Golf, track and field show at NCAA finals

Bria Matthews lands a jump at the NCAA East Regional Preliminaries. She qualified for both the triple jump and the long jump at the NCAA finals. Fellow senior Nicole Fegans also qualified for the 5K event at the finals meet. // Photo courtesy of GTAA

Golf

Tech golf qualified for the final round of stroke play after beating TCU in a playoff for the final spot on Monday, May 31. One of fifteen teams to qualify, this is Tech’s 30th all time berth in the NCAA finals. They finished at the 15 spot after Monday’s play, failing to advance to the quarterfinals.

Tech was one of six ACC teams to make it out of the weekend, of whom Florida State and North Carolina advanced to at least the quarterfinals. They qualified for the NCAA championships after finishing third in their regional tournament, only carding higher scores than FSU and Georgia.

The Jackets sat in 17th place after the first round on May 28, led by freshman Christo Lamprecht’s minus-one day. A strong second day highlighted by plus-one rounds from senior Noah Norton and redshirt junior Ben Smith moved Tech up to a tie for 12th after two rounds. Norton led Tech again for round three with a plus-two showing as Tech slipped on the last day before the cut. After it all shook out, Tech was tied with the Horned Frogs for the 15th spot.

A morning playoff determined the winner, and Tech handled TCU, winning 20-23 and taking four of five holes. Following the playoff was a rough final round in which Tech would have had to leapfrog seven teams. Instead, they finished the day plus-17 and ended the tournament as the bottom team among those making Monday’s cut, totaling plus-49 through the four rounds.

Track and Field

Senior jumper Bria Matthews and senior distance runner Nicole Fegans highlighted Tech’s track and field showing through the back end of the season. Matthews achieved her eighth career podium berth at the ACC outdoor championships with her second place finish in the long jump. Fegans set a meet and school record in the 10K as she cruised to a gold medal.

Matthews earned herself an ACC Women’s Field MVP nod for her efforts on the season and at the final meet. She accounted for nearly half of Tech’s total points, garnering 16 of the 36 total points earned for the Jacket women. It was her second ACC Field MVP. Neither the men’s nor women’s team cracked the top ten as a team at the ACCs, but the individual performances by each team’s best stood out with several first or second-team All ACC nods.

Nearly a dozen Jackets qualified for the NCAA East Regionals meet, headlined again by Matthews and Fegans. Both qualified for competition in the NCAA Championships Finals. Matthews finished top-12 in the long jump with a 6.37m leap, and followed that up with a fifth place finish in the triple jump, posting a 13.46m mark. Fegans earned a spot in the 5K championships with a 16:02.57 time, placing her fifth in her heat.

The finals for the two athletes’ events will be on June 10 for the long jump, followed two days later by the triple jump and 5K finals on June 12. The two seniors will look to add to their already illustrious careers.

Football

Fans excited for the upcoming football season have plenty to look forward to.

Tech plans to have Bobby Dodd stadium at full capacity, potentially resulting in crowds more than 50,000 strong.

A game in nearby Mercedes Benz Stadium against North Carolina on September 25 could even have a crowd of over 70,000.

While Jeff Sims looks to improve on a promising freshman season, fellow freshman Jahmyr Gibbs is one of two Tech players already receiving recognition for this year.

He was named to Athlon Sports’ all-ACC first team as a running back and second team as a kick returner. Linebacker Quez Jackson received a fourth team nod as well.

The season will open with a pair of non-conference tilts at Bobby Dodd, against Northern Illinois at 7:30 p.m. on September 4 and Kennesaw State at noon on September 11.

The Jackets then travel to face the powerhouse Clemson Tigers on national television on September 11 at 3:30.

The Clemson game starts a streak of eight straight conference games before Tech visits Notre Dame and finishes the season at home against archrival Georgia.