PORT TOWNSEND — Berkley Hill exceled in four sports at Port Townsend High School, where he earned Nisqually League MVP awards as a football quarterback, Olympic League 1A MVP honors in basketball and all-league recognition behind the plate as a baseball catcher.
Hill also was part of successful 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams that qualified for the Class 1A State Track and Field Championships and also ran the 200 sprint at the state meet, boosting Port Townsend to a third-place finish.
It was that lone season spent on the Redhawks’ track and field team as a senior in 2017 that guided his collegiate athletic career toward All-America status.
Hill earned NCAA Division III All-America status after a seventh-place finish in the decathlon at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships held recently in Greensboro, N.C.
The grueling event requires athletes to complete 10 events over two days of competition: 100-meter sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters followed by 110 high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and a 1,500-meter run.
Facing off against 17 other qualifiers from across the nation, Hill posted personal-record times of 48.92 seconds to win the 400 run and 14.84 in the 110 high hurdles. Hill also was second in the 100, just off his personal-best time of 10.98 seconds, pushing him to a seventh-place overall finish in the event and All-America honors.
Hill previously earned All-Region honors this season from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in the decathlon, 100 meters, 110 hurdles, 400 meters and the 4×400 relay.
He also finished 17th in the decathlon at the NCAA DIII meet as a sophomore in 2019.
George Fox University track coach John Smith marveled at Hill’s growth as an athlete and team leader over the last four seasons.
“I remember the day Berkley came to GFU for a visit,” Smith said. “His high school track marks weren’t really that great, but he also only had one year of track experience, and he had done a variety of events. When we met on the visit and I learned a little more about him, it was pretty clear he was a good all-around athlete.
“Berkley had this look to him. I thought he’d make a good decathlete. The decathlon has been one of the foundations of our program. I’m always looking for that special athlete that can step up to the challenge. You can say we have been a bit surprised at just how much progress Berkley made, especially in the sprint and hurdle events.”
Always a hard worker and team leader for his Port Townsend squads, Hill’s transition was seamless.
“As a freshman in the decathalon training group, Berkley fit right in and always had a smile on his face,” Smith said. “He worked hard and contributed to the ‘Team Family’ atmosphere. By his junior and senior year, he was providing leadership and direction to the underclassmen of the GFU track program.
“Berkley impacted many in his four years. My wife and I even took a trip to Port Townsend to see the place where this great young man grew up. He helped me grow as a coach and will always be an athlete we can point back to in helping other athletes see what is possible, as they work to improve. Athleticism aside, I would take 100 more Berkley Hills. Lastly, I am so glad we took a chance on the ‘kid’ from Port Townsend and he took a chance on the George Fox University Track program.”
Berkley’s NCAA Championship decathalon score and high hurdle time rank him seventh and third all-time at GFU, respectively.
Hill also graduated cum laude from George Fox in May with a Bachelor of Science in computer science: cyber security degree.
The son of Rich and Rachel Hill of Port Townsend, Hill’s new dream is landing a full-time job and starting a successful career.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.
Hill’s former Port Townsend coach Tom Webster contributed to this report.