After sneaking in a couple of mini-vacations during the month of July, I'm back and ready to roll as the 2013-14 season is literally now right around the corner.
Kent State football players will report for preseason camp on Thursday, with the 2013 season opener against Liberty slated for Aug. 29 at Dix Stadium now just 30 days away. The other fall sports athletes will be practicing this week as well, while the Golden Flashes men's basketball players will also begin two weeks of fall practices on Aug. 5 to prepare for their trip to the Bahamas on Aug. 18.
Reigning Mid-American Conference Men's Golfer of the Year and championship medalist Taylor Pendrith added to his impressive résumé by winning the Porter Cup, which is among the nation's most prestigious amateur tournaments.
Pendrith finished five strokes ahead of his closest competitor with a 16-under 264 (68-66-63-67), the third-lowest score in the 55-year history of the tournament.
"I am just elated that Taylor came away with this victory," KSU director of golf/men's head coach Herb Page said. "Not only did he win, but he won by five shots. That just doesn't happen in that kind of field."
Pendrith, who enters his senior year at Kent State this fall, held a narrow one-stroke lead heading into Saturday's final round after matching the low round of the tournament with a 63 on Friday. Despite opening with pars on his first four holes, he managed to increase his lead by a stroke. Pendrith then made his move, recording birdies on holes 5, 6 and 7 to take a six-stroke lead. He shot even-par the rest of the way for a 3-under 67.
Pendrith was actually at 2-over after his first nine holes.
"He made 25 birdies in 72 holes," Page added. "He kept hitting it inside 10 feet and made them all. But that's Taylor. He is explosive."
Pendrith's victory snaps a 28-year drought for Canadian amateurs at the tournament. He joins a Porter Cup champions list that includes Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Scott Verplank and Ben Crenshaw.
Having spent much of the summer months playing with Team Canada, Pendrith will have a rare week off before concluding his summer at the Canadian Amateur on Aug. 6-9 at Royal Colwood Golf Club and Gorge Vale Golf Club in Victoria, B.C.
Kent State's Corey Conners and Kyle Kmiecik have been named Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), giving the Flashes multiple selections for the third consecutive year.
Conners, a mathematics major with a 3.47 GPA, was a Division I PING All-America Third Team selection during his junior season. He has also earned PING All-Midwest Region, First Team All-Mid-American Conference and Academic All-MAC honors each of the past two seasons.
Kmiecik, a finance major with a 3.31 GPA, has been selected to the Second Team All-MAC and Academic All-MAC each of the past two seasons. He ranked fourth on the team with a 75.54 scoring average last season.
Five new coaches joined Kent State rookie head coach Paul Haynes' staff over the summer.
Colin Ferrell, a former Golden Flashes team captain, has been named a defensive quality control coach. A four-year letterman at Kent State from 2004-07, Ferrell was an All-MAC First Team selection at defensive tackle as a senior. He then signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts before spending four seasons as a high school coach. Ferrell's main focus will be with the defensive line.
Also joining the staff on the defensive side is Eron Hodges, who was named a graduate assistant. Last season, Hodges served as inside linebackers coach at Valparaiso. He also spent two seasons as a student assistant coach at Illinois State and served on the strength and conditioning staffs at Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Joe Hensel will serve as offensive graduate assistant, with a concentration on the offensive line. Last season Hensel was a graduate assistant at Cincinnati. He also spent two seasons with the offensive line at Ferris State after a pair of high school coaching stops.
The offense also added Kevin Hyland, who will serve as a quality control coach. Hyland brings four years of college coaching experience and spent last season at Rocky River High School. A graduate of Kent State, Hyland will spend time with the Flashes' wide receivers.
Former student assistant JD Lumley returns to Kent State as video coordinator. Lumley spent the last two seasons as video coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Walsh University.
Kent State announced the addition of transfer Michael DePalma from Edinboro University, who will have three years of eligibility.
Competing primarily at 157 pounds last season, DePalma was named to the Amateur Wrestling News All-Rookie Team, posting a 21-12 record with four pins and eight major decisions. A graduate of Jeannette (Pa.) High School, DePalma will immediately compete for a starting spot in the Flashes' lineup, likely at 149.
"With Michael, we feel like we instantly have a guy who can place in the top three at the conference tournament," KSU coach Jim Andrassy said. "If everything goes well and he develops the way we think he can, that probably equals out to another national qualifier. When you look at Mack McGuire, Tyler Small, Michael DePalma, Ian Miller and Caleb Marsh, those are five really good guys in a row from 133 to 165 that we feel comfortable with."
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