Throwing his weight around by Brent Hager

The 2004-05 academic year, Virginia Tech's first in the Atlantic Coast Conference, is in the books--and it's one the university won't soon forget. The football team won the ACC championship and represented the league in the Sugar Bowl; several teams competed in the NCAA tournament in their respective sports; and the women's soccer, swimming and diving, and lacrosse teams each boasted the ACC freshman of the year.

But it was a thrower on the men's track and field team who outdistanced them all and brought to Virginia Tech what no other Hokie has before--a national championship. Make that two.

At the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March, junior Spyridon Jullien claimed the national title in the 35-pound weight throw with a toss of 23.18 meters (nearly 77 feet), a solid four feet farther than his competitors'.

Three months later at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Jullien won the hammer throw with a toss of 70.43 meters (just beyond 231 feet), putting the final touches on a record-breaking season during which he dominated the top spot on the Division I performance list.

A native of Athens, Greece, Jullien has come a long way--both geographically and athletically--since being recruited. Under the tutelage of Greg Jack, associate head track and field coach for throws, Jullien has increased his weight throw by nearly five meters and his hammer throw by more than five meters during his three years at Tech.

Spyridon Jullien

Spyridon JullienIn light of his hard work and competitive drive, it's not surprising that the thrower had already become one of the university's most decorated athletes before winning the two national championships. A three-time NCAA All-American in the hammer throw and a two-time All-American in the weight throw, Jullien is also a two-time ACC champion, holding the conference record in both throws, a four-time Big East champion, and the 2003 Big East Most Outstanding Indoor Field Athlete.

The accolades seem fitting for the soft-spoken athlete whose sister back home is the Greek champion in taekwondo. Let's just hope that the family’s house in Athens has room for all the hardware, for chances are very good that Jullien, who has one more season of eligibility remaining, will chalk up two more national titles next year.

|Brent Hager is an intern for the Virginia Tech Sports Information Office.