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March 9, 2009

Men's swimming and diving places fifth at ACC Championships

By: Matt Kovatch


We already touched on the women’s team’s success in the piece about Sara Smith, but the H2Okie men fared pretty well at the ACC Championships, taking fifth place in the meet that ended on February 28.

Tech broke a total of 11 school records throughout the meet, with freshman Charlie Higgins rewriting three of them. His best performance came in the 100-yard backstroke, as the Weddington, N.C., native claimed second place in the event, as well as garnering an NCAA “A” cut time in the process. Higgins touched in with a time of 46.54 seconds in the preliminary race to set a new Tech record in the event. He then registered a time of 46.55 seconds in the finals, missing out on a first-place showing by only .14 seconds.

Higgins also helped Tech set a record while claiming third place in the 400-yard medley relay, joining with senior Ian deToll, junior Jonathan Huss and sophomore Stephen Hawkins to finish in 3:11.18.

Junior diver Mikey McDonald was a huge contributor as well, earning All-ACC honors with third-place finishes in both the 1-meter and platform events. He also finished fourth in the 3-meter dive.


Junior Yoann Re has twice upset the sixth-ranked player in the nation to help the No. 31 men’s tennis team to a 7-2 start.

The men’s tennis squad quietly put together a very impressive start to the dual-match season, going 7-2 through its first nine matches. The Hokies were ranked No. 31 in the nation when the month of March began, and that ranking might have been higher if Tech hadn’t been forced to play the top-ranked team in the country twice in the season’s first month.

Tech lost to then-No. 1 Ohio State during the campaign’s opening weekend, but rattled off five straight victories before falling current to No. 1 Virginia on Feb. 27. The Hokies then bounced back with a 5-2 trouncing of No. 73 Maryland on March 1 to improve their ACC record to 2-1.

Junior Yoann Re has easily been the most impressive Hokie in the early going. After winning ACC Player of the Week honors for his upset of then-No. 6 Justin Kronauge of Ohio State in early February, he once again shocked the sixth-ranked player in the nation when he knocked off UVa’s Dominic Inglot 7-5, 6-1. Re was undefeated at 9-0 at press time.


Since we checked in with the women’s tennis team in the last issue, the Hokies have gone 3-2 to accumulate a 7-3 overall record and garner a No. 39 national ranking heading into the month of March. Their first ACC win came on March 1 with a 5-2 defeat of Maryland at home.

Individually, freshman Courtney Rauscher led the team with seven dual-match wins following the toppling of the Terps. Senior Jessica Brouwer and sophomore Holly Johnson had teamed up for a 7-1 mark as Tech’s top doubles tandem.


The Hokie lacrosse team began its 2009 campaign with four losses, including a 10-9 heartbreaker at Drexel in the season opener in which the Dragons scored the tying and go-ahead goals eight seconds apart in the final 1:30.

But Tech got in the win column with a 10-8 triumph on February 28 at home against George Mason, battling through a steady rain all game long. Senior Rachel Culp tallied a game-high four goals in the contest, but it was sophomore Allie Emala who came through with the game-winner with 3:52 remaining. Goalkeeper Kari Morrison made a season-high 16 saves in holding a Tech opponent to single-digit goals for the first time this season.

Culp and freshman Jessica Nonn were tied for team lead with nine goals apiece through five games.


The Tech softball team had a rough go of things in the season’s early going, accumulating a 5-10 record after the first four weekends of play. After winning their first two games of the season-opening Chattanooga Challenge, the Hokies suffered a seven-game losing streak in which they were outscored 58-6.

Tech bounced back with a 3-2 mark at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in Conway, S.C., on Feb. 20-22 before escaping a brutal final weekend of February (they were supposed to play four top-20 teams, including No. 1 Alabama) with just one loss after rain washed four games off the schedule.

But the biggest loss of all may have been the season-ending injury to starting center fielder Richelle McGarva, who suffered a freak ankle injury during a base-running drill at practice in mid-February. McGarva was hitting .333 at the time of the injury, which was deemed a lateral dislocation that ruptured multiple ligaments and damaged several muscles.