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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Made to be Broken

Not this year, not this season, but a cool track picture nonetheless.
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - There’s a little less this week as tennis heads out for the ITA Indoor Kickoff. It’s not quite yet spring yet, but we got a midweek basketball game on the Flats after Tennis hosted Mercer on Tuesday. And that’s about all she wrote. Stay tuned.

Track and Field

The leading news this week is Nicole Fegans’ demolition of a quarter-century old school track record in the mile. Her time of 4:43.28 earned her a second place finish on the first day of the meet up in Clemson and came in significantly lower than the previous mark. While Tech didn’t take home any first place finishes in day one, they did put 10 in the top five, a nice mark for them, including Taylor Grimes double-dipping on top 3 finishes, between the long jump and the 60m hurdles. Ty Brooks, in the 400m, and Braeden Collins, in the mile, rounded out the notable top 3 finishes on day one. On the second day of competition, Bria Matthews, who had an excellent season for herself last year, continued her strong Tech career with an excellent triple jump, hitting 12.97m on the way to a third place finish. Freshman Brian Hauch pole vaulted, in the literal sense, 4.95m, and, in the figurative sense, in the Tech record books, as his impressive mark puts him at fourth all-time in the event. Meanwhile, Tech shown in another relay this week, as the 4x400m relay had a fine outing as well. All in all, many of these are top-25 performances in the nation, and several are in contention at the top of the ACC.

Earlier in the week, Tech also announced the 2020 Outdoor Track and Field schedule:

Yellow Jacket Invitational (March 20-21)

Florida State Relays (March 27)
Raleigh Relays (March 27-28)

Florida Relays (April 2-4)
Auburn Invitational (April 3-4)

Crimson Tide Invitational (April 10-11)

Georgia Tech Invitational (April 17-18)

Penn Relays (April 23-25)
Torrin Lawrence Memorial (April 24-25)

Duke Twilight Invitational (May 3)

Bulldog Last Chance (May 9)

ACC Championships - Durham, NC (May 14-16)

NCAA East Regional - Lexington, KY (May 28-30)

NCAA Championships - Austin, TX (June 10-13)

This week: Track is at rest after three straight weekends of meets.

Women’s Basketball

Tech (14 - 5) falls to North Carolina (14 - 5) in overtime, 67-60
Tech (14 - 6) takes a tough loss at Duke (11 - 9), 58-46

Not a great week out for the Jackets, who have now lost three straight here in the month of January. The first game of the week, a Thursday night contest against North Carolina, had a deceptively large final score, though one that was probably fitting. Tech came out of the gates white hot, seizing an early eight point lead, one it held throughout the first half. Tech went into the break, however, leading by just one point, after North Carolina got hot again to prevent the Jackets from pulling away. The second half, meanwhile, was a tight, neck and neck contest, though this time it was North Carolina who was able to take control a little. However, despite a late lead, they were unable to subdue the Jackets in regulation, as they sunk a three pointer to tie the game with 11 seconds to play to knot the score. In overtime, though, it was again the Tar Heels in the drivers seat, and Tech was forced off-balance and, ultimately, it was the Tar Heels that held out to win the game.

Lotta-Maj Lahtinen didn’t have a lot of help on Sunday as the Jackets took a tough twelve point loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. She was 12 of Tech’s 46 points in a sloppy game for both sides. 20+ turnovers are never a great sign, but both sides were sloppy with the ball, which explains the low scoring contest despite Duke shooting healthy 47% and the Jackets hitting 40% of their own shots. In the end, it was a streaky game, and one which Tech saw a lot of trouble getting the ball to the hoop. They made it competitive into the second half, coming back to take a lead even, but it was not enough to sudbue the Blue Devils, who ultimately would coast to put some distance between themselves and their guests to seal the game.

This week: Tech heads out midweek to sunny Miami, Florida to face an ACC foe they’ve defeated once this year already in a return leg at Coral Gables before returning home to face defending national runner-up Notre Dame.

Men’s Tennis

Tech rallies to defeat Oregon (4-3)
Tech is swept by no. 9 Texas A&M (4-0)

The Racket Jackets made the trip to College Station for Kickoff Weekend with the hope to get two matches in against quality opponents. That they certainly did, as they dispatched Oregon in a tight thriller to earn the right to face Texas A&M. In the first match, they got the scoring started off solidly, as they took the doubles point thanks to wins from Keshav Chopra/Andres Martin and Carlos Divar/Chris Yun. It would again be Yun who came through to secure the win for the Jackets in singles play, after Tech fell into a 3-2 hole, despite Marcus McDaniels’ quick win. It was Cole Gromley who got them into a tie in a tight bunch of sets, before Yun took home the win.

It wasn’t such a great result in the second game, but it was an opportunity to take a shot at a great team. Ultimately, the Jackets came up short, but it was, as some say, a deceptive sweep. Tech has found a crop of great young players who keep themselves in matches. Something is going to break their way, and soon - just like last year. With the excellent doubles chemistry they’ve already got on lock, it’s only a matter of when.

This week: Both tennis teams catch Hate Week this week as they host their respective editions of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate at Ken Byers Tennis Complex.

Women’s Tennis

Tech sweeps to Wisconsin (4-0)
Tech sinks no. 13 South Carolina (4-1)

At the risk of downplaying the solid win Tech opened the weekend with against the Badgers, it’s really burying the lede to slide the upset of no. 13 South Carolina all the way down here. But first, Wisconsin:

In match one, the Jackets started strong by taking the doubles point. Kenya Jones/Victoria Flores and Nami Otsuka/Gia Cohen were the winners on the day, while the third pairing was hung at 4-4 when play was suspended. Nadia Gizdova, Jones, and Otsuka followed up the strong doubles showing with three straight singles wins, dropping an average of two games per set. Very solid tennis indeed.

In match two, Tech again got off to a solid start in doubles. Starting a match with that first point is crucial, and the Jackets have seen a lot of their success the past few years from making quick work of the doubles point. The Gamecocks got themselves on the board by netting a point in singles play, but Tech answered back with two of their own, in victories from Flores and Rosie Garcia Gross. It came down to court one, and Tech clinched with a strong showing in three sets from Cohen. A solid and efficient win against a very good team for the Jackets. Now, Tech is playing with house money and will get the opportunity to play a few solid teams in a few weeks at ITA Indoor Nationals. A great win indeed.

This week: The women follow up the Athenians with a visit from the Texas Longhorns.

In the Club House:

It was Georgia Tech Swim Club that got back in action this week on Sunday afternoon at McAuley Aquatic Center. The Jackets were hosting Auburn and pulled off a win in the bi-annual dual meet, their third straight against the Tigers. Both the women and the men doubled up the competition in a solid afternoon for the two-time defending national champions.

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This Week on the Flats:

BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location

Monday: OFF

Men’s Basketball vs. Morehouse
7:30 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)

Wednesday: OFF

Women’s Tennis vs. the School in Athens
4:00 PM, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Women’s Basketball at Miami
6:00 PM, Coral Gables, ACC Network and WREK 91.1 FM

Friday: OFF

Men’s Basketball vs. Notre Dame
12:00 PM, South Bend, IN, Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South/Southeast in Atlanta) and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)

Swimming and Diving vs. SCAD and Georgia Southern
12:00 PM, McAuley Aquatic Center, ACC Network Extra

Women’s Tennis vs. Texas
1:00 PM, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Men’s Tennis vs. the School in Athens
12:00 PM, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Women’s Basketball vs. Notre Dame
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network and WREK 91.1 FM