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December 10, 2010

Softball program signs six who comprise a stellar class

By: Jimmy Robertson

Lauren Gaskill was one of softball head coach Scot Thomas’ top signees and she should make an immediate impact once she arrives at Tech next fall.

Head softball coach Scot Thomas and his staff signed six prospects to letters of intent during the early-signing period, and the group includes several who earned all-state awards and one who was named a Gatorade state player of the year as a junior.

“This is arguably the best overall class that we have ever signed in program history,” Thomas said. “This class has it all – power, speed, solid pitching. Combine this class with the talent we already have coming back and you just have to be extremely excited. On top of that, these are just some tremendous young ladies with great families. It was an awesome job by the staff in getting the job done on the recruiting front.”

Lauren Gaskill, an outfielder from Rancocas Valley High in Mt. Holly, N.J., probably headlines the group. She was the Gatorade state Player of the Year in New Jersey after a junior season in which she hit .684, with 10 homers, 31 RBI, 42 runs and 21 stolen bases. She also earned South Jersey Player of the Year honors and first-team all-state honors.

Infielders include Kylie McGoldrick, Kelsey Mericka and Jessica Rappe. McGoldrick, also a native of New Jersey, earned first-team All-South Jersey honors after hitting .522 and slugging .728. Mericka, from Kennesaw, Ga., hit .577, with 10 homers and 43 RBI for Kell High School while being named the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb County Player of the Year. Rappe, from Charlotte, N.C., played at Butler High and hit .444, with 40 runs and 21 stolen bases. She was an all-state selection.

Logan Spaw, an outfielder from Blue Springs, Mo., and Isabella Corrao, a pitcher from Farmingdale, N.Y., round out the group. Corrao had a 0.93 ERA, with 229 strikeouts for Farmingdale High as a junior and was a second-team all-state selection. Spaw missed most of her senior season because of a sprained knee (high school softball is played in the fall in Missouri), but she earned All-Suburban Big Seven Conference honors as a junior.

Golf program adds three

Virginia Tech golf coach Jay Hardwick signed three prospects during the early-signing period, adding Trevor Cone, Miles Curley and Scott Vincent to the fold starting next fall.

Cone, from Concord, N.C., attends Jay M. Robinson High School. Earlier this year, he won the North Carolina High School Invitational and finished runner-up in the Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship. He was named to the N.C. boys all-state first team by the Carolinas Golf Association in 2009 and was the South Piedmont Conference Player of the Year in 2010.

Curley, from Rock Hill, S.C, attends South Pointe High School. An all-region selection in 2010, he won the Metro Junior Championship and was named the Rock Hill Herald Golfer of the Year. He finished third in the 2009 South Carolina Junior Players Championship and fifth in the 2010 North & South Junior Championship.

Vincent, from Harare, Zimbabwe, attends St. John's College, a high school in Harare. He is currently the No. 1 ranked player in his country and won the 2010 Zimbabwe National Amateur. Vincent represented Zimbabwe in this year’s World Amateur Team Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he led his team and finished 57th individually. He finished 11th in the 2009 Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship in Coral Gables, Fla.

“Trevor, Miles and Scott will each have a major impact on our team’s success in the years to come,” Hardwick said in a statement released by the athletics communications office. “All three have an outstanding work ethic and, more importantly, they are all fine young men who will be outstanding additions to our team and our community.”

Wrestling to bring in five

Tech wrestling coach Kevin Dresser and his staff signed five prospects during the early signing period, including four in the top 100 according to InterMat, a Web site devoted to college wrestling.

“Once again, we feel we have done very well with these five early signings,” Dresser said in a statement released by the athletics communications office. “Of course, time will tell. However, these guys have already done it on various national stages. They will be needed to continue to take this program to the highest level. I can’t wait to watch them compete this year as seniors. I am their biggest fan right now!”

Nick Brascetta is the highest ranked of the five, according to InterMat, as he is rated the No. 26 overall prospect in the country. He hails from St. Paris, Ohio, and attends St. Paris Graham High. He is projected to wrestle at 141, 149 or 157 pounds in college.

As a freshman, he went 40-8 and took third at 103 pounds at the state tournament before going 45-0 as a sophomore and winning the state at that same weight class. Last year, he took second place at 119 pounds and went 42-4. Brascetta enters his senior year with a career mark of 127-12 and placed third at the Walsh Ironman and FILA Cadet Nationals last year.

Austin Gabel is a two-time Colorado state champion and will be the second Coloradoan to take the mats for Tech, following in the footsteps of current heavyweight David Marone. Gabel hails from Parker and attends Ponderosa High, where he won a state title at 160 pounds as a sophomore and the title at 171 pounds last year by going 44-1. As a freshman, he took third in the state at 135 pounds. Gabel is projected as either a 184- or 197-pounder in college. He enters his final year of high school with a record of 111-14 and was named to the 2010 Colorado first-team all-state team for the 171-pound class.

Lex Ozias is ranked as the No. 48 overall prospect in the country by InterMat and is a two-time Maryland state champion. The Kitzmiller native attends Southern Garrett High, where he wrestles at 140 pounds. He took third place at the NHSCA Junior Nationals last year and is projected to wrestle at 149 pounds in college.

Bubba Scheffel is rated at No. 56 nationally by InterMat. He won the 160-pound class at the NHSCA Junior Nationals last year. The Oakland, Md., native also attends Southern Garrett High and is teammates with Ozias. Scheffel is a two-time state champion who has gone a combined 83-0 his past two seasons. He is projected to wrestle at 174 pounds in college.

Matt Stephens, the younger brother of current Hokie Brian Stephens, attends St Paris Graham High in Piqua, Ohio. He is a three-time placewinner at the Ohio state championships, placing third at 145 pounds last year as a junior. He took second at 140 pounds as a sophomore and was fourth at 140 pounds as a freshman. He is ranked the No. 83 wrestler nationally by InterMat and enters his senior season with a career record of 121-22. He also took fourth at the Walsh Ironman and fourth at the Super32 Challenge as a junior. He is projected to wrestle at either 165 or 174 pounds in college.