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BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech softball team have committed to Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge this weekend as the Hokies will don yellow laces for pediatric cancer awareness.
“We always try to instill Virginia Tech’s motto of Ut Prosim in our players so wearing these laces was a no-brainer,” head coach Scot Thomas said. “We play this game that we love but whenever we can bring more attention to a cause as a program we’ll do it.”
Fellow ACC squads North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Louisville have also committed to sporting yellow laces this weekend. The Hokies will face Iowa and Penn State this weekend in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge from Feb. 17-19.
The Virginia Tech softball team picked up a vote in the ESPN/USA Today preseason top 25 that was announced on Tuesday. The Hokies will face four opponents that are either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll: No. 4 Florida State, No. 16 James Madison, No. 22 Notre Dame and RV North Carolina.
Tech opens the 2017 season in Las Vegas at the 2017 Sportco Kick Off Classic. ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC first teamer Lauren Duff returns behind the plate for the Hokies and she'll be complimented by depth in the field and in the lineup.
College Sports Madness predicts an NCAA Tournament appearance and a fifth place finish in the ACC in 2017 for the Virginia Tech softball team. Joel Wesler notes the Hokies’ balanced offense and a number of key pieces returning to the lineup in Lauren Duff, Emma Strouth, Olivia Lattin, Caitlyn Nolan and Chelsea Whitcomb.
To read the full breakdown, click here.
The matchups for the 2016 ACC/Big Ten have been announced and the Virginia Tech softball team will be taking on Iowa and Penn State in Atlanta from Feb. 17-19. The full release from the ACC can be found below.
BLACKSBURG - Four years ago, former Hokie softball player Carmen Farmer picked up playing rugby as a way to fill a competitive void in her life. Her hobby soon turned into a life-changing experience for the Richmond, Virginia native as she went on to represent her country on the USA rugby sevens team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Farmer is now back in the states and took some time out to answer a few questions about her experience.
The U.S. defeated France in the fifth-place match, 19-5. Obviously, everyone wants to win the gold, but how did the team feel about its performance?
“Obviously, we would have liked to have been on that podium with a medal. But once we were out of contention, we knew we still had more games and we wanted to make sure we finished on a high note. We knew that a lot of folks back home were watching and we wanted to make sure we played with pride in those final games. France is always a feisty team to play, so we were excited to go out with a win against them.”
Considering where you were a few years ago, what was it like stepping onto the field for the first time in the prelims?
“Stepping on the field in the prelims was surreal. There was definitely a lot of anticipation leading up to it as we had been training for the last year for that particular moment. The Olympics are strange in that way. There's no ‘there's always next year’ with the Olympics. You put in so much focus on a small window that comes around only every four years, so once that moment comes you are basically frothing at the mouth and ready to just go. You are in the interesting place where you know there's this huge thing on the line, but you are also kind of at peace because now you get to go out there and put into place what you have been working on for so long.”
Did you ever think you would make it this far in the sport?
“If I'm honest with myself, then no I never really thought I would get to this point in rugby. When I picked it up four years ago, I knew that rugby was going to be in the Olympics, really had no sense of me being a part of that. Even up to a year ago, I really didn't think I had much of a shot. But I knew that I would regret it if I didn't do everything I could to give it a fair go. So that's when I decided to take a chance and move out to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA and commit to it full time. Luckily my employer was amazingly supportive and flexible enough to let me pursue it.”
Who was the coolest athlete you met and what was the interaction like?
“The coolest athlete that I met was Bubba Watson. I saw him several times in the athlete lounge in our building and each time he was super sweet. He would say hello and go out of his way to chat and ask about our experience at the Games. He was super genuine and down to earth and I really enjoyed getting to meet him. It's not every day you get to sit around and hang out with a Masters champion.”
What’s next for you in your rugby career?
“Well I'm retiring from playing sevens so there won’t' be another Olympics in my future! For now, I want to focus back on work which has been my other passion. I work for a Land Trust that focuses on helping to preserve open spaces and farm land from being developed. In particular, we work closely with farmers to help make sure they can keep their farms in their families and provide a sustainable future with that land. The Olympics was a fantastic once in a life time experience, but I'm happy to be able to come back to my career and do work that I love.”
The Virginia Tech softball team's scheduled doubleheader against Louisburg JC has been canceled due to incliment weather. The Hokies' doubleheader with West Virginia Wesleyan is still set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.
Follow the Hokies on Twitter at @VT_Softball for more updates.
Great crowd for our first games of fall ball! pic.twitter.com/Uzkk1BHLZy— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) September 25, 2016
The Virginia Tech softball team opens its fall schedule on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Tech Softball Park for the first game of the Maroon and Orange instrasquad series.
All games are free and open to the public. Below are the rosters for both squads.
The Hokies are coming off a 29-28 campaign where they finished the regular season with the sixth-toughest schedule in the nation and an RPI of 42. Tech returns 16 players from last season and 13 letterwinners including ACC Freshman of the Year Lauren Duff and Breanna Davenport, who hit .299/.520/.382 with six home runs and 20 RBI last season.
Before the Virginia Tech football team's victory over Boston College on Sept. 17 at Lane Stadium, the Hokie softball team signed autographs for fans of all ages at the Hokie Village. Thank you to all of the fans that came out!
AKRON, Ohio – The Akron Racers are continuing to celebrate their "15th Season of Play" by recognizing the 30 players who have had the biggest impact on the development of their franchise. The next IMPACT honoree to be recognized by the Racers is former pitcher Angela Tincher.
