User ID: Password:

June 21, 2012

Co-Athletes of the Year

By: Jimmy Robertson

Marcel Lomnicky | Senior | Nitra, Slovakia

The Virginia Tech track and field program has an established tradition in the throwing events, and Marcel Lomnicky and Alexander Ziegler simply continued it this past season.

Lomnicky, a senior from Nitra, Slovakia, and Ziegler, a junior from Dischingen, Germany, both captured national titles for Tech, with Lomnicky winning gold in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho, and Ziegler claiming gold in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Inside Hokie Sports thus has named both Lomnicky and Ziegler its 2011-12 athletes of the year. According to magazine criteria, national champions are automatically athletes of the year.

Lomnicky, who was named the magazine’s athlete of the year in 2009 following his national championship in the hammer throw that year, became the third two-time winner of this honor. The others include former softball standout Angela Tincher and former track and field thrower Spyridon Jullien, who won two national championships during his time at Tech from 2003-05.

Other student-athletes to be named athlete of the year include Cornell Brown, Jim Druckenmiller, Katie Ollendick, Corey Moore, André Davis, Lee Suggs, Bryant Matthews, Kevin Jones, Queen Harrison and Dorotea Habazin and Ziegler, who won the honor last year.

Lomnicky saved his best for last at the NCAA’s indoor meet – the final meet of his collegiate career. He gradually got better in each of his four attempts, and he won with a toss of 72 feet, 3.75 inches (22.04 meters), beating Southern Illinois’ J.C. Lambert, who finished second with a throw of 21.51 meters.

“I was the hammer throw champion three years ago, and now, to be the national champion in the weight throw in my last season for Virginia Tech, it just feels great,” Lomnicky said after the meet. “I was just trying to keep moving up and improving. I was aiming for a bigger mark, but I couldn’t ask for more by winning. At this meet, its about winning and not about the mark.”

Lomnicky and Ziegler joined Jullien and Harrison as the only individuals in Hokie history to win multiple national titles.

Alexander Ziegler | Jr. | Dischingen, Germany

Ziegler has been in the shadows of some much-heralded Virginia Tech throwers, but after his performance recently at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, he’s the one casting the large shadow now.

Unlike last year, when he upset Lomnicky to win the national championship on his final attempt, Ziegler dominated the competition this time around, throwing better than 70 meters on all six of his attempts – the only competitor to throw better than 70 meters on any throw. His best throw came on his fifth attempt when he tossed the hammer 75.78 meters, or 248 feet, 7 inches. That throw was a personal record for him.

Jeremy Postin of Florida finished second behind Ziegler. But he didn’t come within 20 feet of Ziegler. Postin’s best throw was 227 feet, 11 inches, or 69.47 meters.

Ziegler also fared well during the indoor season, finishing third in the weight throw event at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on his way to earning All-America honors. He finished second in the event at the ACC Indoor Championships in March.

Going into his senior season, Ziegler is a six-time All-American. His national title gave the Hokies their 12th overall national title – all in track and field.