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December 18, 2013

Women's golf program adds first recruits

By: Jimmy Robertson

Amanda Hollandsworth was the first commitment to the Tech
women’s golf program, and she has enjoyed a storied junior
golf career while attending Floyd County [Va.] High School.
(Photo courtesy of The Roanoke Times)

Virginia Tech head women’s golf coach Carol Robertson signed two prospects to letters of intent during the fall signing period, and these two prospects represent the first members of the new women’s golf program, which was added as a varsity sport this past May.

Amanda Hollandsworth and Allison Woodward will be the foundation of the program. Hollandsworth gives the program a local presence, coming from Floyd County High School in Floyd, Va. – 45 minutes from Tech’s campus – while Woodward hails from Unicoi, Tenn.

“I was very selective on whom I chose for the first class because they will set the standard for many years to come,” Robertson said. “Being the face of a new program is an important obligation and comes with a lot of responsibility. We all are so lucky to be a part of Virginia Tech history and want nothing more than to make the Hokie Nation proud.”

Hollandsworth became the Hokies’ first ever commitment in women’s golf when she committed to the program in July. She has enjoyed a storied junior career, as she won the 2013 Virginia State Golf Association Junior Girls Championship in July. She was also a finalist at the 2013 VSGA Women’s Amateur Championship and won the 2013 Virginia High School League Group A championship. Her older sister, Jessica was a recent three-time All-ACC performer at Maryland.

“Amanda was my first commitment, and I’ll never forget that,” Robertson said. “Growing up not too far from Blacksburg, she knows what it means to be a Hokie, and I am thrilled that I will get a front row seat to her college career.”

Woodward was the winner of the 2013 AJGA Chateau Elan tournament and finished third in the 2013 Tennessee PGA Junior. She is a member of the prestigious Tennessee Junior Cup team, whose captains are current PGA Tour members Brandt Snedeker and Scott Stallings. She is the president of her class at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn.

“Allison has all the tools to get the Hokie women’s golf team off to a fantastic start,” Robertson said. “She is extremely driven with a relentless work ethic. I have no doubt that Virginia Tech is the perfect platform for her to reach her full potential.”

Hollandsworth and Woodward will take redshirt years during the 2014-15 academic year. The Tech women’s program begins competition as a team in the fall of 2015, and both Hollandsworth and Woodward will have four years of eligibility from that point onward.

Hardwick adds one to men’s golf program

With only one senior on his roster, Tech men’s golf coach Jay Hardwick signed just one prospect to a letter of intent during the fall signing period – Ian Hildebrand, a native of Purcellville, Va.

Hildebrand attends Loudon County High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society. An all-state selection in 2011, 2012 and 2013, he won the Virginia High School League Group AAA individual title in October following rounds of 72 and 69.

This past summer, Hildebrand represented Virginia in the Virginia/Carolinas Junior Matches, leading the Virginia team in points earned. He has numerous high finishes on the AJGA circuit, including a runner-up performance in the 2013 William Penn Championship, and he was the youngest qualifier for the 2012 Sun Trust State Open of Virginia, finishing 21st in the tournament. Earlier this year, the sports editors of the Northern Virginia Media Services’ weekly newspapers named him the 2013 Northern Virginia Golf Athlete of the Year.

“Ian is accustomed to success academically and athletically and should have an outstanding career at Virginia Tech, both on the course and in the classroom,” Hardwick said. “He is a fine player who should contribute immediately, but more importantly, he’s a quality young man who will be another outstanding member of the Virginia Tech community when he arrives next fall.”

Thomas signs five for softball

Tech softball coach Scot Thomas and his staff signed five prospects to letters of intent during the fall signing period. The group includes one in-state prospect and four out-of-state athletes.

Chelsea Whitcomb, a utility player and pitcher from Chesterfield, Va., is the lone in-state prospect. The two-time Times-Dispatch Player of the Year hit .413 last season for Cosby High School, with three homers and 18 RBIs. She also went 17-1 in the circle, with a 0.52 ERA. She struck out 122 in 134 innings. She earned the Group AAA Player of the Year honor from the Virginia High School Coaches Association.

Mikaela Aiken, a utility player and pitcher from Longwood, Fla.; Breanna Davenport, an outfielder from Statesville, N.C.; Baylee Jensen, an outfielder from Visalia, Calif.; and Caroline Schoenewald, a utility player from Jamison, Pa., round out the rest of the class.

Aiken, a three-time, first-team all-state player at the 8A level, hit .549 as a junior at Lake Brantley High School, with five homers, 32 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. In the circle, she struck out 68 and had a 1.92 ERA. Davenport hit .417 for North Iredell High School, with four homers, 22 RBIs and eight stolen bases.

Jensen hit .508 as a junior at El Diamonte High School, with 16 stolen bases, and hit .431 as a sophomore with 22 stolen bases. Schoenewald hit .362 as a junior at Central Bucks East High School, with five home runs and 18 RBIs.

