Battle of the Barracks a Hit with the Corps
LEXINGTON, Va., Dec. 12, 2016 – VMI’s club sports seasons are wrapping up for the semester, and a number of teams are gearing up for their national tournaments.
The powerlifting squad will be sending 12 athletes to the Collegiate Nationals in San Antonio, Texas, in April. The running team continued its season with some impressive showings at some impressive competitions.
But one of the most exciting of those preparations was over the Veterans Day weekend when the boxing team held its first Battle in the Barracks.
“It was really special,” said head boxing coach Larry Hinojosa. “It was one of [my] most favorite things I’ve done as a coach.”
On that chilly Friday night, the VMI pugilists offered a first-of-its-kind exhibition in the courtyard of New Barracks. The crowd that showed up to watch the nine matches was much larger and more boisterous than expected.
“We expected maybe 200 to 300 people to show up,” said assistant commandant Carter Chatwood ’16, noting that more than 900 were actually in attendance. “The week of, I had faculty coming to me and asking if they could get on the list to get into barracks. The next day at the football game, alumni were asking what happened in barracks. They said this was the best thing they had ever seen or heard of.”
“[Members of the Corps of Cadets] have already asked when the next Battle in Barracks [will be],” added Nathan Miller ’17, who fought in the main event at 152 pounds. “They had so much fun; they want more.
“We’ve fought in some crazy places before, but that was definitely the most electrifying atmosphere I’ve ever fought in,” Miller continued. “Just walking out in front of the Corps and hearing all of those goons cheering for me, the best word is electrifying. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in boxing.”
To say the Battle in Barracks was a success would be an understatement. It went so well, in fact, that plans are being made for a similar event in the spring.
“I think everyone who was involved was glad they got to be a part of it,” said Hinojosa, whose team will entertain between 25 and 30 other clubs at the national tournament in March.
A week earlier, the powerlifting squad was putting on a show of its own at the state championships in Cocke Hall, with 15 cadets competing.
On the women’s side, Natalie Carroll ’17, who is also a member of VMI’s first female boxing team and hopes to compete at the boxing nationals, won a state title, finishing with a total of 644 pounds in the 125-pound weight class. Caitlyn Casten ’18 lifted a total weight of 688 pounds to win the title, while Virginia Villani ’19 won with a total of 764 pounds.
VMI’s men boasted six state champions, led by Zachary Holland ’17, Morgan Menaker ’17, and Ben Gibson ’19. Holland dominated the 183-pound weight class with a total of 1,444 pounds. Menaker finished with a total of 1,332 pounds while Gibson totaled 1,270.
The VMI Running Club recently competed in three major long-distance runs and turned in stellar results at each.
Josh Orr ’18 finished first in his age group and 11th overall at the Air Force Marathon, held in September at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, finishing the full marathon in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 43 seconds. Christopher Douglas ’17 was second in his age group and 15th overall, while Sarah Dickenson ’18 placed fourth in her age group in her first marathon.
At the Chessie Trail 5K in October, Michael Ratt ’19 won his age group and placed sixth overall. Douglas and Orr finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the half marathon.
The Running Club most recently competed in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Veterans Day 5K in Blacksburg. Orr was once again VMI’s top finisher, winning the race with a time of 18:46.96. Dickenson finished the race in 22:21.53 to take first in her age group, and Riley Joy Neary ’19 was third in her age group.
- Chris Floyd