“Angela Tincher carved out an amazing career at every level,” general manager Joey Arrietta said. “Her tenacity and work ethic was stellar and she carried herself with so much poise and pride. Her contribution to the game is worth applauding once again.”
After having an outstanding career at Virginia Tech, Tincher was drafted in the first round of the 2008 National Pro Fastpitch draft by the Racers with the third overall pick. In her rookie season, Tincher wasted no time making her mark on the game, she struck out an amazing 157 batters, an Akron Racer record for a single season that still stands to this day. In fact, that strikeout total positions Tincher 11th all-time by a pitcher in the combined WPF-WPSL-NPF history.
To continue reading the Akron Racers’ release, click here.
WXFR’s Jermaine Ferrell showcased Maggie Tyler and pitching coach Angela Tincher O’Brien earlier this week, highlighting their success both in and out of the circle.
On March 18, 2016, Maggie Tyler threw her first career no-hitter in the 4-0 win over Boston College, marking the 39th no-hitter in Virginia Tech program history. It was also the first seven-inning no-hitter since pitching coach Angela Tincher O’Brien tossed on against Florida State in 2008 at the ACC Championship. Tyler’s passion for sports doesn’t end on the softball field, as she has been working in the sport broadcasting field for the last few years. Check out Ferrell’s video HERE.
Not only did coach Tincher O’Brien no-hit Florida State, but she also tossed a no-hitter against Team USA on March 26, 2008 – coined “The Miracle on Dirt”. After her stand-out career at Virginia Tech where she earned first-team all-America honors twice as well as 2008 national player of the year, Tincher O’Brien still helps in the circle but now as Tech’s pitching coach. Watch Ferrell’s video HERE.
The Hokies departed Blacksburg Friday afternoon…after Vanessa found our bus driver and guided him to the Chicken Hill lot.
Our freshmen have been enjoying their first experience on a sleeper bus…Casey and Lauren snoozed the entire drive to Raleigh.
Game Day #1: We may have lost the first game, but Kelsey slugged a grand slam late in the game to get us the W! http://vthoki.es/PDWaQ
Game Day #2: We made a new friend before our game final game in Raleigh.
Sunday started out in our favor but a late push by the Wolfpack earned the win before we headed to South Carolina.
Now that we’ve arrived in Charleston, it’s time to heal these injuries and get in some practice time (while we work on our farmers’ tans) before our doubleheader on Wednesday.
Stay tuned to see what our travels have in store. (There's rumors of exploring downtown and Fort Sumter.)
The Hokies concluded their fall slate Wednesday night with a doubleheader against local foe, Radford. Tech dropped the first game 3-1 but showed resilience in the second with a 10-4 win. Here are the highlights:
Game One: L, 1-3
Game Two: W, 10-4
The Hokies will put on their second annual Hit-A-Thon next Friday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m.
In an effort to make up previously cancelled games, the Hokies played two doubleheaders at home last weekend, walking away with a 5-1 record in their fall slate. Here are the highlights from the contests.
Saturday vs. West Virginia Weslyan
Game One: W, 9-1
Game Two: W, 16-2
Sunday vs. Richard Bland
Game One: L, 0-1
Game Two: W, 22-0
The Hokies conclude their fall schedule tomorrow against Radford with a 5 p.m. doubleheader at Tech Softball Park.
Virginia Tech softball’s volunteer coach Kylie McGoldrick will be collecting lightly used baseball and softball gear this weekend during the Hokies’ doubleheaders at Tech Softball Park. Saturday's games against West Virginia Wesleyan begin at noon, followed by Richard Blanch on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The items collected on this weekend will go to Diamonds for All, a charity that provides equipment to local teams and park districts to help kids play ball. The charity is looking to collect the bats, gloves, cleats, bat bags, baseballs, softballs, helmets, etc.
Diamonds for All was started by McGoldrick and her brother several years ago with the help of their parents. She is thankful for the opportunities she’s had to play softball and wants to help others do the same.
“My brother and I have been so blessed to play the game we love for so many years,” McGoldrick said. “The least we can do it help other kids play ball and chase their dreams.”
There will be a second collection on Oct. 23 during Tech Softball’s Hit-A-Thon, beginning at 5 p.m. More information can be found on Diamonds for All’s Facebook page here.
Virginia Tech softball finally took the field this weekend at Liberty after cancellations and relocating due to perpetual rain. Here are the highlights from the Hokies’ doubleheader.
Game One vs. Liberty: W, 5-3
Game Two vs. Virginia: W, 11-5
The Hokies added four games to their fall schedule with the prior cancellations. Tech takes the field at home for three double headers: Oct. 10 at noon, Oct. 11 at 1 p.m., and Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. The last opportunity to see your Hokies this fall is at the second annual Hit-A-Thon on Oct. 25 at 5 p.m.
Since the announcement of the second annual Hit-A-Thon, three additional celebrity hitters will participate on Oct. 23. A total of seven celebrity contestants will step up to the plate at Tech Softball Park.
To make a pledge for a Hit-A-Thon participant, contact Whitney Davis at (540) 231-7240.
The Virginia Tech softball team kicks off its fall schedule in a short 11 days from now in an afternoon double-header on Sunday, Sept. 27. Following the second game, boys and girls ages 6-10 are invited to participate in a free clinic at Tech Softball Field. Please be sure to bring a bat and glove in order to play. Go Hokies!
The last two days were loaded days … just like every other day we’ve been here! Yesterday was filled with camp, our 8 am wakeup call was followed by eight hours of the camp, which was led by the DPV guys. It was an exhausting day of activities, monitoring breaks, and we ended the camp by a trip to the beach with all 66 kids. I’ve learned so much in the last five days of camp, there’s no way I can sum everything up, but I’ll try!