“This is probably one of the more talented and athletic classes that we’ve signed in a long time,” Thomas said. “I’m really excited about what they add and the kind of depth they’ll give us for the future. It’s just a quality group, and they’ll be joined by several top-tier walk-ons who will make this whole class a very good one once they get on campus next summer.”

Dresser inks another highly touted class

Tech wrestling coach Kevin Dresser signed four prospects to letters of intent during the fall signing period, including two who are ranked among the top 100 nationally and two others who won state championships in their respective home states. Soloman Chishko, Zack Zavatsky, Taylor Misuna and Jake Spengler comprise the class.

Chishko, a projected 149-pounder, hails from Jeanette, Pa., and attends prep powerhouse Canon-McMillan High. InterMat ranked him as the No. 12 overall recruit in the country, and both Amateur Wrestling News and FloWrestling ranked him second nationally at 145 pounds. After missing much of his junior season with an injury, he returned late to go 11-0 and claim his first Pennsylvania state title.

Chishko went 44-2 as a sophomore and 46-5 as a freshman, placing third in the state both years. He won the 2011 Powerade folkstyle tournament at 145 pounds after taking second place at that same tournament in 2010. He finished second at the 2012 Super 32 Challenge after placing third in 2010 and eighth in 2009.

Zavatsky, a projected 184-pounder, hails from Latrobe, Pa., and attends Greater Latrobe High. InterMat ranked him the No. 71 overall recruit in the nation, and FloWrestling rated him eighth nationally at 182 pounds, while Amateur Wrestling News listed him 11th nationally at 182.

Zack Zavatsky is ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in the
country and projects as a 184-pounder at Tech.

Zavatsky went 42-2 as a junior, placing third at the Pennsylvania state meet, and he went 41-5 as a sophomore in placing eighth. He also went 41-11 as a freshman, but failed to place at the state meet. He has won the always tough WPIAL AAA region twice and took second as a freshman. This year, he won the Super 32 Challenge to propel him up the national rankings.

Misuna, a projected 165-pounder, hails from Chesapeake, Va., and attends Grassfield High. InterMat ranked him the No. 20 prospect nationally at 160 pounds.

Misuna won the Group AAA title as a junior after placing second as a sophomore despite still recovering from a torn MCL he suffered during that season. He is a two-time Virginia state Cadet champion as well, once in freestyle and once in Greco-Roman. He went 39-9 as a freshman, placing eighth in the state at 125 pounds, and then went 24-4 as a sophomore, placing second at 138 pounds. He won the 152-pound title last year with a 51-4 mark.

Spengler, a projected 157-pounder, is from Orlando, Fla., and attends Lake Highland Prep. He is a two-time state champion at the Class 1A FHSAA level, and he also placed third twice. He went 48-2 as a junior en route to his second state crown.

“Obviously, this year’s class is small in numbers, however, the talent is there,” Dresser said. “Chishko and Zavatsky are already national players, and we feel Misuna and Spengler have the potential to be very good. All four guys have great athletic ability and are very good at wrestling and especially scrambling. Being a good scrambler is such a valuable tool to have coming to Division I wrestling.”

Volleyball staff brings in four

Tech volleyball coach Chris Riley and his staff signed four prospects to letters of intent during the fall signing period, a group that includes two setters, an outside hitter and a middle blocker.

The two setters are Kyra Coundourides and Rhegan Mitchell. Coundourides, a 5-foot-10 player from Walsh Jesuit High School in Cleveland, Ohio, is a four-time All-Ohio honoree and earned first-team all-district honors all four years. She has been tabbed as a PrepVolleyball Top-100 Senior Ace and earned honorable mention All-America honors by Under Armour this season. In addition, the Akron Touchdown Club named her its player of the year three times.

Mitchell, a 5-9 prospect from Atlanta, earned honorable mention All-America honors from Under Armour this season. She helped McIntosh High School to a Georgia state title and earned all-state honors all four seasons. As a member of Club Tsunami, Mitchell helped the team to the USAV Junior National Championships title, earning all-tournament honors, and she was named the MVP at the national event.

“We are really excited about Kyra and Rhegan coming in as setters,” Riley said. “They will add a lot of depth to that position, and we’re going to expect big things from them.”

Briana Lanktree, a 5-10 prospect from Redondo Beach, Calif., helped Redondo Union High School to a national ranking of 31st and a state ranking of fourth this season. In addition, Redondo Union twice advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation finals in her career. Lanktree competed on the club scene for Club Troy, and she helped the team to a third-place finish at the 2012 USAV. She earned all-tournament team honors for her efforts.

“Briana is a hitter who is going to add some depth to the position that we are needing,” Riley said. “She’s a big jumper and will definitely be able to score at the Division I level. We are looking forward to the prospect of what Briana will look like in a few years playing here.”

Clara Payne comes to Tech as a middle blocker. The 6-2 Payne hails from Sanford, Fla., and played at Pine Ridge High School, where she helped the team to a district runner-up finish. While competing for Top Select club team, Payne was tabbed the team’s MVP.

“Clara is just a very good blocker, a good attacker,” Riley said. “She’s a big, physical kid who is going to be a much-needed space-eater in the middle for us and will shore up our blocking and our defense.”