Sports Shorts

The men’s basketball team added a second recruit to its freshman class as Nate Hicks, a center from Panama City Beach, Fla., formally signed a financial aid agreement on Tuesday and will enroll at Tech in the fall. Hicks had originally signed a letter-of-intent to play for Tulane, but he requested and was granted a release after Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson resigned in late March.

Hicks, a 6-foot-10 post player at Arnold High School, earned third-team All-State honors after a strong senior year. He played well on the offensive and defensive ends and averaged 21.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game as a senior. Hicks finished his career as Arnold High’s all-time scoring leader, and he also set the school’s single-game record when he scored 51 points in a district playoff game on Feb. 9.

Hicks joins a Tech squad that will be without its three most prominent frontcourt players from the 2009-10 campaign, thanks to the graduation of Zachery Peacock and the departures of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal for the NBA.

Along with Hicks, the Jackets will have redshirt senior Brad Sheehan and redshirt freshmen Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey to replace the trio.

After hitting 20 home runs in his sophomore season, Tech third baseman Matt Skole was selected to participate in the inaugural TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby on Wednesday, July 7. Skole took third place in the event, which featured eight top college hitters from around the country and took place at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.

Skole, who hit .335 with 20 homers and 63 RBI, led the field with six homers in the first round; as a result, he was one of three players to advance to the second and final round. He was unable to continue his strong early performance, though, recording zero homers in the second round.

East Tennessee State first baseman Paul Hoilman hit five homers in the first round and 12 in the second to win the contest. Notably, Hoilman’s pitcher for the contest was Skole’s uncle, ETSU Head Coach Tony Skole.

About three weeks after being named the ITA National Player of the Year, sophomore Irina Falconi was named to the 2010 ITA All-Star team. The squad features the top three Division I singles players and doubles tandems and the top player from Division II, Division II, the NAIA and the NJCAA for both men’s and women’s players.

Falconi, a two-time All-American, finished the season with a stellar 40-3 singles record and the best single-season winning percentage in program history at .930. Falconi finished the dual-match portion of the schedule with 26 wins and was named ACC Player of the Year.

Falconi earned the top singles honor on the team thanks to her No. 1 ITA ranking, and she joined Cal’s Jana Juricova (the ITA Indoor Champion) and Georgia’s Chelsey Gullickson (the NCAA Champion) as the three Division I women’s singles representatives.

Falconi faced both Juricova and Gullickson during the year, going 2-1 against her fellow All-Stars; she won matches against Juricova and Gullickson in dual match play but fell to Gullickson in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.