My mind has been going a mile a minute since those kids left us, especially because camp is actually over and done and their bus won’t be pulling in tomorrow morning. There’s no more struggling to speak Spanish to the kids, no more hugs from my favorite little boy, Dariel, in the mornings, and no more bracelets or knick knacks that two of my favorite girls, Brenda and Haley made and brought for me. This was different than any other camp I’ve ever worked. We weren’t simply extending our soccer and volleyball knowledge, we were experiencing a culture that none of us have ever seen before. Not only did I learn about these kids, I learned the most about myself.
They might have thought that we were the ones who were teaching them, they were really the ones teaching me.
Camp was a challenge. We had a lot to organize, it was hot and sweaty, and the kids were bouncing off the walls. Putting all those things aside (because looking back, they didn’t matter) it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever been a part of. I learned so much from the DPV guys who worked the camp with us, Julio and Miguel; they taught me how to deal with children, how to be serious when needed & playful when the kids are down, and acted as great translators for my pathetic Spanish.
Finally, this experience put things in perspective for me. I look back at some of the things that bug me the most when I’m home in the States; not having a good wi-fi signal … not being able to upgrade my phone, my AC pumping so hard in my house that I need to turn it down in order to be comfortable. It made me realize how selfish those things are. We were working with kids who would never be able to have a cell phone, or didn’t have shoes to wear to the camp, so they ran around everywhere barefoot. It’s not something that I’ve ever experienced or seen before, and it really changed my perspective and made me realize how blessed I am.
We spent the rest of the night after camp visiting a village that’s a little ways from where we’re staying; eating pizza, writing papers, and reminiscing about all the amazing things we experienced during camp. I feel accomplished, and I wish I could say that we will start another camp this upcoming Wednesday, it’s hard to think that my time here is almost over.
The rest of our time here will be spent winding down. We spent the morning in class today and we all got the chance to do our own thing for the rest of the day. I’ve spent the majority of my day catching up on schoolwork, processing my thoughts after the hard part of this class was over, and dodging iguanas that escaped their cages outside our facility. (see picture)
We’re taking a trip to a nice beach tomorrow morning, so we’re looking forward to that. Buenos noches, Hokies!
The last two days have consisted of mostly camps and the occasional break, we also toured the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation on Friday Night, and that was completely fascinating. We're all pretty exhausted, but we only have one day of camp left with the kids!
Here's a few pictures I've captured the past few days to capture a little bit of what we've been doing!
Today went really, really well! I thought that yesterday went smoothly with the sports camp, but today was even better than yesterday. Now that we have a day of camp under our belts, we knew what we needed to do in order to make today run a little smoother.
One of the things I love about this class is the responsibility; it’s a blessing and a curse. While it puts a lot of pressure on us to make sure everything runs smoothly, it gives us an ultimate feeling of accomplishment when the day’s done. I loved working with the kids again and getting to know them on a personal level, learning names and smiling whenever they remembered mine. The sport of the day was volleyball, and I was surprised by how talented some of the boys and girls were and how much fun they had playing the games.
Today’s camp was led by Kelly Williford, Ben Borgert, Logan Stevens and Lauren Buckworth. Each and every one of them did a phenomenal job organizing and planning the camp, and we worked really well as a team and class in order to get everything done.
Again, the sun was beating down on us and we were pretty exhausted once 5 p.m. rolled around, but this experience is ridiculously rewarding and each and every one of us is having the experience of a lifetime.
We finished our day with a trip to the beach, followed by a delicious dinner and some relaxation back at the facility. I’m a part of the team that’s leading the camp tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that and playing with the kids once again!
We had an awesome day today, and kicked off our sports camp with the students who traveled to Punta Cana from Veron! Our class started the day off with a workout, breakfast and a short class. Today’s sports camp was planned completely by our class, and I think we all underestimated how much effort it would take to plan the whole thing, nonetheless run it.
Julio and Miguel are our two “DPV” or “Deportes para la Vid” (Sports for life) boys, and they are nothing short of amazing with the kids and with each and every one of us. Although their English might not be perfect, we are all able to make connections with them and learn so much from them in order to make this camp run efficiently. During class today, we learned and practiced a few “dominicas” from them, which are games to play with kids to break the ice and have a fun time before getting down to business.
Today’s sport was soccer, or “futbol” as the Dominicans call it, and our leaders for the day consisted of Nick, Marie, and Carson. They did a phenomenal job organizing the whole day of camp, especially because we were thrown several curve balls as a group and had to deal with them completely ourselves. With only 11 of us, and 91 of them, not to mention a language barrier, we had a huge challenge on our hands.
We handled the curve balls as a class really well, if I do say so myself. We took the kids through stations for soccer, and then had a nice break eating fruit and catching our breath. After that, we played several games of soccer with the kids, and then sent them on their way. Even though the Caribbean sun was beating down on each of us and we were exhausted, we worked as team really well to allow everyone to have a good time, ourselves included. I loved working with them and speaking my best Spanish (which isn’t very good) to try and learn more about them and their lives; there were even some softball players in our group.
I love communicating; it’s my major, and it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life … so not being able to communicate with the children today was an extreme challenge for me, and I think a lot of our class felt the same way. Although, we made it through the first day without any issues and got to end our day with a trip to the lagoon which allowed all of us to regroup after a hot and exhausting first day of camp. We have a lot to work on in order to make the camp even better tomorrow, but we’re all looking forward to the challenge!
