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January 9, 2009

Palmer to headline baseball team's fundraiser

By: Jimmy Robertson

Tech baseball’s second annual ‘Baseball Night in Blacksburg’ will take place on Feb. 7 and the featured speaker will be Hall of Fame pitcher and Baltimore Orioles legend Jim Palmer.

The event, sponsored by Bull and Bones Brewhaus and Grill, will be held from 6-9 p.m. in the west side stadium club of Lane Stadium. Tickets cost $75 per person ($35 for kids 13 and under), and can be purchased by calling the Virginia Tech baseball office at (540) 231-3674.

The event will also include a dinner, silent and live auctions for various sports items, and a chance to meet the entire 2009 Virginia Tech baseball team.

For those interested in a more intimate experience, a private, open-bar reception with Palmer and other notable figures will be held from 5-6 p.m. Access to the private reception is only available through the purchase of the ‘Home Run Package,’ which is a group of eight tickets that costs $1,600.

Tincher earns NCAA’s top honor

Former Tech softball superstar Angela Tincher won the NCAA’s top honor when that organization named her as one of the winners of the Top VIII Awards, which is given each year by the NCAA to honor eight outstanding senior student-athletes of the preceding calendar year with weighted criteria including athletics ability and achievement, academic achievement and character/leadership. Recipients will be honored at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration on Jan. 15 at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.

Tincher’s success in the softball circle is unprecedented. She earned the USA Softball national player of the year award and received first-team All-America honors. She led the Hokies to the Women’s College World Series for the first time this past season and finished her career with a 123-35 record, a 0.78 ERA and 2,149 strikeouts (third most in NCAA history at any level). The Tech athletics department retired her number earlier this fall.

She’s also an academic All-American, having graduated summa cum laude last spring with a degree in finance.
The Eagle Rock, Va., native became the second Tech student-athlete in school history to be given this honor. Football player André Davis, who is playing in the NFL for the Houston Texans, was a Top VIII award winner in 2002. Other recipients include John Elway, Rebecca Lobo and Peyton Manning.

Tincher will be heading to Japan in roughly a month. She signed a professional contract to play for a team over there.

Harris an All-American

Tech cornerback Macho Harris capped his final season by earning first-team All-America honors by Sporting News and second-team All-America honors by the Associated Press. He became the 19th first-team All-American in Tech’s football history.
Harris, a native of Highland Springs, Va., closed his season with 46 tackles (32 solo), including 3.5 for a loss. He also tied for the team lead with six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He recovered a fumble and forced two fumbles as well.

Harris kept alive an impressive streak by defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who has had at least one All-American from the defense in each of his 14 seasons as either coordinator or co-coordinator at Tech.

Tech football injury report

During a practice at the bowl game, Mike Goforth, Tech’s assistant AD for athletic training, reported that all of the Hokies injured over the course of this past summer and fall will be able to participate in spring practice, with the exception of Kenny Lewis, Jr. As most know, Lewis tore his Achilles tendon midway through the year and then re-tore it a few weeks later after slipping in the shower, thus requiring a second surgery. He probably would have been out for spring practice anyway.

However, two starters and a key reserve will be out for spring practice. Defensive end Jason Worilds (left shoulder) and whip linebacker Cam Martin (knee) will undergo surgery, as will back-up tight end André Smith. Also, the list could swell to three starters, pending upcoming tests on the left shoulder of offensive guard Sergio Render.

Chancellor to return for senior season

With his mom, Karen Lambert, watching her first bowl game, Tech safety Kam Chancellor played maybe his best game of the season, intercepting a pass and breaking up two more to lead the Hokies’ tremendous effort on defense in Tech’s 20-7 victory over Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl. The interception marked his second of the season.

After the game, Chancellor delivered good news to Tech fans. He told reporters that he planned on returning to school for his senior season. He had sent in his paperwork to the NFL advisory committee to determine his draft status, but the junior from Norfolk, Va., said he wanted to stay in school for his final year. The deadline for underclassmen to declare their intentions is Jan. 15.

Chancellor cited Macho Harris’ impact on this year’s team as one of the underlying reasons for his return.
“Just the way I saw Macho come back, and the way he led the team, being very vocal, that’s something I want to do next year,” Chancellor said.

Several impressive performances in scout-team testing

Tech’s strength and conditioning staff conducted strength and conditioning testing among the Hokies’ scout-team members – a group of freshmen redshirts, walk-ons and third-teamers who rarely play. The scout team runs the opposing team’s plays during practice throughout each week, while also participating in the strength and conditioning program to get bigger and stronger in hopes of helping the program down the road.

This time around, a little-known walk-on named Josh Call earned the top honor, as Call was the only Tech player to earn Super Iron Hokie honors during the testing period. The 5-foot-10, 250-pound fullback came to Tech as a walk-on from Raleigh, N.C., who went to school at Woodberry Forest near Charlottesville, Va. He finished tops among scout-team players in the bench press (410 pounds) and the power clean (330), and second in both the front squat (420) and push jerk (340).

Several of Tech’s scout-team linemen fared well, too. Will Alvarez, who redshirted this past fall, led the scout team in the front squat (430) and push jerk (341), and Vinston Painter, another who redshirted this past fall, finished in the top five in all the lifts.
In all, 19 scout-team members received recognition after the testing. Here’s a look at the results:

Bench press (pounds) Front squat
Josh Call (410) Will Alvarez (430)
Vinston Painter (410) Josh Call (420)
Will Alvarez (400) Antoine Hopkins (420)
Phil Sayer (390) Courtney Prince (405)
Dwight Tucker (370) Vinston Painter (405)
Push jerk Power clean
Will Alvarez (341) Josh Call (330)
Josh Call (340) Antoine Hopkins (330)
Vinston Painter (321) Vinston Painter (330)
Phil Sayer (320) Joey Phillips (304)
Dwight Tucker (320) Isaiah Hamlette (304)
Vertical jump (inches) 10-yard sprint (sec.)
Marcus Davis (39.5 inches) Alonzo Tweedy (1.6)
Alonzo Tweedy (37.5) Allen Stephens (1.7)
Jeff Wardach (36) Dean Hill (1.7)
Ryan Williams (35.5) Joey Phillips (1.71)
Allen Stephens (35) Jeff Wardach (1.73)

(Note: Hopkins also lifted 320 in the push jerk; Stephens finished with a 304-pound power clean; Hill and Lance Barbour both recorded a 35-inch vertical; and Sayer and Nobel Iyebote had times of 1.73 seconds in the 10-yard sprint.).