As students hit the beaches for spring break, the rest of us chumps are sitting in our cubicles grasping at something, anything, to talk about during the long, dark off season. Recruiting, the combine, the upcoming bball tournaments, and the draft can only do so much to feed the addiction. Thankfully, Virginia529 has put together a completely contrived sports competition between us and the fighting jeffersons up the road to keep us interested in all the filler sports once football ends.
Leading up to the 2005-2006 school year, something called the Commonwealth Challenge was contrived to keep track of head to head results between LOLUVa and Tech in varsity sports. The idea was to give credit to the school with the most successful athletic program, not just the one who could win the Commonwealth Cup for football (Tech). The Challenge only lasted two years as it was cancelled in the wake of the 2007 shootings.
Fast forward seven years and just as many VT football victories over LOLUVa to 2014 and the Challenge was resurrected as "The Commonwealth Clash." I can only imagine the organizers watched year after year as the wahoos' losing streak worsened and felt that they needed something to officially recognize the "one trick pony" argument their fans default to.
It worked, for a while. LOLUVa won the first two years (14.5-7.5 and 14-7). Last year, the final tally was 11-11, but Tech won the tie breaker, having secured 4 ACC championships in the relevant sports to LOLUVa's lone applicable championship.
Now back to this year. The clash has three rounds per year: Fall, Winter, and Spring.
Fall wraps up right after we hand the wahoos their yearly football beating. Tech has steadily improved in this area. The first two years, we managed a measly 1.5 points (1 for football, 0.5 for splitting volleyball). This year, we posted wins in football, volleyball, and cross country (both sexes) to take a 4-1 lead into the winter.
Winter has traditionally been a slight win for Tech. Every year we've gotten most of our points between December and March. This year, however, we split points with LOLUVa. We managed to split basketball (not bad considering the year they're having), dominate wrestling (despite half our starters being down with the flu), and secure both men's and women's indoor track & field. Unfortunately, we gave up the point for men's swimming and diving for the first time since the clash began. Who knew?
So that brings us to the last segment of this year's clash. There are two ways of looking at spring sports. One is that LOLUVa really has our number in the spring. Seriously, it's like they picked spring sports just to cater to the LOLUVa demographic: Men's golf, women's golf, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's lacrosse. Sure, there's men's and women's track & field, softball, and baseball, but, of those, we only consistently do well in softball. Every year, LOLUVa has posted half their points from spring sports.
The other way to look at spring is that we are getting better every year. In the first year, we managed 1.5 points. Then we scraped together two points in year two. Year three was our best showing with three whole points, which was just enough to get the tie (and the win!).
Just like last year, we go into Spring holding on to a 3 point lead. If we can hold onto the ground we gained last year (points in softball and both men's and women's track & field) and pick up a surprise point (women's lacrosse?) we will have won our second clash in 4 years.