Sports briefs – August 9, 2017

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Photo courtesy of E&H Athletics
 Eli Straw

Radford’s Straw honored by ODAC

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference has released the ODAC Sportsmanship Teams for 2016-17 academic year. Teams were recognized in each of the league’s 24 sports including the 14 NCAA Division III programs sponsored by Emory & Henry College.

E&H’s group of 14 honorees included sophomore Eli Straw in baseball. This past season, Straw started 36 games at third base, finishing with eight doubles and a triple. He also led the team in home runs with five and posted a .457 slugging percentage.

Concord ninth in preseason poll

By a vote of the Mountain East Conference coaches, the Concord University football team has been selected to finish ninth in the preseason poll that was released Tuesday at the MEC’s football media day.
Shepherd garnered 98 points and eight first-place votes. Notre Dame picked up two first-place nods and 89 points. Fairmont State grabbed the final first-place vote and tallied 85 points. UVa.-Wise (54) and Charleston (52) rounded out the top five. West Liberty (51), West Virginia Wesleyan (46), Glenville State (45), Concord (43), West Virginia State (26) and Urbana (16) rounded out the poll.
Concord is coming off a 2-9 campaign that saw it go 2-8 against conference foes in 2016.

Graff joins Hokies staff

First-year Virginia Tech head coach Tony Robie announced Thursday the hiring of four-time NCAA All-American and 2016-17 USA Wrestling National Team member Tyler Graff as director of performance-wrestling.

Graff, the 133-pound NCAA runner-up in 2014 while at Wisconsin, placed third at the Olympic Trials in 2012 and 2016. Along with his duties on Robie’s staff, Graff will continue to train in freestyle with the Southeast Regional Training Center.

In Madison, Graff registered a career record of 128-25 and never finished lower than fifth in the country in four years. He won his first of three University Nationals championships in 2010 and was a Junior World Team Member in 2007. Graff wrestled for current Tech assistant coach Jared Frayer at Wisconsin, where the two helped lead the Badgers to consecutive top-10 finishes in 2010 and 2011.

After graduation, the Loveland, Colorado native won the 2015 Dave Schulz Memorial, placed second at U.S. World Team Trials and third at Olympic Trials in 2016. Graff was a four-time Colorado high school state champion and compiled a 162-1 record.

RU track and field All-Americans

The Radford women’s track and field team was recently named a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team, while the women’s cross country team was a recipient of the NCAA Public Recognition Award.

In order, to be in contention for the USTFCCCA Scholar Team of the Year, a program must finish highly at the respective national championship meet and have at least a 3.00 cumulative team GPA. The Highlanders posted a 3.24 GPA for the 2016-17 academic season, which garnered them the all-academic team award.

The NCAA Public Recognition Award is bestowed on teams with an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports for the 2015-16 academic year. It is the first time a Radford team has been inside the top 10 since the 2006-07 academic year when men’s cross country collected the honor.