WILSON, N.C. — January 26, 2017 — Barton College’s 2017 Pup’s Steakhouse Celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, in Hardy Alumni Hall on campus. Featured speakers will be Kamryn and Sydney Graybeal, Phyllis Parish Howard, Caroline Searcy, Brianna Thomas, and Sydney Turner. The program will begin at 11 a.m., and the public is invited to attend. There is no charge for the event.
Twin sisters Kamryn and Sydney Graybeal, presenting in tandem at the program, are fourth-grade students at Rock Ridge Elementary School. In addition to participating in gymnastics, the Graybeal sisters compete in the City of Wilson’s Recreation Soccer Program. They also played for Wilson’s All-Star Team, which won the recent Statewide Athletic Committee (SWAC) Championship. They are the daughters of Michelle and David Graybeal.
Phyllis Parish Howard is a 1979 magna cum laude graduate of Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College and played tennis four years for the Bulldogs under Hall of Fame coach Barbara Smith. Parish Howard is Director of Local Production for WRAL-TV, the NBC affiliate in Raleigh. She has been honored with six regional Emmy Awards and a national Gracie Allen Award for outstanding local programs she wrote and produced. She served from 2004-14 on the Barton College Board of Trustees and was named Alumna of the Year in 2011.
Caroline Searcy is a freshman at Wilson’s Fike High School, where she participates in volleyball, and track and field. She also competes for the Wilson Elite Volleyball Club and participates in swimming, gymnastics, performance dance, and theater. She earned a 4.0 grade point average in her first semester at Fike and was a finalist in the Wilson County Spelling Bee. She is the daughter of Beth and Doug Searcy.
Brianna Thomas is a 2015 summa cum laude graduate at Barton and played four seasons of basketball under Head Coach Wendee Saintsing. She was a team captain and led the Bulldogs to a Conference Carolinas regular season championship. She was selected for a prestigious one-year internship at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, Ind., which she completed immediately after graduation. She now serves as a Finance Senior Associate/Copack Accountant with PepsiCo in Indianapolis.
Sydney Turner is a current Barton sophomore and competes on the golf and swimming teams led by Head Coaches Ashley Leonard and Tyler Ziegler, respectively. A native of Montgomery, Ala., she serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has been named to the Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll. She is the daughter of Shelisa and Gilmer Turner.
The event will also include the presentation of the Carole McKeel Award, recognizing significant contributions to the participation of girls and women in sport. This year’s recipient will be Toni Varacchi, Director of Athletics and Head Girls Soccer Coach at Fike High School. McKeel is a member of the Barton College Athletic Hall of Fame and served as the first-ever head coach in both women’s basketball and volleyball.
This event has been held annually since 2011, and the upcoming program will be the second year it is sponsored by Pup’s Steakhouse.