What an awesome day today was as well! We got to wake up bright and early, make some breakfast, and travel to El Seibo. The trip took about an hour and a half, and we got to drive through some pretty neat areas. El Seibo is the city containing a batey, which is more or less the poorest of the poor communities in the DR. The people who work on the batey are all workers for various sugar cane cutting companies which can be owned by either Dominicans or Americans, and the people living in their homes earn their pay based on how much sugar cane they can cut down a day. The best of the best cutters earn about $40 a week, which is only living on a little more than $5 a day.
Once we arrived, we all met with a woman named Liz, who is actually a Virginia Tech graduate and just finished up her Master’s degree at Virginia Tech, as well. She is a Peace Corps volunteer, and has been in the Dominican Republic for the past three years. She was only “assigned” two years of service for the Peace Corps, but requested to stay even longer after the experience. She lives in the batey with the families in El Seibo, and has two minuscule rooms to live in, and goes through the same conditions as everyone else there.
Her job with the Corps involves empowering women and giving direction for healthy lifestyles with some women in the DR. Meeting her and learning about her experiences gave me an extreme admiration and respect for her, as well as the things that Peace Corps volunteers around the world do.
After getting an acclamation with the area that the batey was located at, we had the opportunity to play with the kids. We ran out to an open field with tennis balls, volleyballs and soccer balls, and the children fled out of their homes to play with us. It was so impressive the connection we made with the children, even with the language barrier holding all of us back. The little Spanish that I remember from high school came back to me quickly, and I was able to communicate with them and develop connections with some of the kids.
They quickly started shouting “mochila” at us, which translates to “backpack” in English, and each of us student-athletes took turns carrying them around on our backs, piggy-back style. I also got to play a good amount of softball with those kids, which included hitting a tennis ball into an open field with a small tree limb. No matter the condition, we found a way to have fun.
This was by far one of the most impactful experiences of my life. Learning about these children, who live on basically nothing, and getting the opportunity to see them so happy was so rewarding. There’s no picture I can show you guys, or paragraph I can write in a blog that can encapsulate that experience.
One thing I learned about the Dominican culture today was how generous they are. Liz’s host family cooked the 11 student-athletes, plus three staff, along with many others, a full on Dominican lunch consisting of rice, beans, chicken and salad. I was so humbled and blessed to enjoy a delicious meal from this generous family.
We finished our day at El Seibo and headed back to the foundation, making a few stops on the way; one which included visiting Wellington’s home, where we got to eat a lot of exotic fruit fresh off the tree, and ride around his backyard on donkeys. What an awesome, humbling experience we got to have today!
Tomorrow we host our first day of a sports camp to the children from Veron, I can’t wait to get to know them and lead them through a sports camp with my fellow student athletes!
Till tomorrow, Hokies :)
Day 2 in the Dominican Republic is in the books, and what an experience today was. We started our morning off bright and early, with a 7am run around the beach! The scenery was beautiful, and even though running isn’t my specialty, I sucked it up because you can’t really beat a morning spent running through a beautiful island in the Caribbean.
After we all showered up and got dressed, our class headed to Veron, a local city on the outskirts of Punta Cana that is a total different experience than anything I had yet to see in the DR. One of our leaders that lives down here in the Dominican Republic is named Wellington, and he drove us around all day and had awesome insight and knowledge to share with us about each area we visited.
We visited three different schools in Veron, all of which differed in their own unique ways. The kids who go to these schools are the ones who will be participating in the sports camp we will put on starting on Wednesday, so getting an insight into their lives and their experiences with education was an awesome way to build a foundation of understanding before hosting the camp. I have to admit I had a few culture shocks today; first and foremost, the language of Spanish. The last time I’ve spoke Spanish was my senior year of high school, so I was struggling to keep up with the fluent Spanish talk. Second off, I realized how blessed I am to have grown up in the United States with such phenomenal education programs.
We also had the opportunity to visit a local health clinic in Veron, where people on low incomes can come and receive treatment for illnesses and things of that sort. It was cool to hear that students from VCOM go through a rotation of service in clinics around the globe, and this small health clinic in Veron is one of their stops.
We finished a busy afternoon to visit a neighborhood in Veron which was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The houses were incredibly small and worn down, and one of the largest issues of this area is the availability of clean, drinkable water. Although, one of the biggest sustainability projects to ever hit that area was something that Virginia Tech students implemented just recently, a water management system that purified water for the local community.
Wellington emphasized multiple times how crucial Virginia Tech has been in the growth of this developing area and how much this project helped the people in this area, and how much they love Virginia Tech students. We even saw some people walking around the community with VT shirts on ... and on the wall next to the water management system was a recycle symbol, with a VT logo prominent in the circle. Proud Hokie moment.
We had a eye-opening, awesome day today filled with learning and experiences that I can hardly capture in a short blog. I hope you all are enjoying hearing about how awesome this class is, and I look forward to writing more tomorrow!
Goodnight, Hokie Nation!
Hey Hokies! My name is Maggie Tyler and I’m a rising senior on the softball team. I’m writing because I’ve been extremely blessed with the opportunity to take a class here at Virginia Tech that gives me the opportunity to travel out of the country this summer, and learn some really awesome things while I’m gone!
The name of the class is “Global Citizen Leadership” - and we’re learning about a wide variety of things before, during, and after spending 11 days down in the beautiful Dominican Republic. The class is facilitated almost completely by Danny White, who is the Assistant Athletics Director of Student Athlete Development, and an awesome guy to learn from. Today was our travel day, where myself and 10 other student athletes flew from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Punta Cana. We have already spent a week of class learning about topics such as leadership, global development, and many other self-assessment techniques to become the best leader possible and make an impact on areas of the globe that need it the most. I’ve already learned so much about myself and some topics involving leadership, and I can’t wait to bring those ideas into my senior year softball season, as well as wherever the rest of my life takes me.
