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June 18, 2009

Tech's top 10 moments of the year

By: Jimmy Robertson

Here are the top 10 Tech moments of this past school year as comprised by the magazine staff, with help from several in the athletics communications office:

1. Marcel Lomnicky wins national title

Marcel Lomnicky has dominated since his arrival at Tech in January, and his season ended when he easily won the national championship in the hammer throw event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in mid-June. He won with a throw of 235 feet, 6 inches and became Tech’s second athlete to claim a national title (Spyridon Jullien, 2005 and 2006 in both the hammer throw and weight throw).
Lomnicky also won two ACC titles this season and an NCAA East Regional crown, and he earned All-America honors in the weight throw event at the NCAA’s indoor championship meet.

2. Tech claims Orange Bowl victory

The Hokies won a major bowl game for the first time since 1995 with a dominating performance in a 20-7 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Orange Bowl. Tech’s defense intercepted four passes and Darren Evans rushed for more than 100 yards, as the Hokies finished with 10 wins for the fifth straight season.

3. Darren Evans’ game versus Maryland

A redshirt freshman, Evans put his name in the Tech record book last fall when he rushed for a school-record 253 yards on 32 carries and scored a touchdown in the Hokies’ Thursday night victory over Maryland. Evans broke the former record of 243 yards set by Mike Imoh against North Carolina in 2004.

4. Hoops rally against N.C. State

The Wolfpack give the Hokies fits on the hardwood and appeared to be doing so again in a game in February. But Tech rallied from an 18-point, second-half deficit to tie the game at 76, and then won the thriller in overtime thanks to A.D. Vassallo’s four free throws in the final 16 seconds and his team-high 24 points. The game marked Tech’s biggest comeback since joining the ACC.

5. Tasmin Fanning finishes third at NCAAs

Fanning finished her cross country career in grand style, finishing in third place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships out in Terre Haute, Ind., in late November. Fanning ran the 6k course in a career-best time of 19:37.1 and finished just nine seconds behind the winner. Her finish was the highest for a Tech runner in the program’s history – men or women.

6. Wrestlers beat No. 17 and No. 6 – on the road

Tech wrestling coach Kevin Dresser has wasted little time in rebuilding the Hokies’ wrestling program and the results this season prove that. In back-to-back matches in late January, the Hokies knocked off No. 17 Michigan 22-15 in Ann Arbor and then beat No. 6 Central Michigan 19-12 in Mount Pleasant, Mich. The wins marked Tech’s first over ranked opponents in the program’s history.

7. Women’s soccer team’s amazing run

Perhaps no team at Tech played better at the end of its regular season and in the conference tournament than the Hokie women’s soccer team. The women closed out the regular season with a 1-0 victory over No. 11 Duke on Nov. 2, and then in the ACC tournament, the Hokies downed No. 5 Florida State (4-2 in penalty kicks) and No. 12 UVa (2-1 in penalty kicks). The run ended with a 3-0 loss to North Carolina in the tournament title game, but the Hokies still made the NCAA Championships for just the second time in school history.

8. Re aces match against one of nation’s best

Tech’s Yoann Re recorded a bunch of big wins this season, but the native of Quebec, Canada’s best came on Feb. 1. In a match against Ohio State’s Justin Kronauge – the sixth-ranked player in the nation at the time – Re dominated en route to an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory at the Ohio State Varsity Center. Re beat five ranked players this season and made it as one of 64 singles players who competed in the NCAA Championships. He lost in the first round, but finished the year with a 20-12 mark.

9. Lax team wins first ACC match

The Tech women’s lacrosse team has struggled since joining the ACC, but the Hokies fielded their best team in several years and notched their first ACC victory since joining the league when they downed BC 16-14 in an overtime thriller. Rachel Culp, the Hokies’ superstar all year, scored the tying goal in regulation and the winning goal in overtime.

10. Thomas notches 500th career win

Scot Thomas, the Hokies’ head softball coach, reached a milestone this season when he recorded his 500th win as a head coach – all with the Hokies. Thomas got his 500th after the Hokies swept BC in a doubleheader in Blacksburg in April. He wrapped up his 13th season at Tech and is the only coach in the program’s history.