No. 7 Hokies end indoor season with two ACC honors

BLACKSBURG – On the heels of its best finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in program history, the No. 7-ranked Virginia Tech track and field men’s team collected two Atlantic Coast Conference honors, as announced by the league office on Friday.

Coach Dave Cianelli was named the 2017 ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, while freshman Michael Davenport was voted the ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year.

“This is a great honor to be selected by my peers in the conference as the ACC Men’s Coach of the Year,” Cianelli said. “This award really belongs to our entire coaching staff and our student-athletes who preformed so well this past indoor season.

“I am very excited for Michael Davenport and coach Tim Vaught on Michael being selected as the ACC Men’s Freshman of the Year. Considering the strength of our conference, this award is indeed special.”

Cianelli earned the honor for the 11th time in his 16-year Virginia Tech tenure, as he helped guide the Hokie men to their fourth ACC indoor title – all of which have come since 2011. The men’s squad totaled 109 points in the win, finishing 11 points ahead of in-state rival Virginia.

Cianelli, who also was named the Southeast Region Men’s Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA), then guided the men’s squad to a program best seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Hokies’ finish also was the highest among ACC teams this year.

Additionally, Davenport is the first ever male sprinter to win this award and is only the fourth male athlete to receive this award since Tech joined the conference in 2004. Of note, teammate Torben Laidig was the last Hokie recognized on the men’s side (2014).

“Mike was a high-level recruit,” Vaught said. “He also played football and there was a good amount of SEC schools after him during the recruiting process. It was really big to try and get him to focus on track and field, so when I got the phone call that he wanted to come here, I was ecstatic.

“He could be a huge asset to our program because of his wide range of abilities, and he could really help this program a lot with that aspect of it. We wanted him to score in all the sprint events at conference. He kind of fell short in the 400, but he made it to the finals in the 200, so it definitely helped us win the ACC Championship.”

Davenport emerged as an important part of the Hokies’ running rotation, competing in both the 200- and 400-meter events and running the second leg on the 4x4 relay team. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native earned second-team All-ACC honors in the 200 meters at the ACC Indoor Championships with a fifth-place time of 21.40. That followed a solid qualifying effort a day earlier in which Davenport posted a career-best time of 21.26, assuring him of the opportunity to compete in the finals and securing crucial points in Virginia Tech’s first-place team effort.

Of note, Davenport owns the fourth-fastest time on Tech’s all-time list in the 200 along with the sixth-best mark in the 400. He also was a member of the school-record breaking 4x400 relay team, as the Hokie quartet captured gold at the Music City Challenge, resetting an 18-year-old record with a time of 3:11.11.

“Mike is still at the beginning stages of his career, but I feel like outdoors is going to be a good season for him,” Vaught said. “He is going to continue to develop and grow as an athlete, and I look forward to watching that process. I see him being an ACC champion and a national qualifier. He also is going to be a competitor in the 200. That is his favorite event, but you never know with track and field. He ranges from the 100 [meters] to the 400 [meters]. Right now, the 200 is his best performance at the collegiate level.”

Of note, the accolades were determined by a vote of the league’s head coaches.

The Hokies will switch over to the outdoor season on March 24-25 at the Weems Baskins Invitational in Columbia, South Carolina.

ACC Men’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year – Justyn Knight, Syracuse

ACC Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Year – Shakima Wimbley, Miami

ACC Men’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year – Jordan Young, Virginia

ACC Women’s Indoor Field Performer of the Year –Michelle Atherley, Miami

ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year – Michael Davenport, Virginia Tech

ACC Women’s Indoor Freshman of the Year – Eleonora Omoregie, Florida State

ACC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year – Dave Cianelli, Virginia Tech

ACC Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year – Amy Deem, Miami

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