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May 12, 2009

Track and field squads highlight 'championship month' for Hokies

By: Matt Kovatch

April was unofficially ‘championship month’ in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with league titles up for grabs in the sports of men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’ tennis, golf and lacrosse. Here’s a look at how each of the Hokie squads fared:


Queen Harrison was named the ACC Women’s Performer of the Year after winning two conference titles at the ACC outdoor meet.

The Virginia Tech women’s track and field squad earned second and the Hokie men placed third at the conference championships, which were held at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., on April 16-18.

The Tech women racked up 127 points, while the Hokie men tallied 130. Florida State captured the women’s title outright with 160 points, while the Seminoles and Virginia tied for the men’s team crown with 141 points.

"It was a phenomenal meet on both sides," Tech director of track and field Dave Cianelli said. "The men were in contention until the very end, and we had 11 ACC champions, which is the most we've ever had at any meet. Because we are young, I think we will continue to be in contention for ACC titles in the future."

The women’s squad bounced back from a fourth-place showing at the indoor championships in February thanks to five individual titles by four different people. Queen Harrison, a 2008 Olympian, won both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles and was named the ACC Women’s Performer of the Year for her efforts. The Richmond, Va., native clocked a time of 12.98 seconds in the prelims of the 100-meter hurdles, and ran a time of 13.14 seconds to win the conference title in the event. In the 400-meter hurdles, Harrison took first with a time of 56.03 seconds after posting a time of 58.68 seconds in the prelims.

Other titlists for the women included redshirt senior Brittany Pryor in the discus, who threw a career-best distance of 170 feet, one inch with her first throw of the competition. Sophomore Dorotea Habazin continued the throwers’ success by capturing the hammer throw with a season-best mark of 209 feet, two inches, while senior distance runner Natalie Sherbak repeated as the women’s 10,000-meter champion with a strong performance. Sherbak pulled ahead with two laps to go en route to a time of 35:48.42 and another ACC gold medal. With the victory, the Virginia Beach native has won an individual conference title in three consecutive ACC meets.

Will Mulherin shared ACC Men's Freshman of the Year honors after winning the conference crown in the 5,000 meters.

On the men’s side, the Hokies rode the wave of six individual champions to take third after placing an impressive second during the indoor season. The meet could not have started out any better for the Hokies, as sophomore Marcel Lomnicky captured his second ACC individual title since joining Tech in January, winning the hammer throw in the meet’s first event with a toss of 232 feet, one inch.

Then in the men’s javelin, freshman Matthias Treff, a Burgthann, Germany, native participating in his first collegiate competition, threw a staggering 239 feet, 10 inches to win the crown, a mark that ranked in the top five nationally at the time and that was fewer than three feet shy of the school record in the event.

On the track, senior Billy Berlin opened the distance action with another Hokie ACC championship, setting a meet record en route to a first-place finish in the men’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:43.52. Two more ACC champions came via the men’s distance events. Sophomore Ryan Witt duplicated his effort from the ACC Indoor Championships in February, winning the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.93. Freshman Will Mulherin put an exclamation point on his outdoor freshman campaign with a first-place finish in the 5,000 meters. Mulherin crossed the finish line in 14:15.54 and was named the ACC Men’s Co-Freshman of the Year for his efforts.


The men’s tennis squad had a noteworthy April, winning its opening round matchup in the ACC tournament before being selected to the NCAA Championships for the ninth time in program history.

Tech defeated Maryland 4-0 in the first round of the conference championships in Cary, N.C., on April 16 before being eliminated by No. 20 Wake Forest 4-3 the next day. The Hokies faced one of the toughest schedules in the program’s history this year – which included 16 ranked teams and seven top-25 programs – but entered their NCAA Championship bout against UNC Wilmington on May 8 ranked No. 26 in the nation with a 14-7 record.

In addition to being selected by the NCAA as a team, the Hokies’ Yoann Re was chosen as one of the 64 individuals who will compete in the NCAA singles tournament May 20-25. Re, an All-ACC honoree, posted a 19-10 dual match singles record this season, including a 4-1 mark in the ACC.

But the individual recognition didn’t end there, as Tech’s Luka Somen was named the ACC Freshman of the Year after leading the Hokies with 24 wins.


The Tech golf team finished with a three-round total of 868 and tied North Carolina for seventh place at the 56th annual ACC Men’s Golf Championship, which was held April 17-19 at the par-72, 7,102-yard Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in New London, N.C.
Hokie senior Drew Weaver, who was tied for first after the event’s first day of competition, shot an even-par 72 on day three and finished with a three-day total of 6-under-par 210, good for fifth place individually.

Sophomore Marshall Bailey shot a 2-over-par 218 and finished in a tie for 20th place, while redshirt junior Matt Boyd shot a 4-over-par 220 and tied for 27th place. Sophomore Garland Green finished in 45th place at 224 and freshman Blake Redmond finished in 52nd place at 228.

Georgia Tech won team honors with a three-day total of 846.


Virginia Tech actually served as the hosts of the ACC women’s lacrosse tournament at Thompson Field, but the home-field advantage didn’t do any good for the Hokies, who lost their opening-round contest on April 23 to ninth-ranked Virginia by a score of 13-5.

The Hokies got two goals from freshman Caitlyn Wier, one score apiece from sophomores Allie Emala and Liz Carpenter, and one from senior Rachel Culp. Culp, who also tallied an assist in her final collegiate game, finished the season with 54 goals, a number that ranks third on Tech’s single-season list. She finished her career with 119 goals – second on the all-time list – and 29 assists.

Following the tournament, which undefeated Maryland won, Culp was named to the All-ACC team, having led the conference with 4.27 points per game. Culp joined Kady McBrearty (2005-2008) and Lindsay Pieper (2004-2007) as the only Hokies who have earned All-ACC accolades since Tech joined the league in 2005.

Tech finished its season with a 7-10 overall record.


The women’s tennis team managed just one point in its lone match at the ACC Championships on April 16 in Cary, N.C. The eighth-seeded Hokies faced off against ninth-seeded Wake Forest and the Demon Deacons prevailed by a score of 4-1, ending the Hokies’ season with a 13-11 record – their best winning percentage since the 2002-03 campaign.

Senior Inga Beermann recorded Tech’s only victory in the match, defeating Wake’s Sasha Kuilkova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0. Kuilkova was the nation’s 56th-ranked player at the time.