Since joining the ACC, the Virginia Tech track and field program has been thriving, with the men’s and women’s teams experiencing national success over recent years.
The men’s team won its first ACC indoor team title last year and came up just a few points short of the outdoor title, falling to Florida State. This year, the teams return a ton of talent and will once again be known for their deep rosters.
In last year’s indoor championship, the Hokies won three individual championships, still taking home the title because of a collective effort.
Dave Cianello, the director of track and field and cross country, said he centers his efforts toward one thing.
“Our focus is always on the conference championships,” Cianelli said. “That is what we work toward each year.”
The men’s team is locked and loaded for another deep run this year after finishing fifth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season. The Hokies will return nine All-Americans in outdoor track, making them a threat to win a team title at both the conference and national level.
Meanwhile, the women’s team is rebuilding from its accomplishments a few years ago and will mostly center around freshman and sophomores this year. Although they must cope with the loss of All-Americans Dorotea Habazin, Kelly Phillips and Samira Burkhardt, the Hokies are still expected to compete well in the ACC.
In the sprint, hurdles and jumps, two-time All-American Hasheem Halim will lead the way. He placed 15th in the country last year in the triple jump and second in the ACC Indoor Championships. He also walked away with an ACC Outdoors title and a fourth-place national finish.
Keith Ricks is the team’s best sprinter and qualified for the NCAAs in the 100-meter dash last season. But health could be an issue for Ricks, as he has had injury concerns in the past. However, he insists he is doing everything in his power to prevent harm.
“Every day in practice, I approach that day like it is a meet,” Ricks said. “I like to warm up and focus like it’s competition day, so when the competition day does come, I already know what to expect and have played each race through my mind.”