H2Okies Ink Six in Spring Signing
Hawkins, Stewart, Martin, Allen, Meyer and West to join Tech
May 15, 2007 BLACKSBURG, Va. --- The Virginia Tech swimming and diving team has added six new student-athletes to the incoming class, head coach Ned Skinner announced Tuesday. Stephen Hawkins, Trey Stewart and Daniel Martin will join the men's team, while Morgan Allen, Abby Meyer and Natalie West will join the women's team. These athletes will enroll in classes for the 2007-2008 academic year. These Hokies bolster a strong early signing class, with Collegeswimming.com recently ranking the women's recruiting class 14th in the nation. Stephen Hawkins, a native of Lynchburg, Va., comes to Virginia Tech from Jefferson Forest High School. Hawkins dominated the AA High School State meet by winning two individual events, taking the 50 freestyle in a time of 20.84 and the 100 freestyle in 45.52. His time in the 100 freestyle set a new AA High School State record. Coached by Doug Fonder at Roanoke Gators, his swims were Senior National cuts and lowered the team records in these events. Voted most improved for the Virginia Gators, he also carries top times in the 100 backstroke (52.77) and the 100 butterfly (51.09). Hawkins, holding a 3.8 grade point average, also considered the University of Florida. "Having Stephen join our program excites us tremendously," Skinner said. "Stephen enjoyed huge time drops this year and we feel he is just getting warmed up. He adds great strength and stroke efficiency together to produce fast swimming. Stephen, being a former Fighting Gobbler swim camper, joins a great core of sprinters. We look forward to working with him and seeing how far he can go in the sport." Trey Stewart comes to Virginia Tech from Luling, La. Stewart swims under Billy Newport with Crawfish Aquatics out of Baton Rouge, La., and enters Virginia Tech with top times of 50.62 and 1:47.95 in the butterfly events; 1:52.42 and 4:00.23 in the individual medleys; 51.03 and 1:51.66 in the backstroke events; 1:42.18 and 4:39.83 in the freestyle events. Stewart, a U.S. National qualifier, U.S. Open qualifier, Junior National qualifier and 5-time state champion, ranks in the top 3 in 8 events for Louisiana swimming and is the Louisiana state record holder in the 200 butterfly for the 18 and younger age group. With a 4.0 GPA, Stewart chose the Hokies over Texas, Texas A&M, North Carolina State and the University of Connecticut. "We are thrilled to have Trey join the Hokie Nation," Skinner said. "Trey has an unbelievable work ethic and is a tremendous leader. His characteristics were shown with his great year in the pool and in the classroom. Trey comes from a strong background with dry-land work and this experience has helped him learn how to train and listen to his body. Being as versatile as he is, he will help the Hokies in numerous areas, but mainly in keeping a strong tradition rolling with his butterfly." Daniel Martin, hails from Fairfax, Va., where he attended Woodson High School. Martin is the 2007 AAA Virginia High School Champion. A 2006 AAU National Qualifier, he has experienced great improvement over the past two years and looks to continue this tread as a Hokie. Choosing the Hokies over Georgia Tech and Drexel, Martin excels on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform events. The platform event will be a newly scored event at the conference championships and Martin looks to take full advantage of its inaugural run. "Daniel has made some great strides in his diving over the past year and a half," Ron Piemonte, Tech's head diving coach, said. "He is a strong diver who possesses skill much beyond his experience level. He will add a lot of depth to the 2007 H2Okies men's squad both on springboards and the platform." Hawkins, Stewart and Martin will join fall signees Ryne Francis, Zach Holmes, Cameron Gledhill, Marc Greenberg, Richard Ulatowski and Carter Moore in the H2Okie swimming and diving program. Morgan Allen, joining the Hokies from Charlotte, N.C., swims under Steve Billings with North Mecklenburg Aquatics. Allen, a Scholastic All-American and National Honor Student, attends North Mecklenburg High School and was a member of the 4A state championship relay team coached by Tim Queen. Improving each year, Allen has also experienced success in triathlons, open water swimming and running competitions. She recently won the 5k open water swim challenge at the Southern Zone meet last summer in Atlanta. Joining the Hokies with times of 24.34 and 53.20 in the sprint freestyle events, Morgan will unite with a talented core of sprinters. Allen chose the Hokies over East Carolina University, Vanderbilt University and Clemson. "Morgan comes to the Hokies with a strong athletic background, one that we feel will provide her the base to become a top notch sprinter for the Hokies," Skinner said. "With relays being a significant factor in college swimming, Morgan's strong relay experience will prove her to be a vital part of Hokie sprinting. We are very intrigued by her tenacious desire to be a great swimmer in our conference and are happy to have her join our Hokie family." Abby Meyer comes to Virginia Tech from Frederick, Md. Abby swims under Andy Lehner at Monocacy Aquatic Club and has recently seen great time drops over the last few of seasons. She will enter Virginia Tech with top times of 1:06.32 and 2:22.42 in the breaststroke events and 1:54.45 and 5:06.85 in the freestyle events. Meyer received the 2004 Gatorade Rookie of the Year award for Frederick County Swimming, then followed up the award by being named 2005 and 2006 Frederick County Swimmer of the Year. With only five years of training under her belt, Meyer qualified for the 2006 Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla. Meyer enters Virginia Tech in the honors program and will be along side her brother Josh, who is also a Hokie. Abby also considered James Madison University, Miami (Ohio) and William & Mary. "We are very excited to have Abby join our program in the fall," Skinner said. "She joins a very strong breaststroke group that we feel will be the strongest in the ACC. Her strong work ethic and great attitude will help her transition into an action packed training group and aid in her climb up the ACC rankings. Her love for the Hokies shines bright and we are thrilled to have her in Blacksburg this fall." Natalie West, joining the Hokies form Springfield, Va., was a two sport star from Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. Her success varied from the diving boards to the lacrosse fields. West's focus turned solely to the boards where she was a two-time All-American for Patriot Dive Club and the 2002 East National Champion. A national qualifier, she holds many pool records for the Parliament Pool. West also has experienced success on the gymnastics floor. A former National champion in tumbling, she is a level 5, 6 and 7 on the gym floor. "Natalie is a very accomplished diver who ended up being sidelined by a knee injury," Piemonte said. "She is coming back from that injury and will be back up to full strength to provide the Hokie diving squad with a strong presence at the ACC level." Allen, Meyer and West will join fall signees Steffi Drechsel, Marianne Flynn, Kaleigh Gomes, Lauren Haley, Sarah Milton, Lauren Ritter and Emily Tipton to the Hokie swimming and diving program.