Tech Seeks Third Straight BIG EAST Golf Title
Hokies enter conference tournament as top seed
April 14, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Two-time defending champion Virginia Tech has been selected as the top seed in the 2003 BIG EAST Conference Golf Championship, to be held April 21-22 at the Warren Golf Course on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Tech will be joined in the event by Notre Dame, Georgetown, St. John's, Rutgers and Seton Hall. The Hokies will attempt to become the first champion to win three straight BIG EAST titles since Notre Dame won the team title in the 1995, 1996 and 1997 tournaments.

The Hokies return three golfers who finished in the top 10 of last season's event, led by senior Chris McKeel (Wilson, N.C.) who finished fourth last season. He is joined by fellow senior Brendon de Jonge (Harare, Zimbabwe) who was seventh last season and junior Ryan Stinnett (Amherst, Va.) who was 10th. Redshirt sophomore Scott Wise (Vinton, Va.) and freshman Joel Kraner (Dublin, Ohio) each make their first appearance in the conference championship event.

Tech enters the event ranked 32nd nationally in both the Precept/GCAA coaches' poll and the Golfweek/Sagarin poll and 35th in the NCAA Division I Head-to-Head rankings. De Jonge is currently ranked 16th by and 22nd in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

The Hokies won last season's event with a BIG EAST Conference record 54-hole total of 865, 17 strokes ahead of second place Notre Dame. Johnson Wagner (Garrison, N.Y.), a senior in 2002, won medalist honors at last year's tournament, shooting a one-over-par 211, winning the event by four strokes.

The Hokies, under the direction of 2001 and 2002 BIG EAST Conference Coach-of-the-Year Jay Hardwick, shot a then-BIG EAST 54-hole record 875 to win the 2001 championship. Hokies Brian Krusoe was co-medalist in 2001. The conference champion receives an automatic bid into the 2003 NCAA regionals.