We drove from Blacksburg to Charlotte early this morning, and caught an 11:55AM flight to the DR. Once we arrived, we got to learn about the area we’re staying at, which is called the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. We’re pretty lucky to be staying in one of the most beautiful parts of the island; filled with nature, wildlife (including some pretty scary spiders), and a nice and humid tropical climate. Today was pretty laid back, we got to get accustomed to the facility we’re staying in, and we quickly changed into our bathing suits and headed towards a lagoon located in the Ecological Foundation Park.
After a brief walk through the forest we spent over an hour jumping off ledges, swimming with sea turtles, and exploring the lagoon with one another. It was an awesome time to relax and enjoy our first day together without stressing about anything class-related. We made our way to another part of the park after the lagoon, the beach, where it was surprisingly empty and desolate, because most of the “real tourism” goes on at a different part of the island. We spent the rest of the night relaxing and diving a little deeper into some specifics about the history of the Dominican Republic and the specific area we’re staying at!
We get to travel to Veron tomorrow and meet some of the kids we’ll be teaching in our sports camp, and I can’t wait to fill y’all in more tomorrow!
The Virginia Tech softball team arrived in Knoxville on Thursday for the 2015 NCAA Softball Championship and had a few hours to kill before heading to its practice at Lee Field. Several of the players headed to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which is located right next to the team hotel, to take in some of the sights.
Opened in June 1999, it is the only facility of its kind dedicated to all levels of women’s basketball.
Senior Bailey Liddle and volunteer assistant coach Courtney Liddle reflect on their late mother Susan Liddle, and the impact she had on both them and the Hokie softball program even when battling breast cancer.
Senior Kylie McGoldrick personifies the Virginia Tech motto “Ut Prosim,” which translates to “That I May Serve.” Despite an intense academic and practice schedule, she still finds the time to give back to others and teach them about the game that has given her so much. McGoldrick and her brother, Ryan, found a way to incorporate their love of both softball and baseball when they founded “17K Diamonds For All,” in 2009 back in McGoldrick’s hometown of Stratford, New Jersey.
The foundation was named after the McGoldrick’s jersey No. 17. The “K” is for Kylie and “Diamond” is a reference to the baseball and softball fields. The two founded the charity with the help of their father, Kevin, and collect gently used baseball and softball equipment to then pass along to local youth centers.
McGoldrick will return to Blacksburg next year as the volunteer assistant coach for the Hokie softball program.
Friday is National Sibling Day and Virginia Tech softball wanted to recognize the four sets of sisters who have played for the Hokies. Three of the sets actually suited up together while the fourth set is a little further apart in age. Let's take a look at the four sets:
Jenna and Callie Rhodes, who combined to steal 127 career bases
Amber and Beth Walker, who helped lead the Hokies to the 2008 Women's College World Series
Courtney and Bailey Liddle, who helped take the program to new heights the past five seasons
Erin and Kiara Ota, a set who are a few years apart, but came from California to play for the Hokies.
By Jimmy Robertson
After a few years spent going to law school and several years spent practicing law in various capacities along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, former Tech softball player Carmen Farmer found herself looking for some way to scratch a competitive itch.
Once a lanky, slick-fielding shortstop for the Hokies more than a decade ago, she tried running, participating in a few half marathons and grinding out a few triathlons. But she missed the camaraderie associated with a team, so she took a rather extreme approach to remedy that.
She took on the sport of rugby – and has become well known among those who run in that circle.
The spark for rugby was lit in 2012 while in Tanzania with some law school friends who had decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The seven-day trek to the summit afforded lots of conversation time, which led to the topic of rugby.
“One of the friends on the trip is from Australia,” Farmer said. “And one of the things that got brought up was rugby. I had been trying to find some things to do to stay in shape. I had gotten into triathlons a little bit and half marathons and some of that stuff, but I missed the team environment.
“She mentioned something about rugby, and I didn’t know anything about it. I got to talking to her, and when I got home, I Googled rugby in the area, and the closest team was in Annapolis. It was a club team. The next week, I went to a practice, and it sort of took off from there.”
Farmer admitted that she knew practically nothing about the sport, which, in the simplest terms, is a form of football. There are two forms of rugby – sevens (made up of seven players on each side) and 15s. She went to a Barnes & Noble after she got back from Africa and bought a book entitled “Rugby for Dummies” to sharpen her knowledge of the sport.
As she learned more and practiced more with her club team, the Severn River Women’s Rugby Club, in Annapolis, she became intrigued – and then passionate – about her newfound hobby.
“There was that team culture, which rugby has a distinctive culture surrounding the team and the opposing team,” Farmer said, citing one of the reasons why she likes the sport. “Any time you host a team, you end up providing dinner and drinks to them no matter what, which I thought was interesting.
“Then just the athleticism. I played a lot of sports growing up, and this was one where I could take aspects from each one of those. It was a new challenge. I had never played a contact sport, and I found that interesting and intriguing.
“Also, I liked the strategy. You’re not just out there running into each other. There’s a lot of strategy that goes into it. As I’ve moved up the levels of playing it, it [the strategy] became more and more apparent, and I started to appreciate the nuances.”
Farmer’s club team made it to the 2012 Women’s Division II Club National Championship held in Fort Myers, Florida. Her team lost 8-0 in the championship game, but while there, she caught the eye of a coach for the U.S. national squad.
