Various Virginia sports teams have had a busy summer so far. The ACC announced a major conference schedule update for soccer, and track and field athletes and women’s soccer athletes are making their mark on the global stage. Additionally, several Cavalier teams had success in the transfer and recruiting divisions, and Virginia ended another strong overall year in athletics with an 11th place finish in the Directors’ Cup.
The football schedule was redesigned and the existing divisional structure was dissolved
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced a new football planning modelscheduled to take place between 2023 and 2026. In the model, the Atlantic and Coastal divisions are abolished and instead the teams play the same three opponents each year – with Virginia’s main opponents being Louisville, North Carolina and Virginia Tech – during the four years playing a home and away game with the other 10 teams to play.
“I am very grateful that our student athletes will have the opportunity to experience a game day environment at any other institution in the ACC,” said coach Tony Elliott.
The aim of the model is that each team can play one home and one away game against any other team, among other things.
“The new model creates several improvements for ACC football that will benefit the league, our student athletes and our fans,” said athletic director Carla Williams.
Track and field stars on the national stage securing a spot at track and field world championships
Meanwhile, another Virginia track star is making headlines. After junior discus thrower Claudio Romero won the NCAA national championship Earlier in June, veteran javelin thrower Ethan Dabbs won the gold medal in the javelin throw at the USATF Outdoor Championships held on June 26.
Dabbs was in fifth place with one throw remaining when he launched a throw of 81.29 yards to jump into first place and win his first national championship. Even more impressive is the journey Dabbs has taken to get back to his best sporting performance in recent memory.
Dabbs underwent throwing arm surgery just a year ago and has worked his way back to championship form. That season, Dabbs set an ACC and ACC championship record with 82.93 yards. He was also voted Virginia’s comeback player of the year by his teammates that spring.
Following his championship performance, Dabbs will represent the United States at the World Athletics Championships, with the javelin throw scheduled to begin on July 21. The championships will be held in Eugene, Oregon. Dabbs will join Romero at the championships, where Romero will represent Chile after qualifying earlier in the spring.
Alongside Dabbs, freshman Mia Barnett competed at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships, where she placed second in the 1500 meters. Barnett set a freshman record in the 800 meters in Virginia this spring and will be looking to improve on her impressive freshman season.
Current and former female soccer players compete in Concacaf championships
The Virginia women’s soccer team has four athletes competing in the Concacaf Women’s Championship, which began July 4th. Three of the athletes are alumnae – Diana Ordoñez, Becky Sauerbrunn and Emily Sonnett. The fourth and final Cavalier is fifth-year defender Claire Constant. Ordoñez represents Mexico, Sauerbrunn and Sonnett represent the United States, and Constant represents Haiti.
After group play ended and all four athletes competed together in Group A, the United States won the group and advanced to the finals. Every athlete has recorded at least one start, and Sonnett scored the United States’ first goal in the semifinals game against Costa Rica.
Cavaliers have transfer and recruitment successes
In other recent news, the Virginia men’s basketball team received its first commitment to the 2023 recruiting class. Blake Buchanan of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho announced his commitment to Virginia on July 3 because of Gonzaga.
Buchanan is Idaho’s top-ranked prospect, a 6-foot-10 power forward/center and is ranked #107 overall in the 2023 class. He’s a great first signing in the 2023 class as the Cavaliers hope to match or better a class of 2022 that was one of the best coaches Tony Bennett has had in Virginia.
After an incredibly successful season, swimming and diving in Virginia continues to improve. The women’s team won the NCAA national championship for the second consecutive year on March 19, while the men’s team finished 10th overall. The women’s team is now adding two transfers to an already great team, while the men’s team just got news of a transfer.
Maxine Parker, rising junior from Georgia, and Sam Baron, rising junior from UCLA, both transferred to Virginia in May and will join the women’s team. Meanwhile, the men’s team received great news that rising sophomore Tim Connery, a Texas transfer, will be joining the team. Connery announced his move on July 4 and won a Big 12 individual championship in the 100-yard butterfly in the spring.
Final results of the Director’s Cup published
Finally, Virginia Athletics had a very successful year overall. The final standings of the LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup were announced by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics on June 30th. Virginia placed 11th overall, the same place the Cavaliers placed last year. NCAA team championships in men’s tennis and women’s swimming and diving played a large part in Virginia’s final placing.
Virginia has placed in the top 25 for the 15th consecutive year. Directors’ Cup points are earned from a school’s NCAA postseason finish in 19 sports. Four of the sports must be basketball, baseball and volleyball for both men and women.