The quartet of Vincent Ciattei, Greg Chiles, Patrick Joseph and Neil Gourley became a part of Virginia Tech history Friday night when they won the national title in the distance medley relay event at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held Friday and Saturday at Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas. The group ran the event in a time of 9 minutes, 30.76 seconds, easily holding off Notre Dame and 10 other teams and becoming the Tech program’s first distance runners to win a national championship. The title marked the Hokies’ 17th individual event championship combined among the men’s and women’s teams. Also, Ciattei won a silver medal in the mile, running the event in a school-record time of 3:58.36, and both Joseph and Gourley came in fourth and seventh, respectively, in the mile. In addition, Deakin Volz won a bronze medal in the pole vault with a best vault of 5.60 meters (18 feet, 4.5 inches). The Tech men finished in fourth place – the program’s best finish ever at an NCAA meet indoor or outdoor – with 31 points. On the women’s side, the Hokies came in 14th behind the DMR team of Katie Kennedy, Courtney Blanden, Laurie Barton and Sarah Edwards, which took home bronze. Also, Lisa Gunnarsson was fourth in the pole vault, and Rachel Pocratsky came in sixth in the 800-meter run. For the meet, Tech registered 13 All-America honors, with 11 student-athletes earning first-team honors. The meet concluded the indoor season. The outdoor season starts March 23-24 at the Weems Baskins Invitational in Columbia, South Carolina.
Vincent Ciattei, Greg Chiles, Patrick Joseph, Neil Gourley
These four young men became the first distance runners in Virginia Tech track and field history to win a national title in any event, taking home the gold medal in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend. Their time of 9:30.76 was nearly a second ahead of both Notre Dame and Oregon. Tech trailed after the first two legs, but Joseph ran the 800-meter portion in a time of 1:46.23 – the best among the 12 runners at this distance – to give Gourley the lead, and then Gourley anchored things by running the 1,600 in a time of 3:58.64. Tech’s track and field programs now have combined to win 17 national championship events, and the Hokies have won at least one individual national championship event in eight of the past 10 years.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team will be making a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, as Buzz Williams, Devin Wilson, Justin Bibbs and the Hokies found out Sunday that they will be playing Alabama on Thursday night in a first-round game at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tech last appeared in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 1984-85 and 1985-86. The Hokies – one of nine ACC teams to make the field – enter the tournament with a 21-11 record and as the No. 8 seed in the East Region, while the Crimson Tide come in with a 19-15 mark and as the No. 9 seed. The game marks a homecoming for Wilson, a fifth-year senior who grew up near Pittsburgh (For more click here). The Hokies and Tide have met 14 times in their histories, with Alabama winning nine of those, but the two teams last met in 1989. Tech went 1-1 against Southeastern Conference teams this season. The game tips at approximately 9:20 p.m. and can be seen on TNT.
Using outstanding pitching from Connor Coward, Ian Seymour and Andrew McDonald, the Virginia Tech baseball team won two of three games against Pittsburgh in the ACC-opening series held Friday and Saturday at English Field at Union Park. With the wins, Tech moved to 8-8 overall on the season, 2-1 in ACC play, and for the first time since joining the ACC, Tech won its ACC-opening series (2007 2010). Coward was dominant in the Hokies’ 4-1 victory in the first game, striking out a career-high 12 in seven innings, while allowing just four hits before giving way to McDonald, who got the save. JD Mundy provided the pop with a two-run homer. In the second game – a 3-1 Tech win – Seymour allowed just a run on four hits and struck out 10, while McDonald notched another save. Luke Horanski took care of the offense, with his two hits, including a solo homer. Tech lost the finale 15-10 despite another homer from Mundy and four hits and four RBI from Tom Stoffel. Saturday’s win in the first game marked the 400th in head coach John Szefc’s coaching career, which includes seven years at Marist and five at Maryland before coming to Blacksburg to take over the helm of the Hokies. Tech returns to action Wednesday with a non-conference game against Bryant at English Field. The first pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
Bouncing back from two ACC losses the previous weekend, the Virginia Tech women’s tennis team return to the win column, beating Old Dominion 4-3 and knocking off Tulane 6-1 on Saturday at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center in Norfolk, Virginia. With the victories, Tech moved to 10-2 overall on the season. The Hokies closed the weekend by winning all three doubles matches against Tulane to claim the doubles point, and then won five of six singles matches. Nina Sorkin, who won both of her matches on Saturday, claimed Tech’s first singles victory with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Sofia Kurtz. Elena Cerezo-Codina then won at the No 3 spot, and Caroline Daxhelet sealed the team victory with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Laura Fabrizi. Against the Monarchs, the Hokies lost the doubles point, but rallied in singles behind wins from Nika Kozar, Sorkin and Natalie Novotna. Katherine Butler clinched it for Tech with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Adriana Rajkovic. The Hokies return to the court Friday with an ACC match at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The action starts at noon.
Virginia Tech women’s tennis standout Katherine Butler is a leader as one of four seniors on the women’s tennis team, while also pursuing a degree in literature and language. The young woman from Charlotte, North Carolina answered the following questions so fans could get to know her as more than just a talented student-athlete.
