User ID: Password:

June 11, 2013

The 2012-13 athletics year ranks as one of the best ever for Tech

By: Jimmy Robertson

The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships marked the end of the 2012-13 sports year for Virginia Tech athletics, and it rounded out arguably the greatest athletics year in the history of the university.

That may seem like a bold statement to make. In fact, in pitching this theory to a friend recently, he argued otherwise, stating the Tech football team had its worst season in 20 years, and people rank a successful year on how well the football team performs.

Fair point, to be sure. Tech fans love their football, and the disappointment of the 2012 season still lingers.

That said, let your editor morph into attorney mode here and state his case for this past year’s successes.

First of all, yes, the football program had a 7-6 record, but the Hokies won their final three games, including their bowl game. Whether the bowl win comes against Michigan or Rutgers, it counts the same. Winning a bowl game should not be dismissed. Only 18 teams finish a season having won a bowl game and/or the national championship. Tech was one of them.

Second, the men’s basketball program brought some thrills despite its struggles this past season. Watching Erick Green chase the nation’s scoring title and then win it, becoming the first Tech player to do so, was a treat. Watching him become the first to be named the ACC Player of the Year added to it.

Finally, Tech’s Olympic sports were just phenomenal this past year. Remember when everyone said that the Hokies’ Olympic sports were going to struggle immensely in the ACC? Remember when certain media members basically said the gravedigger was going to be busy burying Tech’s Olympic sports.

Well, the school added two more national championships in track and field when Alexander Ziegler won the weight throw during the indoor season and Tomas Kruzliak won the hammer throw during the outdoor season. Tech has won 14 individual national championships – all since joining the ACC.

This year, the school won three ACC championships (men’s cross country, men’s indoor track and wrestling) to bring its total to 16 since joining the league, and the school finished second in five others (golf, baseball, men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving and men’s outdoor track).

Six Olympic sports qualified for NCAA postseason play – women’s soccer, men’s cross country, golf, men’s tennis, softball and baseball. The latter three all won at least one match/game.

In certain Olympic sports, such as track and field, swimming and diving and wrestling, only individuals qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Tech wrestling team and men’s swimming and diving squad sent 10 individuals to the NCAAs. The men’s indoor track team sent seven, while the outdoor team sent eight. The women’s swimming and diving squad qualified eight for nationals as well.

The men’s indoor team finished in a tie for ninth place in the team standings and the outdoor team finished 19th. The wrestling team came in 10th, the men’s swimming and diving team 20th and the women’s swimming and diving team 24th.

Thanks to all that NCAA success, the Hokies should finish in the top 20 of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for the first time ever. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup awards points based on how a school fares in NCAA sponsored competition. Tech’s previous best finish was last year when it came in 35th.

One may say to look back on this past year and enjoy it, an insinuation that this year was an aberration. But don’t expect the Hokies to be one-year wonders in many of these sports. These rosters feature a lot of great young talent.

Kruzliak and Chris Uhle (men’s track), Kylie McGoldrick and Kelly Heinz (softball), Devin Carter, Chris Moon and Nick Brascetta (wrestling), Scott Vincent and Maclain Huge (golf), Amerigo Contini and Andreas Bjerrehus (men’s tennis), Ashley Meier (women’s soccer) and Martina Schultze and Annjulie Vester (women’s track) all have at least two years of eligibility remaining.

There are a lot of reasons to be positive about the future. Just like there are a lot of reasons to be positive about this past year. All of the above-mentioned arguments may be off base to you all, the fans. After all, at the end of the day, you all hold the gavel. You’re the judge – and the jury.

As this athletics season comes to an end, we ask this – how do you rule?