Berg shooting for three titles of a kind
Most high school athletes never get the opportunity to hoist even one state championship trophy.
Then there’s Jessica Berg.
Her sophomore year saw the Air Academy athlete contribute on the basketball and lacrosse state championship teams. At 7 p.m. Monday, the junior forward for the Palmer Ridge field hockey team hopes to run her streak to three as the Bears (15-2) play unbeaten Colorado Academy (15-0-2) for the state title at Denver’s All-City Stadium.
She hopes to take advantage of her previous experiences in the pressure cooker of state championship competitions, especially in a sport she didn’t take up until last July.
“I have a sense of how it feels,” said Berg, a reserve guard on the Kadets’ basketball team that routed D’Evelyn last March and later patrolled the defense on the Kadets’ lacrosse team when they beat Cherry Creek for the title in May. “I know the intensity level can’t be too high, or else you’ll get frantic and mess up, but not too relaxed, either. Those games will help.”
Last summer, Berg sought a switch from volleyball and looked at the possible choices prior to basketball.
Despite never having picked up a field hockey stick nor knowing the rules, she headed north to Palmer Ridge and gave it a shot. Not only did she make the Bears’ varsity squad, she flourished, and leads the state with 22 goals.
But she’s quick to give credit to the playmakers who get her the ball in position to score.
“I can’t take full credit for a lot of them,” Berg said. “They pass me the ball, or I get rebounds off their shots. Everyone just plays together.”
Palmer Ridge’s last loss came at the hands of the Mustangs, who also knocked the Bears out of the playoffs last year 2-0 in the state semifinals.
Knowing a razor-thin margin for error exists, Berg hopes to rely on calm nerves and a steady shot in perhaps delivering Palmer Ridge its first state title.
“We got here not because of each others’ individual skills, but our teamwork,” Berg said. “We had to realize we’re not a bunch of people playing, but a team with one goal.”