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November 7, 2013

News & Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Curtin finishes second at ACC Championships

Thomas Curtin, a junior from Leesburg, Va., finished in second place at the ACC Cross Country Championships held Nov. 1 at Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C.

Behind Curtin, the Hokies – who won the ACC title last year – finished in fifth place. Syracuse won the event with 64 points, followed by North Carolina (84), Notre Dame (105), Virginia (108) and Tech (120).

Curtin finished with a time of 24 minutes, 2.2 seconds, approximately 25 seconds behind winner Andrew Colley of NC State. Curtin finished seventh at last year’s ACC meet.

Lee Degfae was the Hokies’ second finisher, ending the race in 23rd place. Jared Berman (30th), Stuart Robertson (32nd) and Grant Pollock (33rd) rounded out the Hokies’ scorers.

On the women’s side, Courtney Dobbs and Sarah Rapp recorded top-13 finishes for the Hokies. Dobbs came in 11th in a time of 20:49.90, while Rapp wound up 13th in a time of 20:51.60. Shannon Morton (54th), Madalyn Nuckols (59th) and Katarina Smiljanec (62nd) rounded out the Hokies’ scorers.

As a team, the Hokies finished in eighth place. Florida State won the event with 52 points, followed by Virginia (65), Syracuse (108), Notre Dame (124), Duke (130), BC (151), NC State (183) and the Hokies (188).

Juliet Bottorff of Duke won the race on the women’s side. Curtin, Dobbs and Rapp all received All-ACC honors for the Hokies.

Graduation rates continue to rise for Tech programs

Seven Virginia Tech varsity sports had 100 percent Graduation Success Rates (GSR), according to an NCAA report released Oct. 24. The Tech teams included women’s basketball, men’s golf, lacrosse, softball, women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis.

The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to better measure student-athlete academic success. It allows student-athletes six years to earn their degree, and this year’s results are based on student-athletes who entered college in the fall of 2006. Also, the four-year cohort of student-athletes who began college in 2003-2006 is included.

Virginia Tech’s GSR combined for all sports was 90, a number that ranked tied for 10th nationally and sixth among ACC schools behind Notre Dame (99), Duke (98), BC (96), Wake (94) and Miami (92).

In football, the Hokies had a GSR of 78, which ranked fifth among ACC schools and eight percentage points above the national average of 70. In men’s basketball, Tech had a GSR of 90 – 20 percentage points above the Division I average. The Hokies’ GSR was tied for second among ACC schools with North Carolina and behind only Duke and Notre Dame, both of whom had 100.

Four other sports at Tech finished with a GSR of 90 or higher – men’s swimming and diving (95), men’s track and field and cross country (93), baseball (93) and volleyball (92). The men’s track and field and cross country programs were tied for fifth among ACC schools, while the men’s swimming and diving program was tied for sixth. The baseball program was seventh among ACC schools, while the volleyball program was 12th (11 volleyball programs in the ACC had GSRs of 100).

Weaver nominated for Courage Award

Tech AD Jim Weaver has been nominated for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award presented by the Football Writer’s Association of America. The winner of the award will be announced at the end of the season.

Weaver disclosed in 2006 that he suffers from Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that can cause speech and coordination problems. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2004. In recent years he has undergone several back surgeries, but still serves as the Hokies’ athletics director. He doesn’t plan to retire until the end of December of 2015 when he will be 70.

Weaver, who played football and was an assistant coach at Penn State, has been the AD at Tech since 1997. He guided the school through two membership changes and a school-wide tragedy, and he formulated a blueprint for one of the best-run athletics departments in the country.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN’s senior columnist Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.

Past winners include Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa’s Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy’s Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).