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June 21, 2012

Tech's Top 10 of the Past Year

By: Jimmy Robertson

Here are the top 10 moments of the 2011-12 school year as compiled by the magazine staff, with help from several in the athletics communications office:

1. Thomas rallies Tech past Miami

In a football game that featured 73 points and more than 1,000 yards of total offense combined, the Hokies got a touchdown from Logan Thomas with 56 seconds left to help Tech escape with a wild, 38-35 win at Lane Stadium.

Thomas’ 19-yard touchdown run capped one of the greatest games ever by a Tech quarterback. He completed 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and his 92-percent completion percentage was the best in the Beamer era. He also rushed for two touchdowns, accounting for all five of the Hokies’ TDs in the win.

2. Lomnicky, Ziegler claim national titles

Both Marcel Lomnicky and Alexander Ziegler claimed their second national titles, as Tech continued its dominance in track and field throwing events.

In his final collegiate meet, Lomnicky went out in style, as the senior from Slovakia won the title in the weight throw with a toss of 72 feet, 3.75 inches (22.04 meters) at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2009 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he won gold in the hammer throw, his specialty.

Ziegler has claimed back-to-back national titles in the hammer throw. After winning gold at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he repeated, winning gold at this year’s NCAA meet. His winning throw (and personal record) of 248 feet, 7 inches, easily bested the second-place finisher by more than 20 feet.

3. Men’s indoor track & field team wins first ACC outdoor title

A year ago, the Tech men’s indoor track and field team ended Florida State’s eight-year run of indoor dominance by capturing the ACC title at the league’s annual indoor meet. This year, the Hokies ended the Seminoles’ dominance at the ACC’s outdoor meet.

By a slim 4.5-point margin, Tech captured its first ACC outdoor crown, snapping Florida State’s seven-year streak. Tech won five individual titles, with Will Mulherin (5,000-meter run), Alexander Ziegler (hammer throw), Matthias Treff (javelin), Hunter Hall (pole vault) and Jason Cusack (3,000-meter steeplechase) winning gold in their respective events.

Michael Hammond (1,500) and Jeff Artis-Gray (long jump) finished second in their events to aid the Hokies’ cause.

4. Shinholser claims three All-America honors at NCAA meet

Logan Shinholser all but solidified himself as the greatest diver in Tech history when he earned All-America honors in all three diving events at the NCAA Championships held in Seattle in late March.

Shinholser placed fifth in the 3-meter event, sixth in the platform event, and seventh in the 1-meter event. He was one of only three divers in the country to make the finals in all three events, and behind him, the Hokies finished a program-best 18th at the NCAA meet. He scored 39 of the team’s 55 points in the meet.

The meet capped a great season for Shinholser, who also was the ACC Diver of the Year after winning the 1- and 3-meter titles at the conference meet held at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center and finishing second in the platform event by less than a point. He scored 57 points in that meet, as the Hokies finished a program-best second behind rival UVa.

5. Women’s soccer squad reaches Sweet 16

The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 by upsetting Texas A&M 3-1 at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., in the second round of the NCAA Championships.

With the win, the Hokies made it to the Sweet 16 for just the second time in the program’s history (2009). Tech got an early goal from Brittany Popko, and then later, Kelly Conheeney and Shannon Mayrose added goals. Dayle Colpitts recorded five saves in the net to preserve the upset for Tech.

The Hokies stunned No. 9 West Virginia 1-0 in the first round in Morgantown, W.Va., on a Conheeney goal.

6. Nonn’s big game enables Tech to stun No. 7 UVa

Jessica Nonn’s goal in overtime enabled the Virginia Tech lacrosse team to knock off in-state rival UVa 10-9 at Thompson Field, giving the Hokies their first ever win over the Cavaliers – Tech was 0-17 all time versus the Cavaliers – and their first ever victory over an opponent ranked in the top 10.

Nonn scored the Hokies’ final three goals. Her overtime goal was her fourth of the game. Ryan Rotanz and Megan Will added two goals each, and Alex Gale finished with five saves in goal.

6. Shupp’s rare goal helps Tech topple No. 1 UNC in men’s soccer

The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team only won one ACC match this past season, but it turned out to be one of the biggest in program history, as the Hokies knocked off No. 1 North Carolina 1-0 in two overtimes.

James Shupp scored the game winner for Tech after a loose ball got bounced around in the box several times. The goal marked the first for Shupp in two years and Kevin Reitzel got the assist – his first collegiate point.

The win was Tech’s first over North Carolina since 2007. It was also the Hokies’ first win over a top-ranked team since 2004 when Tech beat Duke 1-0 in Durham.

7. Carter, Yates take home All-America honors at NCAA Championships

Tech wrestlers Devin Carter and Pete Yates both finished fifth in their respective weight classes at the NCAA Wrestling Championships and both earned All-America honors for doing so.

Carter, who lost in the second round, came back in the consolation round to finish fifth at 133 pounds. Yates lost his first-round match, but rallied in the consolation round to claim fifth at 165 pounds.

Behind those two, the Hokies finished a program-best 11th with 39 points. Carter and Yates are Tech head coach Kevin Dresser’s second and third All-Americans, respectively, joining Chris Diaz, who finished eighth at 141 pounds in 2010.

8. Vincent lifts golf team to NCAA Championships

The Virginia Tech golf team advanced to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships for the first time since 2002 when the Hokies, led by freshman Scott Vincent, finished in fourth place at the NCAA South Central Regional held in Bowling Green, Ky.

Vincent shot 5-under-par for the regional to finish in a tie for third place in the individual race. Blake Redmond, Bryce Chalkley and Mikey Moyers all recorded top-30 finishes to lift the Hokies into the national championship round.

At the national championships, Tech finished in 24th place. Vincent came in tied for 45th in the individual race.

9. Tech baseball squad walks off with two wins over No. 6 Miami

The Tech baseball team pulled off one of the bigger series wins in the ACC this past season when the Hokies took the final two games against No. 6 Miami at English Field – and doing so in thrilling fashion.

After losing the first game of the series, Tech won the second game when Alex Perez walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Tech to a 5-4 victory. In the series finale, Mark Zagunis singled home Gabe Ortiz with the game winner in the bottom of the ninth, as the Hokies won that game 3-2.

The series win marked the Hokies’ first over a top-10 team since April of 2010 when they beat then-No. 9 Miami.

10. Tellier’s big game helps Tech shock No. 8 Maryland

The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team pulled off the biggest upset in the ACC this past season when the Hokies traveled to College Park, Md., and defeated the No. 8 Terrapins 75-69.

Monet Tellier led the Hokies by tying her career high with 31 points. She hit five 3-pointers and connected on 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. Aerial Wilson pitched in 15 points, while Porschia Hadley tallied 14 points and six rebounds.

In a game in which everything went perfectly for Tech, the Hokies turned the ball over just seven times while forcing the Terps into 20, resulting in 26 points. Tech also grabbed 19 offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points.

This marked the third win in program history over a team ranked higher than No. 8. The last win was against No. 6 Duke in 1998. Tech also defeated Old Dominion in 1985 when it was No. 5.