After spending a year away from Kent State wrestling some of the top competition the world has to offer, senior Dustin Kilgore has returned to the Golden Flashes better than ever.
That's bad news for foes, who have been repeatedly manhandled by Kent State's 2010 197-pound NCAA champion thus far in the 2012-13 campaign.
Kilgore was named Mid-American Conference Wrestler of the Week after winning the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend, going 5-0 at the two-day tournament with a pin and two major decisions.
The No. 1 ranked 197-pounder in all national polls, Kilgore topped No. 3 Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming in the finals 5-4 to earn his school-record 150th career win. And don't let the final score fool you, according to Kent State coach Jim Andrassy.
"The match wasn't as close as the score," Andrassy said. "Dustin gave up a late takedown. He was in complete control and he had four or five scoring opportunities he didn't capitalize on."
Kilgore, now 15-0, also had two major decisions and a pin on day one of the event, and defeated Ohio State's 12th-ranked Andrew Campolattano 6-3 in the semifinals.
"Guys aren't coming at him," Andrassy said. "And it's probably going to be like that all year."
Kilgore has won all four tournaments he's competed in this year, and leads the Flashes with six pins and four major decisions.
Senior 184-pounder Casey Newburg went 5-2 against an extremely tough field in Las Vegas to place fifth, and is now 17-2 on the season, while sophomore Caleb Marsh went 3-2 on the weekend at 165.
Kent State returns to action Dec. 14, visiting Ohio State in its first dual meet of the season.
Kent State softball coach Karen Linder recently announced the signing of three high school seniors to national letters of intent: Maddy Grimm (Stahlstown, Pa.), Ronnie Ladines (Arlington, Wash.), and Nicole Teefy (Hiram, Ga.).
Grimm is a three-time all-state selection at shortstop. She has helped Ligonier Valley H.S. capture three consecutive conference titles and slugged 10 home runs while driving in 31 runs and hitting .579 during her junior season.
"We are excited to have Maddy join our program, as she is an athlete that will make an immediate impact in various phases of the game," Linder said. "As a shortstop, she has great range and a strong arm. As a hitter, she has tremendous power. And as an athlete, she is a fierce competitor."
Ladines is the lone pitcher in the group. A three-time all-conference selection, she has recorded 19 wins over her last two seasons at Arlington H.S.
As a junior, Ladines posted a 10-3 record with 183 strikeouts and a 1.49 ERA, while hitting .533 and scoring 32 runs.
"Ronnie should make an immediate contribution to our pitching staff," Linder said. "Coming from the state of Washington, she has competed against some of the strongest travel teams in the country. She has been a strikeout pitcher, who keeps batters off-balance and is also an excellent hitter, who will bring a powerful bat to the lineup."
Teefy earned First Team all-region honors at catcher in her senior season after hitting .463 with 19 RBI for Hiram H.S. this past fall.
"Nicole is an excellent defensive catcher," Linder said. "She is very knowledgeable about the game and will bring energy and leadership to the position."
Kent State's 2013 season gets under way Feb. 8-10 at the Auburn Invitational.
Kent State prepared for the upcoming 2013 season with its annual Blue and Gold intrasquad meet at the M.A.C. Center.
After falling behind through the first two rotations, the Gold team had standout efforts on the floor to help elevate it to a 116.800-116.750 victory over the Blue squad.
Junior Marie Case was victorious in three events for the Gold team, the floor exercise (9.900), bars (9.800) and beam (9.825). Also scoring for the Gold squad on the floor were freshmen Nicolle Eastman and Katlin Isaacs, who each had a 9.825.
The Blue team was aided by a pair of 9.800 scores on the vault by senior Lauren Wozniak and sophomore Whitnee Johnson. Blue squad members Johnson and sophomore Amiah Mims tallied all-around scores of 38.850 and 38.725, respectively.
Kent State will begin the 2013 competition season Jan. 11 at Iowa State.
Kent State coach Mike Morrow announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent: MacKenzie DiPietro (North Canton), Maddy Mullins (Sandusky) and Raksha Phadke (Pune, India).
"We are excited to add MacKenzie, Maddy and Raksha to our program," Morrow said. "As a group, they are truly student-athletes, and they will bring both quality and depth to our program."
DiPietro, a two-sport standout, garnered First Team all-state accolades as a senior after finishing third at the 2012 OHSAA Division I state championship. Additionally, DiPietro aided Hoover's softball squad to back-to-back state titles in 2011 and 2012.
Mullins captured the 2012 OHSAA Division II individual state title and led her prep squad, Sandusky Perkins, to the team title thanks to an even-par 72 to start the two-day event this past fall. Mullins was a two-time sectional and two-time all-state honoree as a prep.
Phadke is coming off a summer that included a tie for 24th-place finish at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships in July. Phadke also was a winner on the Nick Faldo Series and took second at the 2011 Northern India Junior.
Kent State will resume its 2012-13 slate Feb. 10-12 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, P.R.
Kent State junior Corey Conners solidified his No. 6 national ranking at the Western Refining College All-American Classic by placing fifth in a tournament that featured 22 of the nation's premier collegiate golfers.
Conners finished the week at 10-under 203 (67-67-69) on the par-71, 6,817-yard layout at the El Paso Country Club. His three consecutive rounds in the 60s make him only the fourth player in school history, and the first since Jon Mills in 2000, to shoot an entire 54-hole tournament in the 60s. Ben Curtis (1999) and Brian Bridges (1991) are the others to have accomplished the feat.
Conners and the rest of the No. 22 Golden Flashes will return to action on March 4-5 at the Louisiana Classics.
Sophomore Julia Hofmann and junior Rebecca Lee have earned spots on the All-West Region Second Team squad as awarded by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Lee earned second team all-region honors for the second straight year following a 2012 season in which she totaled 25 points by scoring nine goals with seven assists. She was also named First Team All-MAC for the second straight year.
Hofmann was Kent State's offensive leader this year, scoring a conference-leading 16 goals to go along with three assists to earn 35 points. Hofmann was also a First Team All-MAC choice.
Lee and Hofmann helped lead Kent State to the 2012 MAC regular-season championship, their fourth title in the last five years.
Hannan Newhouse, a senior defender, was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I Second Team. She is the second player in Kent State history to be recognized for academic and athletic success by CoSIDA.
Newhouse played every minutes this season and helped the team post nine shutouts in 20 games. She also notched a goal and three assists.
Newhouse owns a 3.97 grade-point average in psychology, with a pre-med emphasis. She was a 2011 Academic All-MAC honoree and has earned academic honors all six semesters at Kent State, including the President's List (4.0 on 4.0 scale) twice.