ATLANTA, GEORGIA — There were quite a number of notable graduates this weekend from Tech, both among the student-athletes and the student body at large. Some of the most notable are non-traditional stories - Mark Teixeira comes to mind - but all share the bond of being challenged in just about every imaginable way at Tech and rising into the ranks of the distinguished family of Georgia Tech alumni. As always, it is quite remarkable to see the list of names who are walking across the stage and into the rest of their lives. From stalwarts of the eminently likable and memorable 2020-21 ACC Champion men’s basketball team Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore, Bubba Parham, and Jordan Usher to their contemporaries Sarah Bates and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen on the women’s side of the basketball that helped usher in a renaissance in that sport, too, games in McCamish Pavilion will certainly be different next year. In the same vein, Bailee Zeitler’s trip across the stage comes after starting 165 games and counting for the Jackets, which is a perfect example of just how ubiquitous softball players can become with just how many games get played in a single season.
The conversation about ubiquity and memorable moments would not be complete, either, without a nod towards the graduating volleyball players, Mikaila Dowd, Kayla Kaiser, and Maddie Tippett, who collectively represent a vast wealth of memorable plays, individual and team accolades, and will go down as inseparable from the conversation when talking about my personal favorite Tech sports memories from the last few years, the three year arc of the volleyball program’s transformation from scrappy underdog to unstoppable behemoth of volleyball annihilation. Obviously, in times of COVID, rosters are never completely certain until we get the next year’s list given how many players mentioned so far are fourth years, but the accomplishment that is graduation is certainly worth noting, even if the possibility remains that some players could be back.
Turning towards the pool, one should not leave out the tremendous swimmers who crossed the stage that played such pivotal roles in the men and women’s team top 30 finishes in the past few years, especially given that the team was able to get a fifth year run out of some of the fastest and most talented to ever join the program. The program without Daniel Jacobs, Clark Wakeland, Kyle Barone, Christian Ferraro, Caio Pumputis, Cami Hidalgo will certainly look quite different. Meanwhile, on the track, Olivia Moore and Nicole Fegans have not even wound down their current Tech seasons, but will join the swimmers and divers in representing a colossal array of program best finishes and postseason points.
It is not often that one could comfortably say that the greatest to ever compete for one or two sports for Tech cross the stage on the same weekend. It is decidedly even more improbable to see the two greatest men’s swimmers, Caio Pumputis and Christian Ferraro, best women’s diver, Cami Hidalgo, and the best long distance runner to grace the track or cross country course for Tech - yep, that’s two sports in one - in the form of Nicole Fegans all graduate on the same day. And we haven’t even discussed the special case that is World Series Champion and multi-time All Star Mark Teixeira. That could very well be five different sports mentioned in the same breath.
Last but not least, there is one more name I want to highlight from the list of 76 very dedicated and deserving Tech young alumni. Eagle-eyed readers of From the Rumble Seat knew of him three years ago, but not for the role he likely interacted with all of you in. For those with a long memory, you might remember Landon Eisenhunt from a recap of the 2019 College Club Swimming National Championship that the Georgia Tech Swim Club won, but those on Twitter or at Bobby Dodd this weekend know him as the Buzz that was carried across the stage in the morning undergrad commencement. Thank you to all of the other spirit team members, particularly those that toil in secrecy as one of Tech’s most beloved traditions until they finally get their moment in the spotlight outside of the costume, and, to this Buzz in particular, a hearty congratulations on earning that degree.
It was a tough way to go out for the Jackets, but they certainly fought to the end in their Second Round match against host Auburn this past Saturday. After knocking off Memphis in the first round 4-1, thanks to a quick doubles point win and singles points from Kylie Bilchev, Mahak Jain, and Gia Cohen, Tech was able to take the doubles point for a second day in a row against the Tigers. Tech managed to push the lead all the way to the brink, leading 3-1 thanks to wins from Cohen and Carol Lee. Auburn, though, led on several other courts, and after rattling off two quick points, was able to close the match on court 5, despite a valiant comeback effort from Rosie Garcia Gross.
Postseason Selection Updates:
Andres Martin and Marcus McDaniel will head to the singles and doubles draws of the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships from May 23-28 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the University of Illinois.
Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura will head to the singles and doubles draws of the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships from May 23-28 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the University of Illinois.
Golf heads to Columbus, Ohio for their regional assignment, where they will be the second seed behind national #2 Oklahoma State. Arkansas and Clemson are also ranked in the regional field, while host Ohio State sits as the #6 team. The top 5 finishers will advance to the NCAA Championships once again at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. These will last from May 27 to June 1, featuring 30 teams and 6 individuals in a combination of match and stroke play. This will be the first time since 1905-06 that the final will be at the same course in back to back years.
#8 Club Men’s Lacrosse heads to Round Rock for the MCLA Tournament starting today at 2:30 PM ET. They will face #9 Concordia-Irvine, with the winner likely squaring off against #1 Virginia Tech in the second round on Tuesday.
5/11-14: ACC Championships (Pittsburgh, PA)
5/11: Georgia Southern
Track and Field:
5/12-5/14: ACC Outdoor Championships (Durham, NC)