Ironman Triathlon World Championship finisher.

“We (Atlanta Team Pentathlon) had seven athletes compete in pentathlon nationals over the past several weekends out in Colorado Springs,” Berryhill said. “In the first year or so to have seven athletes already get to go out to the Olympic Training Center and experience the sport at a higher level is actually pretty good.”

Rob Stull, managing director of USA Pentathlon, seemed very happy with the progress Berryhill’s team has made in just a short time.

“Atlanta Team Pentathlon had an impressive debut performance at nationals,” Stull said. “The program laid a great foundation for promoting its athletes and the sport of modern pentathlon for years to come.”

The next big event for Atlanta Team Pentathlon is the Pan American Games, which start on July 10 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“That competition is every four years and includes all Olympic sports,” Berryhill said. “It is very important for the United States because the first-place man and first-place woman in the Pan Am Games is automatically qualified to go to the Olympic Games. So, that’s a big deal for us because it’s where we hope to get at least one of our men and one of our women already prequalified to go to the Olympic Games.” 

The 2016 Summer Olympics is scheduled for next August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Prior to receiving his M.S. at Kennesaw State, Berryhill graduated from Williams College in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

“I got my master’s degree at Kennesaw State to enhance my credentials as a coach overall, and it’s definitely given me a broader base and broader background into sports science,” Berryhill said. “It was a lot of fun and I had quite an enjoyable time.  I was actually in the first class accepted into the health and exercise physiology program.”