Q: What would be your dream vacation?
KB: I have always wanted to visit Iceland to see the northern lights.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat?
KB: My favorite food is sushi, so I love to eat at Green's for their sushi rolls.
Q: What is your favorite city that you've visited?
KB: I had the chance to visit one of my former teammates in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics. It was such a special experience I will never forget.
Q: If you could play another sport, what would it be?
KB: I would choose basketball because it is my favorite sport to watch (besides tennis)!
Q: Why did you choose Virginia Tech?
KB: The athletics and academics were both strong, but more importantly, I felt really comfortable with the coach and the team on my official visit.
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
KB: New York City because I have always wanted to live in a big city at some point in my life, and my older sister lives there, too.
Q: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be?
KB: I'd love to trade places for a day with Emma Watson because she is my favorite actress, model, and activist. Plus, she is super famous and wealthy and lives in England, which would make for a fun day.
Q: What type of music are you listening to these days?
KB: Right now, I am listening to a lot of the songs in the top charts. Also, before matches my teammates and I like to listen to rap.
Q: What is the talent you’d most like to have?
KB: I have never been good at cooking, but I wish I was. It seems like a fun talent to have, and I would save a lot of money, too.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a Virginia Tech athlete?
KB: I love being a Hokie and a part of not only the Virginia Tech community, but also the Blacksburg community. The support we have as student-athletes here is unbeatable and I am constantly encouraged to be the best I can be as both an athlete and a student in so many ways.
Following a two-game spring break trip to Colorado in which it went 1-1, the Virginia Tech women’s lacrosse team returned home and pulled the upset, knocking off No. 17 Notre Dame 9-6 in an ACC game played at the Indoor Practice Facility on Tech’s campus. The win marked the Hokies’ first over the Irish, snapping an eight-game losing streak, and they moved to 6-3 overall, 2-0 in ACC action. Tech jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind goals from five different players. Goals by Paige Petty and Emma Harden to start the second half pushed the Hokies’ lead to 8-1 and Notre Dame couldn’t catch up. Petty and Harden each scored two goals, while Julia Bolte added a goal and an assist, and Meagh Graham registered nine saves. Tech, which has won six of its past seven games, returns to the field Sunday when it takes on Delaware in a non-conference game at Thompson Field. The game starts at noon.
Virginia Tech women’s golfer Elizabeth Bose made school history at the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida this past Wednesday when she became the first Tech women’s golfer ever to win a collegiate tournament. The junior from Norfolk, Virginia shot rounds of 71, 69 and 70 to finish at 6-under-par and beat Miami’s Renate Grimstad and Oklahoma’s Rylee Pedigo by a stroke. She made three birdies compared to a solitary bogey in the final round to hold off Grimstad and Pedigo. As a team, the Hokies came in fourth in the 13-team tournament, finishing 16 shots behind winner Miami and 13 behind second-place Oklahoma. Coastal Carolina was third. Tech’s Amanda Hollandsworth and Emily Mahar finished tied for 24th and tied for 32nd, respectively. The Hokies continue their spring season Friday when they play at the 3M Augusta Invitational held at Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The three-round affair concludes Sunday.
Emma Strouth hit a solo home run and Carrie Eberle delivered another strong pitching performance to carry the Virginia Tech softball team to a 2-1 victory over Syracuse in the series finale Saturday at Tech Softball Park. The Hokies, who lost the first two games of the series, are now 11-12 overall on the season, 1-2 in league play. Eberle went the distance in the circle, allowing just a run on four hits, while striking out two in registering her fourth win of the season. Strouth hit her second homer of the season in the second inning, and the Hokies added another run in the fifth when Kinsey Johnson scored on a wild pitch. The Hokies return to action Friday when they take on Florida State in the first game of a three-game series in Tallahassee, Florida. The first pitch Friday is slated for 6 p.m.
The wait is finally over for the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team, which learned its postseason fate Monday night. For the third straight season, the Hokies will play in the 64-team Women’s National Invitation Tournament and open competition Friday evening at Carilion Clinic Court against Navy. Tech enters the tournament with an 18-13 record, while Navy comes in with a 25-7 mark. The two teams met in the second round of last season’s WNIT, with the Hokies coming away with a 75-64 victory – part of their run to the tournament’s Elite Eight. The tip-off time for the game is 7 p.m. Tickets went on sale Tuesday morning at 10, with the prices running at $10 for adults and $5 for youth tickets (18 and younger), along with a $5 charge for Tech students. However, the first 200 Tech students at the Cassell Coliseum ticket window will receive a free ticket thanks to a generous gift from two members of the Hokie Club.
Largely behind the gold medal performances of Vincent Ciattei, Greg Chiles, Patrick Joseph and Neil Gourley – who won the national title in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships – and medal-earning outings from Ciattei (mile) and Deakin Volz (pole vault), the Virginia Tech men’s track and field team finished fourth in the team competition. That marked the program’s best finish and tied for the best team finish ever by a Tech squad. In 2016, the wrestling team came in fourth at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, and both the men’s and women’s soccer teams made College Cup appearances in 2007 and 2013, respectively, though both lost in the semifinals.