Two weeks into fall practice, Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente and his staff named a starting quarterback, tabbing Josh Jackson to be the man behind center when the Hokies kick off the season Sept. 3 against West Virginia at FedExField in Landover, Maryland. Jackson, a redshirt freshman from Ann Arbor, Michigan, was battling for the job last season before the staff named Jerod Evans the starter, and Jackson wound up taking a redshirt season. His experience and consistency compared to the other competitors pushed him into a starting role. Other positions still receiving scrutiny are the team’s receivers, which feature several young, untested players to go with veteran Cam Phillips, and the spots on the defensive line, where the staff keeps searching for depth. The team participates in its 13th practice of the fall today and holds an intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday. Fan Appreciation Day is slated for Sunday at the Indoor Practice Facility – a date that also marks the two-week deadline before the first game kicks off.
After a 2-0 win over Charlotte in which Alani Johnson and Chandler McDaniel scored goals, the Virginia Tech women’s soccer program now gears up for its season opener Friday evening. Last year, Tech saw its string of nine consecutive NCAA appearances snapped when the selection committee snubbed the Hokies despite 11 wins and an RPI of 38. If Tech wants to return to the NCAA tournament, it needs to replace the program’s all-time leading goal scorer in Murielle Tiernan, a three-time, All-ACC first-team selection, and longtime stalwart Candace Cephers. Head coach Chugger Adair returns seven players who started at least 11 games last season, though, including seniors Madi Conyers and Johnson, and 16 players who started at least one game. So the foundation appears to be in place. Tech starts its quest to return to the NCAA tournament with a two-game tournament in San Diego – an event that starts Friday with the Hokies playing the University of San Diego at 10 p.m. The tournament concludes Sunday when Tech plays Pepperdine at 2 p.m.
A small contingent of Virginia Tech student-athletes participated in the Hokie L.E.A.D. Internship Program this summer. L.E.A.D. – which stands for Learn, Experience, Achieve and Develop – allows student-athletes to gain real-world experience in different areas of college athletics over the course of 10 weeks. In 2015, the athletics department’s Office of Student-Athlete Development created the Hokie L.E.A.D. Internship Program, with the intention of providing student-athletes interested in careers in intercollegiate athletics the opportunity to gain experience in an environment that was understanding of their academic and athletics schedules. Coleman Fox (Hokie Club), Brent Musselman (nutrition), Peter Seufer (marketing), Gaby Senties (photography), and Jaila Tolbert (marketing) were the ones who participated, using the program to learn about their prospective fields, take advantage of networking opportunities and enhance their communication skills.
Virginia Tech became the latest university to participate in the Washington Nationals’ College Day at National Park, as legions of Hokie fans gathered for the Nationals home game against the Florida Marlins on Aug. 8. In June, the Nationals started featuring seven local universities from the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) with a dedicated night at Nationals Park, an event allows faculty, alumni and fans of that school to congregate, while also watching the Nationals play. The Nationals organization honored the Hokies’ 1977 baseball team that won a school-record 31 straight games during a pregame ceremony, and a contingent from Virginia Tech Athletics, including cheerleaders, added to the Hokies’ presence, making for a good night in the nation’s capitol.
An inspiring sunrise greeted Hokies recently, as Virginia Tech geared up to begin a new year in academics and athletics. Fall sports are underway, classes begin at Tech on Aug. 28, and Hokie football kicks off with a marquee matchup against West Virginia at FedExField on Sept. 3.