He handed her his business card.
“I laughed,” Farmer said. “I think I was 31 [years old] at the time and working full time. I think his words to me were something to the effect of, ‘What are your goals for your rugby career?’ and I remember giggling. The concept of a rugby career never crossed my mind.”
Farmer ended up participating in a series of different tryout camps. Roughly 60 players were vying for 26 spots at the beginning of the summer in 2013, and she ultimately earned a spot on the national team and participated in the 2014 World Cup held last August in Paris, France. The Americans did not place in the event.
Her participation, though, came with a price.
“I fractured my thumb when I was out there,” she said. “I got a taste of the French medical system, which was interesting.”
Rubgy sevens will be an Olympic sport for the first time when qualified teams head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Farmer could be a candidate for the team, though she is primarily a 15s player.
“I’m a far stretch for that,” she said of the Olympic team. “I’ll be 35 when that rolls around, so probably not.
“I’ve been out [to Colorado at the U.S. Olympic Training Center] and worked out with the Olympic team. They have a base of players that they’re working with, and they just got back from a tournament in Brazil. I haven’t been picked up. It’s [the Olympics] in the sevens form, not 15, and I’m primarily a 15 player. I do play some sevens, but I’m an outside shot for that [the Olympic team]. But on the 15 side, we do have a World Cup in 2017, and that’s loosely on my radar.”
Farmer would like to continue playing, but she also wants to be fair to her day job. She currently works for a small land trust on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, while living in Cambridge, Maryland. The non-profit organization works to protect rural lands and redevelop existing buildings and infrastructure within towns.
Her work with the non-profit organization allows her some flexibility in terms of scheduling – something she wouldn’t have in private practice. She usually takes vacation days when participating in rugby camps, or a leave of absence, which is what she did to participate in the World Cup last summer.
Farmer hasn’t played since then.
“I took some time off,” she said. “It really is a huge commitment, and you have to juggle that with a full-time job, which most of the athletes do for obvious reasons. Our World Cup team last year had an age range from 19 or 20 up to 36. So it’s quite a spectrum of young women at different places in their lives. So the kids in college, this is a grand adventure, and for some of us, we’re checking in at home to make sure things aren’t falling apart with work and your other obligations.”
Farmer is married, but has no children. She usually gets back to Blacksburg once or twice a year for a football game or a softball game, and she came back this past fall to watch the Hokies play Boston College. That marked her first trip back in a couple of years.
Farmer often went to Tech softball games when the Hokies visited College Park to play Maryland. But the Terrapins’ move to the Big Ten eliminated that series.
“I was disappointed to see Maryland leave the ACC,” Farmer said. “I’d usually go to the games when they [the Hokies] came up to College Park. That still doesn’t seem right for them to be playing Big Ten teams.”
Farmer plans on coming to Blacksburg later this spring for a softball reunion, which offers the opportunity to catch up with some of her old teammates. On one of her previous visits to Blacksburg, she snuck onto the softball field at night and walked around, reliving old times.
“I do miss it,” she said. “A couple of years ago, I snuck out on the field at night and just wondered around and reminisced. I do miss it. I miss being on those teams because you go through a lot together.
“I had an opportunity to play in Italy [professionally] one summer with Shanel Garofalo, but I ended up not doing it because I had a summer internship with a law firm. When I graduated, I said I would never play again. I didn’t have any opportunities to play in the States professionally, and I was really focusing on going to law school and moving on to the next chapter in my life. I haven’t played competitively since.”
She certainly found a unique way to fulfill her competitive desires. Rugby has afforded her many opportunities, from being part of a team to playing a sport to traveling all over the world.
For sure, she’s enjoyed postgraduate success – on and off the field.
This article appeared in the most recent Inside HokieSports. To subscribe, call 540-231-6726 or order on-line.
Even after an 11-hour bus ride home from Notre Dame, several members of the Hokie softball team found time in their busy schedule to volunteer Monday as part of the Herma's Readers initiative. Kylie McGoldrick, Michelle Prong and Elizabeth Birle represented the softball team at Gilbert Linkous Elementary to read to the youngsters, joining members of the volleyball and football teams.
Herma's Readers is a non-profit organization that promotes the power of reading and literacy to youngsters during their formative years, grades K-3. The organization was formed as a tribute to head football coach Frank Beamer's late mother, Herma Beamer, a teacher for over 30 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
You can see the video below:
With two members of its family battling a form of the disease, plus countless others around the world fighting the battle, the Virginia Tech softball team took part in Cancer Awareness Day at Tech Softball Park Sunday against Florida State. The Hokies have adorned two stickers on the back of their batting helmet to support Carrie Hendrick, a former G.A. athletic trainer who is undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, and Michelle Meadows, a Tech Hall of Famer who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
“We always want to support everybody we can when there is a need, especially when they are one of our own,” said head coach Thomas. “Michelle and Carrie are both in a fight with cancer that we support with our love, thoughts and prayers.”
Both Hendrick and Meadows were on hand Sunday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and here are few pictures from the day, along with a great Facebook post from Hendrick.
This will be the last entry as the Hokies are done with their trip to Hawaii. It’s been an awesome experience as most of the travel party had never been to the island. The weather was fantastic every day and the hospitality was top-notch. I’m sure head coach Scot Thomas will try to add this stop in the regular four-year rotation if the budget allows for it.
