Hokies Seeking Fourth Straight Title
Tech enters conference tournament as top seed
April 22, 2004 Blacksburg, Va. - Three-time defending champion Virginia Tech will begin competition as the top seed in the 2004 BIG EAST Conference Golf Championship, to be held April 24-25 at the Warren Golf Course on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The Hokies are the three-time defending BIG EAST champions, having won the event all three years the school has been a member of the BIG EAST Conference. The Hokies will attempt to become the first champion to win four straight BIG EAST titles since St. John's won the team title from 1986-89. Tech will be joined in the event by second seed Georgetown, third seed and host Notre Dame, fourth seed Rutgers, fifth seed Boston College and sixth seed St. John's. The tournament will consist of a practice round on Friday, 36 holes of competition on Saturday and 18 holes of competition on Sunday. Tech will be paired with Georgetown and Notre Dame on Saturday. The Hokies return three golfers who were members of the 2003 championship team. Redshirt junior Scott Wise (Vinton, Va.) finished 10th last season and senior Ryan Stinnett (Amherst, Va.) finished 11th. Sophomore Joel Kraner (Dublin, Ohio) finished 16th at the 2003 tournament. Redshirt senior Matt Hollerbach (Tulsa, Okla.) and freshman Ryan Sypniewski (Radford, Va.) will make their first appearances in BIG EAST Championship action. Tech enters the event ranked 68th in the Golfstat.com NCAA Division I Head-to-Head rankings and 70th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, the highest ranked BIG EAST team in both ratings. Stinnett is currently ranked 96th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin standings, the highest-ranked individual among BIG EAST Conference golfers. The Hokies won last season's event with a 54-hole total of 889, two strokes ahead of second place Notre Dame. Brendon de Jonge (Harare, Zimbabwe), a senior in 2003, won medalist honors at last year's tournament, shooting an even-par 210, winning the event by 11 strokes over two players, including teammate and fellow senior Chris McKeel (Wilson, N.C.). The Hokies are under the direction of 2001, 2002 and 2003 BIG EAST Conference Coach-of-the-Year Jay Hardwick. The conference champion receives an automatic bid into the 2004 NCAA regionals. Virginia Tech will host the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship at the Homestead Resort's Cascades Course June 1-4, 2004.