News Journal

Radford News Journal • Wednesday, May 27, 2020 • Page 9 Virginia Tech head men's basketball coach Mike Young has announced the signing of grad transfer Cordell Pemsl. Pemsl, a 6-foot-9 forward from Iowa, has one season of eligibility remaining and will be able to play right away for the Hokies in 2020-21. A three-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes, Pemsl pulled down 14 rebounds in Cas- sell Coliseum in 2017 in the ACC/B1G Challenge. "Cordell's addition gives us immediate size in the frontcourt, which we have certainly needed," Young said. "He brings a level of skill and understanding of the game that we are really excited about. We are really looking forward to get- ting back on the floor and couldn't be happier that Cordell is a part of it." Pemsl played in 96 games at Iowa, starting 14 of them. He averaged 2.8 points, 3.2 recounds and 1.2 assists this past season. In the 2016-17 season, he shot 61.7 percent from the floor, second all- time in the Hawkeye record books. He has pulled down more than 400 rebounds and scored more than 550 points in his career. Pemsl played what was arguably the best game of his college career at Cassell Coliseum, when he scored six points and hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. --VT Athletics Radford Sports PHOTO COURTESY OF VT ATHLETICS VT wrestler Mekhi Lewis will begin the 2020-21 season ranked No. 1 in the country. VT’s Lewis ranked No. 1, Christiansburg’s Bolen ranked No. 2 in country After ending the 2019-20 season with three wrestlers ranked by FloWrestling, Virginia Tech wrestling will start 2020-21 with six wres- tlers ranked by the site, including a national No. 1 in Mekhi Lewis. Lewis, who did not compete this past season after taking an Olym- pic redshirt, returns to folkstyle wrestling as the No.-1 165-pounder in the country accord- PHOTO COURTESY OF VT ATHLETICS Transfer forward Cordell Pemsl adds depth to the Hokies frontcourt. Tech men’s basketball brings in Iowa transfer VT soccer senior Caroline Cipolla reflects on Costa Rica trip, lost season The Virginia Tech women’s soccer team traveled to Costa Rica during the 2019 season. Rising senior Caro- line Cipolla kept a journal while she was on her trip and was willing to share her memories of the trip and her reflections in the aftermath of the cancelled 2020 soccer eason. “Sitting jam-packed on a bus with my best friends, coaches, and their families on a team trip seemed so nor- mal a year ago. Now, we are spread out all over the country in our home- towns and haven’t seen each other in person since March 5. As a rising-se- nior, I would do anything to be back with my team right now, but this time apart has given me the opportu- nity to reflect. My team was fortunate to be able to travel to Costa Rica last year. The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team was supposed to go on the same trip right around this time but were not able to go. “One of the greatest opportuni- ties college soccer has given me is the chance to travel to different cit- ies across the country. Going to Costa Rica was the first time that, as a team, we traveled outside of the country, and it gave me the opportu- nity to experience a completely new culture and see a beautiful and vastly different country. Our trip was filled with amazing moments. We played the Costa Rican National team, went ziplining through a rain forest, and even stayed at the base of an active volcano. “One of my favorite memories from the trip was the day we spent volunteering in the town of Domini- cal. Some of my teammates spent the day picking up trash at the beach while the rest of us helped paint a lo- cal school, La Escuela Dominical de Osa. The school looked nothing like the elementary schools we go to in the U.S., and this was the first time I had been exposed to anything like that. We spent the entire day making much-needed improvements to the school. It was amazing how apprecia- tive they were of a paint job done by amateur college students. After the school walls and my teammates were both covered in paint, we sat with the kids and gave them supplies, gifts and toys that we had collected prior Mitch Harper, who has already graduated but has a year of eligibility left, will return to the VT tennis team for the 2021 season. Mitch Harper to return for another tennis season at VT Virginia Tech men's tennis coach Jim Thompson has announced that Mitch Harper will exercise his option to return for another year. Harper, who graduated last weekend, was in the midst of a spectacular season before the NCAA made the decision to end the year because of the coronavirus. The Brisbane, Australia, native boasted a 10-0 record with all of his matches decid- ed in straight sets. Three of his victories were over ranked opponents. "The devastating end to my last two seasons has fueled my desire to come back and represent Hokie nation on the court one last time," Harper said. "I'm so grateful to Virginia Tech and Coach Thompson for giving me the opportunity to play alongside my teammates for one more