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June 12, 2013

Co-Athletes of the Year

By: Jimmy Robertson

One player won a national championship in his final collegiate event. The other accomplished a Tech first, leading the nation in scoring and being named the ACC’s player of the year.

Given their unbelievable accomplishments over the course of this academic year, Inside Hokie Sports has named Alexander Ziegler and Erick Green its 2012-13 athletes of the year.

Ziegler became the fourth two-time winner to be named the magazine’s athlete of the year, joining former softball standout Angela Tincher and former track throwers Spyridon Jullien and Marcel Lomnicky. 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, who shared the honor with Lomnicky in 2011.

Alexander Ziegler | Senior | Dischingen, Germany

Ziegler has been dominant on the national throwing scene since arriving at Tech. He placed third in the weight throw at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships and second in the hammer throw at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Then, in 2011, he took second in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships before finally breaking through and taking gold in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Championships that spring. In 2012, he finished third in the weight throw, but won his second hammer throw national championship during the outdoor season.

This season, Ziegler became a three-time national champion. At the NCAA Indoor Championships held in Fayetteville, Ark., in early March, he won his first weight throw crown with a toss of 73 feet, 8.25 inches (22.46 meters). His throw was nearly four feet better than his next competitor.

Ziegler also won the ACC title in the weight throw with the best toss in the nation this season. His throw of 77 feet, 7.75 inches (23.69 meters) broke his own personal record by more than two feet.

In addition to winning three national championships, Ziegler won four ACC championships in his career and earned seven All-America nods. He also got it done off the track, graduating with a degree in business management. He won a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship from the ACC and is currently working on his M.B.A. at Tech.

Erick Green | Senior | Winchester, Va.

Perhaps no player in the nation improved more between his junior and senior seasons than Erick Green. The 6-foot-4 guard enjoyed one of the best seasons in Tech history – maybe the best.

Green became the first player in Tech history to lead the nation in scoring, averaging 25 points per game. Scoring in double figures in every game this season, Green set a school record by scoring 801 total points, snapping the mark of 785 points set by Bimbo Coles during the 1989-90 season. In the regular-season finale at Wake Forest, he scored his 1,700th career point and moved past Ace Custis into 10th place in career scoring at Tech.

Green also became the first Tech player to be named the ACC’s Player of the Year and one of just two players to receive All-America honors from The Associated Press. He was named the league’s player of the year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, a group of media members who cover ACC schools, and he received third-team All-America honors from The Associated Press. Dell Curry, who was a second-team selection in 1986, is the only other Tech player to make The Associated Press’ All-America team.

In addition to averaging 25 points per game, Green also averaged four rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He shot 48 percent from the field, 39 percent on 3-point field goal attempts and 82 percent at the free-throw line.