Yesterday, the Hokies played two games, so there wasn’t a lot of time for anything but softball. Some time was spent at the beach in the morning by some, and some went hiking, but for the most part, it was all business. The Hokies dispatched Columbia 8-0 in five innings and then used a Katey Smith home run in the sixth inning to beat Hawaii 1-0 and finish the tournament 5-0 and champions.
It was good to see Heather McKenzie at the games yesterday. For those who don’t know her, Mac was a pitcher on the first Virginia Tech squad in 1996 and pitched in THE first game in Hokie history. She was rocking the warmup jacket from that 1996 squad and suffice to say, the styles have changed a bit since the mid-90s. McKenzie lives in Maui and took the short flight over to O’ahu for the games. We also had some members of the Hokies in Hawaii club come out and support us!
It’s our last morning here, but don’t be surprised if everyone gets up early and gets a few hours in at the beach for those last-minute rays or does some last-minute shopping. We’ll head to the airport at 11 a.m. for the six-hour flight to Phoenix, and then will take the red-eye back to Charlotte, landing at 6 a.m. Monday. It’ll be a bus ride back to Blacksburg and then reality hits as the girls will have to be back in class and not on the beach!
Again, thanks again for following along this whole week and hopefully we’ll see everyone out at Radford Wednesday for our game against the Highlanders.
Special thanks to "Big Mac" McKenzie for flying from Maui to watch us play. She threw the very first VTSB game ever! pic.twitter.com/FcnYGzQz48— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) March 15, 2015
I’m starting to run out of things to talk about as it seems like every day is a repeat: sun, beaches, snorkeling and softball, but it’s true. With games in the late afternoon and evening, plus with us still waking up early with the time difference, a lot of this is the same every day. Yesterday’s weather was picture-pefect in the morning as most of the team caught some rays on the beaches of Waikiki while a good number of players went to Hanauma Bay to go snorkeling at the world-famous spot. Also, Coach Tincher O'Brien got up early to watch a jaw-dropping sunrise and was kind enough to share a picture with us.
At the beach, several of the girls rented stand-up paddleboards or kayaks and enjoyed the weather while most just relaxed in the sand and enjoyed being on spring break. For lunch, a taco stand was found, which is always a favorite, and our trainer Freddy sampled just about every free cookie at the Honolulu Cookie Company before settling on the sampler platter of boxed cookies.
In the afternoon, the Hokies headed back over to Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium for a game with Western Illinois. It turn pretty windy in the afternoon, but was still a gorgeous day for some yellowball. The Hokies came out and took care of business, putting away the Leathernecks 9-0 in five innings. Michelle Prong and Jessie Mehr both hit home runs and Kelly Heinz shut down WIU and ended the game early. A couple of the Hokie faithful were more than pleased with the early ending as it meant they could get back to the hotel and enjoy the free “snacks” provided by the hotel each evening.
The Hokies will play their final two games on the island today as they take on Columbia at 1 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. Eastern, and Hawaii at 6 p.m. local time, midnight back in the East. Tomorrow, we’ll leave here at 11 a.m. local time, land in Phoenix around 11 p.m. local time and then land in Charlotte on Monday at 6 a.m. It’ll be a long day for sure, but this trip has been awesome and it’ll be worth it. As always, below are some tweets and pictures from the day.
Our roving, GoPro reporter Maggie Tyler has been putting together some pretty cool videos while she's out here so we thought we'd share them with you. The first one is from the Hokies' long day of travel and the first day featuring the luau. The second one is a day on Waikiki Beach. The third one is from the pool and the field before Tech beat St. Bonaventure on the first day of the tournament and the fourth one shows the team hike to the top of Diamond Head and some scenes before Tech's win over Hawaii on Thursday. The fifth one is from Hanauma Bay, where the girls went snorkeling on Friday, plus a dance-off at the field before Tech's 9-0 win over Western Illinois. The last one is from Tech's last day of games as the Hokies wrapped up a 5-0 stay on the island with wins over Columbia and Hawaii. Enjoy!
We’re headed to the back half of the week now as we begin to wind down here in Hawaii. It was “only” 76 and a little breezy today, but you would have thought it was near freezing based on the blankets and sweatshirts sported by the fans. Everyone keeps apologizing for the weather, but really, we’re okay with it.
The Hokies had the late game last night, taking on a powerful Hawaii team at midnight back in Blacksburg time. Katey Smith had a big double early on to plate two runs and Maggie Tyler was dominant in the circle as the Hokies picked up a nice 3-1 win. I continue to be amazed by the support this team gets everywhere as our contingent of fans almost equalled Hawaii’s and was definitely louder.
Speaking of fans, remember our little Austalian friend who wrote Maggie the note? Well, they took time out of their vacation to come watch the game and even gave a “Go Hokies” in her cute Australian accent right before the game to fire up the team. We thank them for their support!
Earlier in the day, the girls went to Pearl Harbor. With Tech having military ties, it was a special place to pay tribute to those who served our great country. Ashley Kowalski, a freshman on the team and a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, brought her uniform and paid tribute to the memorial in a classy way that was well received. You can see that picture below.
Some of the staff headed across the island to a private beach and spent the morning snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding ... and maybe a nap was taken in a hammock below a coconut tree. All in all, it was a great day despite the so-called lousy weather.
Game three is today as the Hokies will take on Western Illinois at 3:30 local time, 9:30 p.m. back in the East. As always, below are some tweets and pictures from the day.
