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March 10, 2011

Supporting Virgina Tech Athletics Since 1949

By: Brian Thornburg

Men’s Track wins first ACC Championship

The atmosphere was electric at Rector Field House on the final day of the 2011 ACC Indoor Championships, as Virginia Tech’s men’s track team earned its first ACC title with 140 points.

The Student-Athlete Experience

“It’s great to know that the Hokie community is behind me on and off the track. The Hokie Club makes me even more proud to represent Virginia Tech.”
Jackie Merrick - Senior - Track & Field

“The experience here at Virginia Tech is and was amazing. When I first came from Germany, I did not know what to expect from the entire student-athlete experience. Through this opportunity, I broadened my horizons immensely.”
Matthias Treft - Junior - Track & Field

Donor Files

Natalie & Joe Kelly

Current Hokie Club level: Platinum Hokies; Caldwell Society Members

Hokie Club member since: 1987 (Natalie has been a Hokie Club Rep since 1989)

Currently resides: Springfield, Va.

Family: Daughter - Nancy Ambert, Granddaughter - Melina Ambert, Grandson - Miguel “Champ” Ambert

Being a member of the Hokie Club and supporting Virginia Tech athletics is important to me because …
We love being part of the Hokie Nation! It is always great to be with and meet other Hokies whether we are in Blacksburg, in Northern Virginia or traveling. So many times, we will be somewhere and run into someone wearing a Hokie cap or shirt and strike up a conversation about the Hokies, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and on and on. We find much to discuss on those occasions and have made many new friends along the way, based on the common denominator of being Hokies.
We are already bringing the grandkids into the Hokie Nation, too – they love coming to the football games and the tailgates. They have lots of Hokie t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats that they like to wear – and they love to see the Hokie Bird.

Do you have a specific moment when you realized that you were a fan of Virginia Tech Athletics and knew without a doubt that you were a Hokie?
Probably when I attended my first football game as a freshman in 1970. When I started coming back more regularly to games in the late 80s, I felt the excitement all over again of being a Hokie! Once Joe began coming to the games and tailgates with me, it didn’t take him long to realize that he was a real Hokie fan, too. Although we both know that if the Hokies and the Nittany Lions ever play against each other, we’ll be sitting on opposite sides of the Stadium!

When you drive into Blacksburg, Va. for a game, are there any “must do” things for you and your family?
We buy the USA Today and each make our predictions on who will win the college games that week and by how much. Of course, the only prediction on the VT games is the margin of victory! On Sunday, we compare our predictions with the actual winners and scores and see which of us got the most correct. It really helps us pass the time on the road between Northern Virginia and Blacksburg and gives one of us the bragging rights for that week.

Do you have any game day or tailgating traditions or superstitions? If so, what are they?
We always try to arrive at least three hours before the game to set up our tailgate (tents, tables, Hokie chairs, food and drinks). We usually have a food theme for each tailgate. For noon games, the theme is “Breakfast.” One of our tailgate regulars has perfected the omelet in the bag. Each year, we have one game where the theme is “Fryer Luck” – we will have two turkey fryers going and everyone brings something to throw in and fry up. It’s amazing all of the different things we have brought to fry! The last game of the year is our “Gumbo” tailgate. The same tailgater who makes the omelets also makes the most fabulous Gumbo – and brings that to the last tailgate each year. Along with food themes, we usually have a wine theme – each week, we designate one red and one white wine as the wine of the tailgate. Everyone brings their favorite bottle of that particular wine and we have a wine tasting.

How did you become so involved with the NOVA Hokie Club? Do you recommend getting involved as a rep to others?
I (Natalie) became involved in the Hokie Club as a way to bring the local alumni chapter and Hokie Clubs together in the Northern Virginia area. Being a Hokie Rep is a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in Blacksburg and a great way to get to know other Hokies in your area and keep them in touch, too. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Virginia Tech athletics.

Virginia Tech athletics has undertaken tremendous facilities growth and renovations. Do you have a favorite project?
We like the work done in the South End Zone – We usually end up there at halftime to get our snacks and drinks. It’s light and airy there and a good place to meet up with some of our Hokie friends to discuss how the game is going.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech football player is ...
Frank Beamer and our favorite memory of Coach Beamer will be watching him raise a national championship trophy.

My all-time favorite Virginia Tech student-athlete from another sport is ...
Angela Tincher, and my favorite memory of her is watching her pitch as the Hokie women beat the USA National Team. She pitched her heart out in that game!

Hokie Club enters into Social Media with Facebook & Twitter

The Hokie Club has entered into the world of social media by creating a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter account. As social media has grown into everyone’s everyday life, we decided that Facebook and Twitter would be great ways for us to reach our members. “We are always looking for ways to reach our Hokie Club members and introduce ourselves to potential members. Facebook and Twitter are two great opportunities for us,” said Lu Merritt, Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics. “We want all of our Hokie Club members to get involved, so ‘Like’ us on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter. And remember, tell your friends, family and fellow Hokies about us as well.”

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