Top 10 of 2014: #3 Isaiah Berrios Selected to Team USA, Helps Lead to IFAF Gold Medal

Top 10 of 2014: #3 Isaiah Berrios Selected to Team USA, Helps Lead to IFAF Gold Medal
Isaiah Berrios Helps Team USA Defeat Canada for First IFAF Gold Medal Since 2009 and Berrios Selection Announcement (originally posted Summer 2014)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--It's here...the top-10 of 2014 in Western New England University Athletics. Through the month of January, we'll unveil the top 10 stories/moments played out by Western New England NCAA teams, coaches and student-athletes for the last calendar year. The countdown continues at No. 3 with Isaiah Berrios selected to represent the University and the United States at the eight-nation 2014 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championship held July 7-16 in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

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Berrios, a sophomore defensive back from Plattekill, N.Y. (Wallkill High School), was among 45 individuals to play on the U.S. Under-19 National Team, assembled by USA Football. The U.S. Under-19 National Team includes high school and college athletes representing 20 states and will compete in a field against national teams from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait and Mexico.

Berrios helped the Americans capture their first gold medal in five years after using a second-half surge to defeat Canada, 40-17, at Al-Nasr Stadium. Team USA outgained the Canadians, 460-292, in the game and enjoyed a 198-31 advantage in rushing offense. Canada led 14-12 at halftime, but USA scored on four consecutive possessions in the third and fourth quarters to rally for their second gold medal in the last three trips to the IFAF Championship. The championship win punctuated Team USA's 3-0 record to lead the Group B standings, outscoring opponents 146 to 14 during pool play. Canada had the best scoring offense and defense in the tournament before its meeting with Team USA.

The engineering major led the eight-nation tournament with three pass breakups and he contributed three solo tackles and a fumble recovery. He played an integral role in Team USA's defensive effort against Germany, a 54-0 rout, in the team's second game at Salmiya Stadium. He came off the bench to record three solo tackles, break up a pass and he scored a touchdown. Berrios pounced on a fumble recovery in the Germans' end zone with 1 minute and 34 seconds remaining to close the scoring in the first quarter as Team USA took a commanding 21-0 advantage.

Berrios parlayed his international playing experience into a career year in his second season wearing a Golden Bears uniform, recording 34 solo (second-best on the team) and 53 total tackles (fifth overall) to pace WNE defensive backs in those categories. He was named first-team All-New England Football Conference last fall. He had 38 total stops in 2013 as a freshman.

A national team exemption granted by the NCAA allows current college players to take part and for high school seniors to play for USA Football and not have their participation count among their two permitted all-star game appearances. The IFAF Under-19 World Championship is recognized as a national team competition. USA Football is the sport's national governing body in the United States. FAF is composed of 64 nations spanning six continents that possess a national federation dedicated solely to American football.

The United States won the inaugural IFAF Under-19 World Championship in 2009 in Canton, Ohio. Canada claimed the 2012 gold medal over the U.S. in Austin, Texas.

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Top 10 Western New England Athletics Stories/Moments for 2014
#10: Football Wins Inaugural Pynchon SAW Game in Big Comeback at Springfield College
#9: Men's Golf Dominates All-Commonwealth Coast Conference Awards
#8: School-Record 131 Academic All-Conference Selections
#7: Kevin Cook Rushes Way into Football Program's Record Book
#6: Grace Kucharski is the First WNE Women's Volleyball Player Named both All-American and CoSIDA Academic All-American®
#5: Women's Lacrosse has a Historic Season
#4: Dennis Rinaldi Makes History with All-Commonwealth Coast First Team Selection
#3: Isaiah Berrios Chosen for the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championship as a Member of Team USA