Kendall Berry was going to be one of the featured running backs in Florida International's football scrimmage today. The 22-year-old from Haines City, Fla., was so excited, he spent some of his final hours begging people to come to Miami and watch.
There's no scrimmage now. For Berry, there will never be another.
Leaving a football team in mourning and a university in stunned disbelief, Berry was remembered yesterday as a "tireless worker" and "great person," one day after he was fatally stabbed in an argument outside the front doors of the school's student recreation center.
A frantic 24-hour search for a suspect ended last night, when police said 22-year-old Quentin Rashad Wyche, a former football player, turned himself in.
"Kendall had an infectious personality," FIU football coach Mario Cristobal said. "He was loved and respected by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him. It was truly an honor to have known and coached Kendall. It's a shame to lose such a young life to an act of senseless violence."
Investigators said Berry and Wyche got into a "verbal dispute." Wyche pulled out an unknown sharp object and stabbed Berry. The Miami Herald reported that Wyche insulted Berry's girlfriend and threw cookies in her face.
Wyche was in custody last night. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.
Berry will be remembered in a "celebration of life" at FIU's basketball arena on Monday afternoon.
Spring football, which was to conclude Wednesday, is postponed indefinitely.
Those who knew Berry best said it wasn't like him to be caught in a heated situation.
"Last night, his grief-stricken mother described Kendall as a negotiator, not a fighter," school president Mark B. Rosenberg said yesterday.
Berry had 164 all-purpose yards in limited use as a freshman in 2007, appearing in all 12 FIU games that season. He sat out the 2008 season with a knee injury and then had some breakout moments in 2009, rushing for three touchdowns in a span of 13 minutes against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 7 and following that up with two more scores the following week in a win over North Texas.
Berry finished last season with seven touchdowns, six of them rushing.
In other college news:
* Cameron Burt scored a power-play goal with 7:24 left in the third period and Rochester Institute upset top-seeded Denver, 2-1, in the NCAA East Regional semifinals, and advance to the final today against New Hampshire, a 6-2 winner over Cornell . . . Tony Mosey scored on a power play 23 seconds into the second overtime to give St. Cloud State a 4-3 victory over Northern Michigan in the West Regional semifinals.
* Kixx forward Adauto Neto was named Major Indoor Soccer League player of the month for March after scoring 19 points.
* American Mirai Nagasu was in first place after a nearly flawless short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy. Olympic champion Kim Yu-na, of South Korea, was in seventh place after three major errors in an uncharacteristically sloppy performance.
* Freehold Raceway in New Jersey will enhance its harness purses for the second time in 6 weeks. Effective with Wednesday's race program, purses for a $10,000 claiming race will jump from $4,900 to $6,000.
* For the third year in a row, qualifying for the spring NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway was rained out. The field was set by point standings, so Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth will start in the front row tomorrow. *