Team included Grayson and Madison Perry from Monroe, GA
DAHLONEGA, GA (01/30/2024)– Before beginning a new season, the University of North Georgia (UNG) softball program had a high-profile chance to celebrate its 2023 NCAA Division II national championship. Twenty-three players and the team’s coaches visited the Georgia Capitol on Jan. 30, receiving a commendation from Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp and Senate and House resolutions honoring the team’s national title.
The 2023 UNG softball team visited the Georgia Capitol on Jan. 30, receiving a commendation from Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp honoring the team’s 2023 national title. Contributed photo
The team also presented Kemp, state Sen. Steve Gooch and state Rep. Will Wade with personalized UNG jerseys. Gooch, the Senate majority leader, and Wade are UNG alumni.
Team members honored at the Capitol included:
- Grayson Perry of Monroe (30655)
- Madison Perry of Monroe (30655)
Gooch, a Dahlonega, Georgia, resident, made sure to have the NCAA championship trophy front and center while speaking after the Senate resolution was presented.
“I’m proud to be a friend of coach Mike Davenport,” Gooch said. “I love this university that scatters throughout all of north Georgia.”
The 2023 UNG softball team takes a photo with state Sen. Steve Gooch, state Rep. Will Wade and state Rep. Marcus Wiedower. The team received Senate and House resolutions honoring the team’s national title. Contributed photo
Wade introduced UNG President Michael Shannon and some of the softball players after the House resolution was presented.
“These are amazing students, amazing athletes, and they’re all gainfully employed, providing for their communities and carrying on the excellence that is being a University of North Georgia graduate,” Wade said.
Shannon addressed the House members.
“Today is a celebration of leadership,” Shannon said. “Leadership is about sacrifice. Leadership is about dedication to one another. And leadership is about being national champions not only in sports, but in life. This is what college athletics is all about.”
It was the second championship visit to the Capitol for head coach Mike Davenport, whose program also captured the NCAA Division II national title in 2015. Davenport will begin his 24th season leading the program at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 2 against the University of West Florida in the Gulf Shores Invitational in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
“Today was a tremendous honor for this group of young people who accomplished something very special last year. To be recognized at the state Capitol will be something they will remember for a very long time and will somewhat put the final touches on the 2023 season,” Davenport said. “Being a representative of the University of North Georgia is something this program takes an awful lot of pride in. And representing our state as a national champion means an awful lot to our student-athletes, the Dahlonega/Lumpkin County community and the state of Georgia.”
Three of the players from the 2023 team on hand at the Capitol were UNG graduates Hannah Forehand, Madi Perry and Olivia Sinquefield. For the trio, the Capitol visit included one last bus trip together with their former teammates.
“It’s like our last rodeo with the team before we fully close this book and start our adult chapters,” Sinquefield said. “It was nice to press pause on reality and come back with everyone that we accomplished our dream with.”
Sinquefield, who earned a degree in English with teacher certification, is now a sixth-grade English teacher at Taylor Road Middle School and an assistant softball coach at Chattahoochee High School.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Sinquefield said. “It’s unique to be in the state Capitol and to feel so welcomed by all of the representatives.”
Perry, who earned a degree in kinesiology with a concentration in health and fitness, works in hospital staffing in Alpharetta, Georgia.
“It was great getting to be with everyone again,” Perry said.
Forehand is working at Wellstar Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta, Georgia, in preparation for beginning UNG’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May. She earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science.
“It was fun to take it all in and be recognized,” Forehand said. “We really appreciated that.”
The 2023 UNG softball team set a program record with 64 victories, breaking the previous mark of 62 set in 2018. It was UNG’s third consecutive season reaching at least the national semifinals and fourth NCAA Championship appearance since its previous national championship.
Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, the University of North Georgia comprises five campuses united by a single mission focused on academic excellence and academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia. With more than 18,000 students, the University of North Georgia is one of the state’s largest public universities. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to doctoral programs.