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June 28, 2010

Tech's top 10 of the past year

By: Jimmy Robertson

Queen Harrison claims three national titles

Hokies knock off Tennessee in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Heroics help Hokies beat Nebraska

Women’s soccer team stuns No. 1 UNC

Hudson goes off against Seton Hall

Baseball squad takes series from FSU

Women’s basketball team downs No. 10 UNC

Diaz earns All-America honors

Softball wins series over nationally ranked FSU

Baseball squad topples No. 1 UVa

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

1. Queen Harrison claims three national titles

Queen Harrison simply dominated the hurdle events on the national stage during her final season in Blacksburg, winning three national championships.

She won the national title in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in mid-March, claiming first place in a time of 7.95 seconds. In doing so, the Richmond, Virginia, native became Tech’s first female athlete to win an individual national championship.

During the outdoor season, Harrison made history, winning the 100-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 12.67 seconds and a school-record 54.55 seconds. She became the first female athlete in NCAA history to win those two events at the championship meet.

2. Hokies knock off Tennessee in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Virginia Tech dominated the second half en route to a 37-14 stomping of Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl held at the Georgia Dome. Ryan Williams capped a great season by rushing for 117 yards and closing the season with a school-record 1,655 yards, and Tech’s defense held Tennessee’s offense to just 240 yards – only 112 of that in the second half.

The Hokies, who finished with 10 wins for the sixth straight year, became the first Tech team to win back-to-back bowl games.

3. Heroics help Hokies beat Nebraska

Tech trailed Nebraska by five with just under two minutes to play, but two huge plays propelled the Hokies to an improbable 16-15 victory over the Cornhuskers in one of the craziest comebacks in Tech history.

The big play came when Tyrod Taylor connected with Danny Coale for an 81-yard gain to the Nebraska 3. On third-and-goal from the 11 with 33 seconds left, Taylor scrambled around and found Dyrell Roberts for the winning touchdown with just 21 ticks remaining to give the Hokies the victory.

4. Women’s soccer team stuns No. 1 UNC

Marika Gray’s goal in the 53rd minute turned out to be enough, as the Tech women’s soccer team stunned No. 1 and defending national champion North Carolina on Oct. 4 at Thompson Field. Kristin Carden made 10 saves for the Hokies, who only had two shots on goal.

The loss marked only the eighth all time in ACC play for the Tar Heels and the 34th all time in the 31-year program history. North Carolina went on to win the national championship this past season.

5. Hudson goes off against Seton Hall

On a night in which Malcolm Delaney couldn’t play because of a sprained ankle, Dorenzo Hudson picked up the slack and then some, scoring a career-high 41 points in Tech’s 103-94 overtime victory over Seton Hall in Cancun, Mexico.

It marked the best scoring performance by a Hokie in 20 years, dating back to 1990 when Bimbo Coles scored 42 in a game against Rutgers.

Hudson did most of his damage at the free-throw line. He made 20-of-21 from the stripe, tying a school record for free throws made in a game.

6. Baseball squad takes series from FSU

The Virginia Tech baseball team had struggled against Florida State dating back to both programs’ days in the Metro Conference, but the Hokies finally got the better of the Seminoles by winning two games in a three-games series in Tallahassee on April 2 and 3. The series win marked the Hokies’ first over Florida State, who went into the series ranked No. 4 in the country.

Tech’s 8-7 victory in the second game sealed the series. The following Monday, the Hokies were ranked for the first time since 1992.

7. Women’s basketball team downs No. 10 UNC

It wasn’t a particularly great season for the Tech women’s basketball team, but the brightest moment came on Jan. 14 when the Hokies shocked No. 10 North Carolina 79-64 at Cassell Coliseum behind Lindsay Biggs’ 19 points. Tech hadn’t beaten a ranked team in nearly four years and hadn’t beaten the Tar Heels since 1984.

It was the Hokies’ first win over a top-10 team since Nov. 15, 1998, when they beat Duke. In fact, it was just Tech’s fourth win all time over a top-10 team.

8. Diaz earns All-America honors

Chris Diaz lost his first match at the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships in mid-March, but stormed through the consolation rounds to finish in eighth place in the 141-pound category, earning himself All-America honors in the process.

Diaz, a junior from Camden, Delaware, who captured the ACC crown at 141 pounds, got shut out 5-0 in the first round to Connor Beebe of Central Michigan. Then he won four straight matches before falling to Michael Thorn of Minnesota in the seventh-place match.

Diaz finished the season with a 33-7 record, including a 20-1 mark in dual competition and a 3-0 mark in ACC matches.

9. Softball wins series over nationally ranked FSU

The Virginia Tech softball team struggled this season, finishing with a sub-.500 record. But the Hokies gave a glimpse of their potential when they took two games from No. 19 Florida State on April 17. Those victories enabled the Hokies to take the series from the Seminoles.

Tech won thanks largely to Misty Hall, who went 5-for-8 on the day, with three homers and six RBI. In the first game, she hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to tie the game and then Tech won 8-7 on an RBI single by Ashton Ward two batters later. Hall then won the second game for the Hokies 5-4 with a walk-off homer.

10. Baseball squad topples No. 1 UVa

The Hokies lost the first two games of a three-game series with the top-ranked Cavaliers in Charlottesville, but got the better of UVa in the series finale, beating the Wahoos 8-5 for their third victory over a top-ranked team in the past five seasons.

More impressively, the Hokies trailed by two runs entering the ninth inning, but scored five to take the lead and win the game. The big blow came when Buddy Sosnoskie blasted a three-run double that put the Hokies up 7-5. Ben Rowen then got the final three outs to seal the win.