year and to see out my Hokie career on my own terms." Harper earned a redshirt year follow- ing an injury that caused him to miss his senior campaign in the spring of 2019. The 2017-18 season was a breakout year for Harper, who downed 14 ranked opponents and soared as high as No. 12 in the national rankings. He received first-team All-ACC honors and qualified for the NCAA singles championship. "[I'm] looking forward to being a part of this great team again and to help set us up for success in the future. The Hokies are coming," Harper said. --VT Athletics Lewis added to Tech strength staff Head coach Justin Fuente has con- firmed that Marc Lewis is joining the program on a full-time basis to lead Tech’s sports science analytics efforts for the football program. Lewis holds a master’s of science and graduate certificate from Virginia Tech and has spent the last year as an applied sports science fellow with Ben Hilgart and Tech’s football strength and conditioning staff. He will also assist Hilgart’s staff in implementing the many aspects of Tech’s in-season and off-season training regimens. Lewis is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Tech. In the past year, he assisted Hilgart’s team in the de- velopment and implementation of a comprehensive strength and condi- tioning program aimed at reducing the likelihood and severity of sports- related injury while enhancing on- field performance. He will manage Tech’s comprehensive athlete moni- toring program using GPS track- ing and heart rate monitor systems utilized by student-athletes during training and practice. That system collects and analyzes data as Lewis monitors training load and assesses performance indicators, working in conjunction with Mike Goforth and Tech’s medical and athletic training staffs. Lewis has also held a position as a sports science research assistant at Virginia Tech for the past three years. He assisted with athlete monitoring using GPS technology and heart rate monitors, collected subjective data on athlete readiness and sessional Ratings of Perceived Exertion (sRPE) and conducted gait analyses used in return-to-play protocols using data from the triaxial GPS. Prior to his involvement with Tech’s football program, Lewis served as an athlete mentor and volunteered with the women’s basketball program under the direction of senior director for strength and conditioning Greg Werner. A United States Army veteran, Lewis served our country as a para- trooper and completed multiple de- ployments in Iraq. Prior to his arrival at Tech, Lewis served as a research assistant at Wake Forest University where he completed his undergradu- ate degree in exercise science. He also served as a personal trainer in Win- ston-Salem, N.C. Lewis fills the vacancy in the as- sistant director, football strength and conditioning role left by Kody Cooke departure to accept a position as head strength and conditioning coach/as- sistant head coach at the University of Hawaii. --VT Athletics ing to FloWrestling. The 2019 NCAA champion will look to defend his national title in 2021. Lewis qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Tri- als in State College, Penn., prior to the event being postponed due to COVID-19. Christiansburg native Hunter Bolen broke onto the national stage at 184 pounds with a 24-2 sea- son, capped by winning the title at the 2020 ACC championships. Bolen was the No. 2 seed for the 2020 NCAA Cham- pionships. He will start the 2020-21 season as the No. 2 184-pounder in the country, the same rank he ended last season at in FloWrestling's list. Sam Latona breaks into the 125-pound rankings for the first time in his career at No. 12. The native of Alabas- ter, Ala., took a redshirt for the 2019-20 season, but he went 20-2 wres- tling unattached during Caroline Cipolla Strength coach Marc Lewis to the trip. Little girls’ and boys’ eyes widened as they saw colored pencils, soccer balls and stickers. I recognized at that moment that there were many things in my life at home that I took for granted. “Similarly, I am again having those feelings. Being able to see my best friends every morning or play a game of pickup soccer is now uncommon; just as the toys and supplies were to the little boys and girls from the school. That day, my team became much closer. We bonded over the love for the kids we had helped and the joy we saw on their faces when we painted their school and gave them the gifts. “What I draw from the memory of that day is the hope that just as that day brought my team together – be- cause of our shared appreciation for helping those children – that during this time of isolation from each oth- er, we will also find appreciation, joy, and camaraderie as we need to pull together as a team to support each other. “In that moment, I did not fully realize how fortunate my team was to be able to go to Costa Rica. I do not know what the trip will look like for the men’s team nor do I have any idea what my senior season will look like. However, I am so thankful Virginia See Lewis , page 10 See Cipolla , page 10