Truly a humbling experience visiting Pearl Harbor today. So thankful for all their brave souls ❤️💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/giRgAw45KA— Kylie McGoldrick (@KylieMcGoldrick) March 12, 2015
The team visited Pearl Harbor this morning where they paid respects at the USS Arizona and met some Veterans of war. pic.twitter.com/8Y4wtHC4v2— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) March 12, 2015
Ashley Kowalski of VTSB and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, in uniform at the USS Arizona Memorial here in Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/Q1VmrQNDcc— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) March 13, 2015
Not much to report on Day 3 as the Hokies had their first game of the tournament, a 6-1 win over St. Bonaventure. With the game in the afternoon, it gave everyone the morning to do what they wanted. The staff went to the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor while the girls will head there this morning. After the tour, the nine of us went to a local swap meet outside Aloha Stadium where hundreds of vendors gather each Wednesday and Saturday to sell local merchandise, foods and trinkets. Director of Operations Whitney Davis was quite pleased with her coconut water, as you can see below.
A few of the girls went snorkeling in the morning and head coach Scot Thomas took his family to a ranch across the island where they filmed scenes from Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates and Lost.
In the afternoon, the Hokies took care of business, jumping on the Bonnies with three home runs and freshman Mikaela Aiken gave up just one run late in the game. The highlight of the game was the sporty shirts the staff wore, which you can see below. Aloha!
After the game, some of the team members were seeing the manager about his special in uniform and met some interesting folks. The girls made friends with a young girl who lives in Australia, and apparently is now a huge fan. You can see the note she sent us. Also, a Japanese umpire was quite excited to see some softball players and even took some pictures with us. The language barrier existed, even though assistant coach Angela Tincher O’Brien played in Japan for a year. Seems like she forget most of the Rosetta Stone she learned while over there.
Today, Tech will have a stiff task as it plays Hawaii at 6 p.m. local time. Yes, that’s midnight back east, so get your nap in now. The Rainbow Wahine are one of the better non-Power 5 programs in the country having made it to the WCWS in 2010 and the Hokies will certainly face the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week in Brittany Hitchcock. You can follow along on live stats, or UH has a basic live feed for you to watch.
We’ll check in again tomorrow, but as the games pick up, the free time winds down and it’s a business trip. But here are some pictures and tweets from yesterday.
Day two is in the books and it’s now game day. The Hokies will take on St. Bonaventure at 3:30 p.m. ... the same time the men’s basketball team will play Miami, just they play at 9:30 Eastern. In fact, as I write this at 6 a.m., Florida State and Clemson are about to tip off. The time change is definitely something you have to get used to.
Yesterday, the team got up early and headed over to Rainbow Wahine Stadium for a workout and practice. The staff was pretty pleased with the first hour and 45 minutes, but didn’t like the focus of the last 10 minutes. Hopefully that’s all out of the system.
As you can imagine, upon arrival back the beach was the popular destination and every spent several hours there. There are several food trucks across the street, which made for a quick and easy lunch with a local flair. Waikiki Beach is a block from our hotel and the view is magnificent. The staff got a little adventurous and got in the rental cars and explored the coast, visiting several beaches and popular spots. That’s about it to report as most everyone was on their own. Some of the team is going to Pearl Harbor to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial this morning and the rest of the team is going tomorrow.
Everyone is having a great time, but it’s now game day! Check us out tonight on this live stream if you want to watch as if you were here, except just without the 80 degree temperatures! Link: http://www.livestream.com/nawwahinesoftball
Again, here are some pictures from the day.
Dinner last night 💙 pic.twitter.com/fcLBmSJucH— Kylie McGoldrick (@KylieMcGoldrick) March 11, 2015
Well, we’re here and ready for our first full day here in Hawaii to begin Spring Break. The team left Monday morning well before the sun cameup, leaving Blacksburg at 2:30 a.m. for its flight out of Charlotte. The first five-hour flight wasn’t too bad, but the second flight, which was seven hours, was a little rough. But upon arrival into Honolulu International Airport, spirits were immediately lifted when everyone saw it was in the mid-70s and not a trace of snow on the ground!
All the luggage arrived safely and the team bused to its hotel near Waikiki Beach. A quick luggage drop off and clothes change occurred and the team was back on the bus to a Polynesian luau on southeast corner of the island. Along the way, we passed Diamond Head and several scenic beaches, filled with surfers and marine life ... truly spectacular views from up high on the road ways. The luau was great and everyone was really hungry and then settled into the show, which featured different dances and traditions from the South Pacific countries. Some of the girls even had a chance to get up on stage, so hopefully we'll get some video of that up at some point.
Around 8 p.m., even though the show was still going on, a lot of people hit the wall with having been up early and the six-hour time different. Once back to the hotel at 9, pretty everyone crashed and now we’re on to our first full day. It’s a little after 6 a.m. here, but in Blacksburg it’s already lunch time. The team will head out for practice at 8 a.m. to do a full body circuit session and then practice. A lot of the girls and staff are a little bummed they can’t watch the men’s game vs. Wake Forest, but it’s on at 9 a.m. here and they’ll be practicing.
Everyone is on their own for the rest of the day and expectations are high for most everyone to be at the beach. The Hokies open play in this tournament tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. local time, 9:30 p.m. in Blacksburg against Columbia, so be sure to check out the live stats.
Thanks for check us out and see below some of the tweets from the trip so far.
Beautiful Hawaii 💙 pic.twitter.com/2z0j1snk2P— Kylie McGoldrick (@KylieMcGoldrick) March 10, 2015
Enjoying a team dinner at a luau on our first night here in Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/87imqAPhdU— VT Softball (@VT_Softball) March 10, 2015
Aloha O'ahu 🌊🌴🌺 pic.twitter.com/w31u2pmwgd— Alyssa Clark (@AlyssaClark24) March 10, 2015