ATLANTA, GEORGIA — The fall has truly set in here in Atlanta. While Halloween weekend wasn’t particularly bad weather, there has certainly been a chill in the air and mist in the sky. Thus, with somewhat slick roads and a desire to, more than anything, get a mug of tea and loaf around, yours truly watched a football game (and a volleyball match the next day) from the comfort of a couch.
Is this post-college life? I suppose it is.
A moderate amount of Tech teams were in action this weekend, including the first ACC Championship contest of the season. Meanwhile, the annual Tech-Florida State dual meet happened in the pool, leading to some (theoretical) nice economies of scale for having two teams in Tallahassee at the same time. At the same time, the Tech-Kennesaw State baseball exhibition was bumped up to Friday, as opposed to Sunday. I suppose this makes Friday, in hindsight, one of the first days with at least five Tech sports in action of the year, which er here at From the Rumble Seat would refer to as a Super Saturday (or Sunday) if it were to happen on the weekend. If you’ve got any decent alliterative names for a Friday edition, let us know in the comments below.
I’m going to be upfront - the rest of Yellow Jacket Roundup is over 2,000 words long this week, so I am going to leave the recap of this week’s volleyball games to Jack and his Three Thoughts on this weekend’s play. As always, he does a tremendous job, and one of my favorite recent developments here at From the Rumble Seat is the augmenting of our non-football and men’s basketball contributors, which is exactly why I can let this column be a lengthy treatise on cross country, softball, and baseball. More news on this front, by the way, as we look towards women’s basketball season later this week.
Tech’s first ACC title opportunity of the academic year came and went this past Friday up in Earlysville, Virginia. Tech had a relatively unremarkable weekend, as the women finished in tenth overall, while the men took eleventh. For the men, this represented a slight step up from last year’s twelfth place performance, while the women regressed two spots from their eighth place finish in 2021.
Among Tech’s athletes, Helena Lindsay and James Cragin led the way, with Lindsay crossing the line in 20:21.0 in the women’s 6K and Cragin finishing the men’s 8K in 23:51.5, the former representing a 24th place finish overall, while the latter slotted in at 45th. The distribution of the men’s finishes had less variance overall, but the women had Lindsay and Liz Galarza in the front of the pack, hence the slightly higher finish.
Cross Country will be in action once more this fall, as they head to Huntsville in a few weeks for the NCAA South Regionals.
Tech’s Sunday pair of seven inning doubleheaders was moved to Friday due to weather concerns, and given the short notice, yours truly was unable to get over to Russ Chandler (Mac Nease? I’m still not used to that) to catch any action live, much to my chagrin. Given that Tech also didn’t post any box scores and didn’t tweet much, there isn’t a ton I can add, but D1 Baseball’s outstanding co-editor Aaron Fitt was on campus and tweeted a few times, so I have embedded a few tweets from his travels below:
Naturally @DSeifertD1PBR was all over Terry Busse last year at John A. Logan. Now Busse is at @GTBaseball, and he will be a huge difference maker. He showed an explosive fastball in a quick inning today, sitting 93-94 from a low slot with ridiculous ride and run. Nasty business. https://t.co/uX72u9FjHO— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) October 28, 2022
Really like what I've seen tonight from @GTBaseball shortstop Jadyn Jackson, who is 3-for-3 with three hard singles, showing ability to square up velo (96 and 94) and a good changeup. Also smooth actions and a good arm at short. pic.twitter.com/jYAdG0T2Fj— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) October 28, 2022
Almost as noteworthy this week was the announcement of the hiring of Matt Weiters, legendary Georgia Tech Hall of Fame catcher and pitcher — fitting in nicely to last week’s comments about Tristan English — along with being a Gold Glove-winning MLB stalwart and current Tech undergraduate student as he looks to wrap up his degree. Weiters fills the student assistant coach role, and he looks to be a tremendous add to the coac hing staff, given his success at the collegiate level at Tech, leading the team to its most recent College World Series appearance, as well as in his professional career.
Women’s tennis headed up to Knoxville for the Tennessee Fall Invitational, and in a nice return to quasi-match play form, they lined up against Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia in each of the three days of the event. In the first day of competition, Tech fielded nearly a full match lineup, with three doubles pairs and five singles courts in action. Had it been scored as a spring match would be, Tech would have won in resounding 4-1 fashion, as the Alejandra Cruz and Kylie Bilchev pairing and Ruth Marsh and Mahak Jain duo each netted doubles set wins, while Kylie Bilchev, Alejandra Cruz, and Rosie Garcia Gross each won in two sets, with Garcia Gross’ in particular being an impressive 6-1, 6-0 showing, while Ruth Marsh added a third singles win in tiebreak.
On the second day of action, Tech took on the host team, but this time played two doubles sets and six singles courts. To again draw the parallel to spring match play, Tech would have notched the doubles point, with the same pairs as Friday coasting to wins, though a 2-4 decision in favor of Tennessee on the singles courts would have given the Volunteers a 4-3 edge. Jain and Bilchev were winners, both in two sets, on the second day of singles competition.
