Virginia Athletics Notes: Ethan Dabbs, Swimming Success, & More

Virginia javelin thrower Ethan Dabbs won the men’s javelin event at the 2022 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships on Sunday in Eugene, Oregon. That continues an incredible comeback story for Dabbs, who underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2021.

After barely qualifying for the finals, Dabbs sat in fifth place ahead of his sixth and final throw of the event. That last attempt sailed 81.29 meters and resulted in a gold medal. Dabbs had an impressive performance in Eugene at the NCAA Championships back in early June when he finished in second, but his performance at the USATF Outdoor Championships was even more successful. Dabbs’ triumph earned him a spot on the USATF team for the World Athletics Championships later this summer, also in Eugene, in addition to his gold medal. 

Dabbs wasn’t the only current Hoo to post a strong performance in Oregon.

Virginia distance runner Mia Barnett placed second in the women’s 1500-meter race at the U20 edition of the USATF Outdoor Championships on Saturday. Barnett, a freshman this past year, earned All-American honors for the distance medley relay and the mile during the indoor season. She also was named to the All-ACC second team for those same two indoor races as well as the 1,500-meter outdoor race. With her second-place finish, Barnett earned a spot at the World Athletics U20 Championships in early August. 

Emma Navarro Turns Pro

Virginia women’s tennis star Emma Navarro announced on Sunday that she will not be returning to UVA for her junior year. Instead, the former No. 1 recruit out of high school will pursue a professional career in tennis. She will leave Virginia having been named both a singles and doubles All-American in both of her years in Charlottesville.

Navarro joined two-time NCAA Singles National Champion Danielle Collins as the only Virginia women’s tennis players to win the individual championship. This past year Navarro was the NCAA’s No. 1 ranked player in every match she played besides the first one of the season and she earned the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA singles championship. Her dominant collegiate career ends with a 51-3 singles record and just one postseason loss, which came in this year’s round of 16. In her limited time at UVA, Navarro was dominant to an extent few others in any sport can relate to and she will undoubtedly be remembered as an all-time great in Virginia tennis history. 

Swimming Adds World Championship Medals To Impressive Year

Virginia swimmers combined to win nine medals at the 2022 FINA World Championships. UVA alum Leah Smith and current Cavalier swimmers Alex Walsh, Emma Weyant, and Kate Douglass joined Virginia and Team USA coach Todd DeSorbo for this summer’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Walsh led the way with three gold medals, standing atop the podium in the 200-meter individual medley, 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and 4×100-meter medley relay. Douglass also earned three medals as she earned bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke, 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and the mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Smith earned a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle and joined Walsh on the gold medal 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Weyant won a bronze medal in the 400-meter individual medley. 

Virginia To Face Michigan In Men’s Basketball

The ACC and Big Ten released the matchups for the 2022 Men’s Basketball ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Friday. The Cavaliers will play at Michigan on Tuesday, Nov. 29. This will be the fifth time the two teams have ever faced off and the first time since 2011. It will also be the first time Virginia has ever played in Ann Arbor.

In the four previous matchups, the Cavaliers are 2-2 including a win in the one previous matchup between the two sides in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Virginia is 13-8 all-time in the challenge and 6-5 in road games in the event. The Cavaliers have won eight of their last 11 matchups in the challenge but have lost the last two, at Purdue in 2019 and at home against Iowa last season. The entire challenge will be broadcast on ESPN’s networks, but the tip-off times and network specifics will be released at a later date. 

Softball Draws Challenge Assignment Too

The Virginia softball team will face Maryland and Minnesota in next season’s ACC/Big 10 Softball Challenge. The Cavaliers have never appeared in the event. North Carolina will host the Cavaliers, Terrapins, and Golden Gophers in Chapel Hill but the teams will only face those not in their respective conferences. Georgia Tech, Clemson, and NC State are also hosting four-team pods for the event. The softball edition of the event has only been played five times and was not a part of the 2021 schedule. The ACC is 3-2 in the event. Games will be played between Feb. 16 and 19 of 2023. Specific dates for each of the games have yet to be released by the conferences.

Virginia Alum Earns Head Coaching Spot

High Point University named UVA women’s golf alum Lyndsey Hunnell as its head coach on Monday. Hunnell was a member of the Virginia from 2014-2018 before she transferred to Xavier as a graduate student for her final season where she earned All-Big East honors. The Cavaliers won the ACC Championship in 2015 and 2016 during her time on the team. Since finishing her career, Hunnell has rapidly climbed the ladder to a head coaching position. She spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Campbell University, which won three straight Big South titles in those years.