Hokie trio earns preseason All-America honors

FloTrack Release

AUSTIN, Texas – Virginia Tech track and field’s redshirt senior Torben Laidig and freshmen Rachel Baxter and Lisa Gunnarsson have been named preseason indoor All-Americans by flotrack.org in the pole vault event.

Laidig, a native of Germany, is no stranger to All-America honors as he earned first-team twice and honorable mention once in his storied career. The reigning ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year has won gold at the ACC conference championship meet two times (2014 indoor, 2017 indoor) and silver three times (2014 indoor, 2016 indoor, 2016 outdoor).

Baxter had a decorated prep career, being ranked as the high school All-American No. 1 girls’ pole vaulter twice (2016, 2017) by Track & Field News Magazine, and winning the CIF state championship twice. The California native rewrote the record books at the high school level, setting the NFHS, California, Orange County and Canyon High School top mark.

Gunnarsson is coming to Blacksburg with international experience, claiming gold at the 2017 European U20 Championships and silver at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival. The Sweden native was the youngest pole vaulter at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, and her personal-best mark of 4.55 meters (14 feet, 11 inches) ranked as the No. 2 U-20 vault in the world last year.

The trio will get to begin their quest for All-American status in 2018 on Jan. 13, as the Hokies’ track and field squad heads up to State College, Pennsylvania, to compete at the Nittany Lion Challenge hosted by Penn State.

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