University of Rhode Island men’s track and field sprinter DeAngelo Berry was dominant this past weekend, taking first place in two individual events on Saturday at the Black and Gold Invitational hosted by Bryant University.

Berry, a junior, studying public relations and writing and rhetoric, won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and was also a part of the 4×100-meter relay team that also took first.

“The training over spring break has let me have a strong start to the outdoor season,” Berry said. “We’ve been practicing pretty hard.”

Berry’s track and field career began in his sophomore year at Xavier High School in Middletown, Conn. At the time, he was the running back for the school’s football team, and chose to run track to stay in shape during the offseason.

Little did he know, in a year he would be getting recruited by URI, and ultimately choosing track over football.

“For football, junior year is the most important. And I got hurt my junior year, but had a really good senior year,” Berry said.

In his junior year, he broke his ankle and played in just seven games. In the 2011-12 season though, Berry set the conference record for points scored in a season.

Berry was forced to make a choice – football or track. The University of New Haven expressed interest in him playing for their division II football team.

“If I wanted to play football, I would have done a year at a prep school and then try to go to a division one school,” Berry said. “I just decided I wanted to do track instead – do something else, a change of pace.”

URI appealed to him for reasons outside of athletics as well.

“I wanted a change. I came from a private school. Going to a bigger school was a change in environment.”

The choice he made seems to have paid off. Last year, he won the 60-meter dash in the indoor Atlantic 10 Championships, and then took fourth in the 100-meter dash in the outdoor conference championships.  

Student-athletes have to learn the balance between academics and athletics early on. To maintain eligibility, the NCAA says student-athletes must complete 40 percent of the coursework required for a degree by the end of their second year. By the end of their third year, that number goes up to 60 percent, and then 80 percent at the end of four years.

“I’ve had trouble balancing athletics and academics. But I’m really good with pulling all-nighters and skipping meals, so it’s worked out pretty well,” he said. “It’s all worth it. I’ll rather be busy than bored.”

This year, Berry took fifth in the 60-meter dash for the indoor A-10’s, an event URI won, along with the indoor New England Championship.

“Right now, we have indoor championships for A-10s and New England,” Berry said. “The goal is to win outdoor A-10s and outdoor New England’s to complete the sweep. It’s 100 percent possible. In fact, we should do it. It’s ours to lose.”

Berry will hope to build off his impressive feat and continue to be major component tin the team’s quest for yet another year of conference supremacy.