When the Commonwealth Clash was first introduced a few years, this seemed like a competition that Virginia could dominate over the first few years given how the Cavaliers are one of the gold standards for having a strong athletic program while the Hokies’ dominance over UVA has been largely built upon football success.
However, while Virginia’s athletics have continued to be at a high level, the Hokies have taken their athletic program up a few notches under the leadership of Whit Babcock and now, the best athletic program in the state is in SWVA.
Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 2016-2017 Commonwealth Clash title in the third edition of the event finishing tied in points but winning the tiebreaker of having more ACC titles in sports that both schools compete in 4-1 (UVA has 2 ACC titles in sports VT doesn’t compete in). This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Virginia Tech athletic program and shows how the Hokies seem to be headed for a golden era of athletics unlike any other in school history.
Scoring is based on individual competitions between the two schools and not dependent on final standings with the men’s basketball split giving each team 0.5 points. Virginia Tech entered this past weekend behind by 2 points to UVA but their sweep of the ACC Outdoor Track and Field titles tied them with UVA and put the Hokies ahead in the ACC title tiebreaker thanks also to ACC titles in wrestling and men’s indoor track and field.
Track and field played a large role in allowing the Hokies to close the gap on UVA and win the Commonwealth Clash with the Hokies gaining points in women’s cross-country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field after UVA had won all three points the previous year. The Hokies also gained a point in men’s indoor track and field along with gaining 0.5 points in volleyball and men’s soccer, countering the loss of a point in women’s basketball.
Whit Babcock deserves lots of praise for Virginia Tech’s athletic improvement with the Hokies gaining some of their points in areas where he’s made changes with Buzz Williams coming in for men’s basketball, Justin Fuente locking down football dominance, and both John Sung and Kenny Brooks having women’s lacrosse and women’s basketball headed in the right direction. Meanwhile, Dave Cianelli and Kevin Dresser/Tony Robie have done a great job as some of the main holdovers from before Babcock along with Michael Brizendine leading the Hokies to their best season of men’s soccer in a long time.
Virginia Tech is developing into one of the ACC’s premier athletic programs under Babcock and not just a premier football school with this Commonwealth Clash victory being the latest example of that.