On Sunday, Tech squared up against Virginia, who finished last season ranked #5 in the country and were the ACC runner-up behind Duke before falling to Texas in the NCAA Quarterfinals. One can presume that they didn’t come to Knoxville with a full roster, much like how the notable absence of Tech’s Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura was likely due to rest in advance of next week’s ITA Fall Nationals, though it was certainly heartening that Tech scorched the Hoos, with Cruz/Bilchev and Marsh/Jain going 2-0 in doubles to each finish the weekend undefeated, while also sweeping the three singles courts, with Jain and Garcia Gross winning in two sets, while Cruz took the win in the second set when her opponent retired. Cruz led 7-5, 4-0 at the time play was called.
All things considered, things are looking up for the Jackets, who eagerly await the results of their top singles and doubles entries in the coming week out at ITA Fall Nationals.
Swimming and Diving
The swimming and diving program has, almost certainly, the strangest scheduling paradigm of any of Tech’s varsity sports teams, with only cross country really coming to mind as being similar. Whereas a sport like golf or track might come to mind for their lack of head-to-head competition, and tennis incorporates a fall tournament season and a match-play slate in the spring, swimming’s typical year consists of some invites, some dual meets, some tri- or quad- meets, and the end of season ACC and NCAA championships. Even longtime schedule stalwarts like the Georgia Tech Invitational
There’s no real formal ACC schedule, with Tech usually catching three or so conference opponents in a given season. Among those three, since the addition of women’s swimming as Tech’s 17th varsity sport, Florida State has been by far the most consistent while also being fairly competitive, and thus becomes the best yardstick for measuring Tech’s relative performance in a given season.
Conveniently, Georgia Tech has been swimming the Florida State meet earlier in the year the past few seasons, and this year’s result of resounding Seminole victories on both the men’s and women’s sides, 221-78 and 235-65 respectively, are a bit ominous, though the obvious caveat of still having quite a bit of the season left to go must also be stated.
In the plot below, the score differential between Tech and FSU, i.e., a positive score is a meet win, for the meets in the current five straight years of competition is plotted as a time series. The trend isn’t great, and the difference year-over-year is quite stark. Though the men lost quite a bit from their graduating seniors and fifth years (Caio Pumputis, Christian Ferraro, Kyle Barone, Austin Daniel), the women’s trend is a bit more startling, considering their main loss was more limited in the form of diver Camryn Hidalgo, independent of a massive step up from FSU, who are only ranked on the men’s side of the CSCAA Coaches Poll currently.
As for actual event results, Tech did have some individual success, led by Mert Kilavus’ pool record in the 1000 yard freestyle, clocking in at a 9:04.11. Tech’s plan of recruiting every Turkish distance swimming prodigy plan continues unabated and with continued success, as Deniz Ertan won the women’s side of the event in 9:49.86, for good measure. Also included among top Tech finishes were Ertan’s third place in the 200 breaststroke, Berke Saka finished second in the 200 backstroke, and Batur Ünlü’s second place finish in the 200 freestyle. Among non-Turkish nationals, Matt Steele and Anna Bradescu each scored points in multiple events, while freshman sprinter Will Coady finished second in the 100 free.
On the day, Tech’s relay finishes were rocky, with the 200 Medley Relay seeing four FSU teams finish in front of the Tech A relay in both the men’s and women’s events. While there were no notable 400 freestyle relay entry scratches from the opposing team like there were in the meet against the folks from Athens, a lot of the same caveats from that meet apply. Ultimately, in dual meet swimming, the podium finishes a team gets can be a bit deceiving. Sure, it is great that Tech is placing in the top three swimmers in an event, but with few points on the table, unless there is a number of clustered finishers in events that are not won outright (i.e. going 2-3-4 or 2-4-5, rather than 3-4-6 or 3-5-6), it is difficult to keep pace with a team that is winning a lot of events. That seemed to be the defining theme of Friday’s meet.
Tech is next in action on Saturday in a triangle meet against both Pittsburgh and Boston College at McAuley, which starts at 11:00 AM on Saturday morning in Tech’s last ACC competition before the ACC Championships in the spring. Meets used to be streamed on ACC Network Extra, but I haven’t seen any links on RamblinWreck.com, so your mileage may vary this weekend.
In the Club House:
Tech went on the road to Liberty this weekend and dropped both games in the short series. On Friday, Tech fell 6-3, while Saturday’s contest was a slimmer 2-1 margin. Tech is now below .500 on the season, but looks to bounce back with a home series against Embry-Riddle.
Looks to have been a great weekend for the GT Swim Club as they headed out to Auburn for Auburn’s War Eagle Invitational. Between Tech, FSU, the school in Athens, and Auburn, the best of the Southern Region was well represented, and they seem to be on pace for another great year.
11/2-6 — ITA National Fall Championships (San Diego, CA) [ALL DAY]
11/2-6 — ITA National Fall Championships (San Diego, CA) [ALL DAY]
11/4-6 — GT Fall Invite (Ken Byers Tennis Complex) [ALL DAY]
11/3 — Clayton State (Exhibition) [7:00 PM, Free Admission]
Swimming and Diving:
11/5 — Pittsburgh, Boston College [11:00 AM]
11/4 — at Miami [7:00 PM, ACCNX]
11/6 — at Florida State [1:00 PM, ACCNX]
11/5 — at VPISU [12:30 PM, Regional Sports Networks]