By Allen Moff | Staff writer
History was made Saturday as the Kent State women's indoor track & field team scored a record 175 points to take first place at the Mid-American Conference Championships, hosted by Eastern Michigan. The KSU men's team finished in third place, while the host Eagles took first.
The Golden Flashes women's squad repeated as MAC champions for the first time in school history and earned its fourth overall indoor crown while shattering the previous record of 145 points by Ball State set in 1996 and 2001. Runner-up Eastern Michigan totaled just 94 points, giving the Flashes a conference record 81-point margin of victory.
Kent State coach Bill Lawson was named MAC Women's Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. He has guided the Flashes to three of the last four indoor titles and six of the last seven track & field titles overall.
Freshman Dior Delophont was named Women's Most Valuable Performer after sweeping the jumps in her first conference meet. After winning the long jump on Friday (19-8.75), Delophont began the second day of competition by clearing 5-11.25 to win the high jump. She then won the triple jump by more than a foot with a leap of 42-6.25.
For the second consecutive year, junior Shanequa Williams was named Women's Most Outstanding Track Performer. Williams clocked a Kent State-record 23.89 to successfully defend her conference crown in the 200-meter dash. She also ran a 54.44 to win the 400-meter dash and anchored the 4x400-meter relay team that ran a 3:44.35 to take first place.
The women clocked program records in a pair of sprints as well. Junior Katie Reiser won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.46 to break her own school record, which she set a week ago. Junior Ann Marie Duffus finished second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.38, tying her own school record.
The team of Taylor Farquhar, Erica Hutson, Lynnese Beyan and Williams won a competitive 4x400 relay with the fourth-best time in school history (3:44.35) to round out the first-place finishes on the women's side.
Sophomore Roseanne Erickson scored 18 points for the Flashes, which was tied for third-most on the women's side. Erickson took third place in the 200-meter dash (24.56) and fifth place in the 60-meter dash (7.61), and was runner-up in the long jump (19-8.25) on the first day of competition.
Kent State's men's team won two individual titles. Sophomore Matthias Tayala captured the top spot in the weight throw with a toss of 66-9.25, and senior Brandon Bailey clocked a 48.17 to win the 400-meter dash.
Senior Michael Heller (Stow) collected his second runner-up finish of the meet by clocking an 8:25.36 in the 3,000-meter run on Saturday. Heller took second in the 5,000-meter run on Friday. Also finishing in second place was freshman Wayne Gordon, who ran a 21.70 in the 200-meter dash.
Kent State's nightmare start to the 2013 campaign continued with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss at San Diego Friday night, followed by a lopsided 18-11 setback to the Toreros in game one of Saturday's doubleheader. Game two was not completed at press time.
In Friday's game, the Flashes (0-6) led 1-0 heading into the ninth inning after junior ace Tyler Skulina pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six.
However, the Kent State bullpen could not hold the lead, giving San Diego (2-3) its first win of the season in two-out, bottom of the ninth, walk-off fashion.
"Tyler Skulina was outstanding, he deserved to win," KSU head coach Scott Stricklin said. "We couldn't hold on in the ninth, but it was really encouraging to see Tyler pitch like that. That's what we expect to see out of him."
The Flashes put runners on base throughout the contest, but could not score until Evan Campbell ripped a solo home run in the seventh. They left 10 men on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Eric Dorsch (0-2) came on to start the ninth and walked the leadoff hitter. After striking out the next batter, Dorsch surrendered an RBI double that tied the game before striking out the next batter. Sophomore lefty Brian Clark (Stow) was then brought on to face San Diego left-handed hitter AJ Robinson, who served a hit to left field to plate the game-winning run.
Campbell finished the night 2-for-5, while Alex Miklos also picked up two hits in four at-bats with a triple.
In Saturday's opener, San Diego scored five runs in the first two innings off senior reliever-turned-starter Casey Wilson, then broke the game wide open with an eight-run fifth that increased the Toreros' lead to 14-3.
Wilson (0-2) took the loss, allowing six runs (5 earned) on six hits in four innings with five walks and four strikeouts. Sophomore Spencer Bryant was victimized in the fifth, coughing up six runs (5 earned) without recording an out.
Junior shortstop Derek Toadvine ripped a grand slam home run and finished with five RBI for the Flashes, while freshman third baseman Justin Wagler had a triple and two singles and scored twice.
Star senior first baseman George Roberts did not play in either game. He suffered a hand injury during the first game of the season and has not played since.
Kent State (8-2, 4-0 MAC) took down another Mid-American Conference opponent Saturday in DeKalb, Ill., posting a 195.800-194.350 victory over host Northern Illinois (3-4, 1-3) to run its winning streak to six straight meets.
Senior Rachel Guida took first in the bars with a 9.900 and the vault with a career-best 9.875. Sophomore Whitnee Johnson took second on bars with a 9.825, and tallied a career-high 39.150 in the all-around.
Junior Marie Case lead the Flashes in a crucial final rotation on the balance beam. While she is used to dominating the all-around competition, she took a night off to focus on the individual event and the move paid off. Case scored a 9.900, her second-highest score of the season.
Kent State will return home to compete Friday against Ball State.
Kent State suffered its second eight-inning loss in as many days at the Cardinal Classic, falling 1-0 to Eastern Illinois at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium.
The loss marks the second straight game in which the Golden Flashes failed to score a run.
"We just need to get our offense on track, and that will come with more live hitting," said KSU coach Karen Linder, whose squad has been shutout over its past 17 innings.
Sophomore pitcher Emma Johnson provided a bright spot for the Flashes. Johnson (1-3) went the distance, scattering five hits over eight innings and recording seven strikeouts while walking one batter. The winning run was unearned as the runner was placed on second base to begin extra innings.
"Emma pitched very well today," Linder said. "She did a great job for us and allowed us to be in a position to win the game despite our lineup's struggles."
The Flashes managed just three hits and left a season-high nine runners stranded on base.
Kent State will battle No. 18 Louisville today at 12:30.