Although it was the opening event of the 2013-14 track and field season, Kent State showed up in mid-season form at the Golden Flash Gala last weekend.
On his second weight throw of the night on Friday, Matthias Tayala broke the 40-year old indoor school record, then topped that on his final throw with a heave of 72-2.5. Olympic athlete Jacques Accambray set the previous record of 71-10.75 in 1973.
"It was nice. I didn't really expect that," Tayala said. "But it's good to get it out of the way. I'm excited."
The effort impressed KSU head coach Bill Lawson.
"Just a fantastic effort," Lawson said. "More importantly, with the series he threw with three or four throws over 70 feet, that far surpasses his lifetime personal record. That most likely punched his ticket to the national championship. Unbelievable effort by him."
For the women, Jackie Leppelmeier also capped a first-place finish in the weight throw with a personal-best 67-1.25, just seven inches off the current Kent State indoor record.
"Fantastic effort by her," said Lawson. "I just think it shows the strength of our throws program. I'm really proud of Jackie."
Also on Friday, Dylan Shirley took first place in the men's long jump and Andrew Goodwin won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:58.09.
On Saturday Wayne Gordon was a double winner, capturing both the 60-meter dash (6.85) and the 200-meter dash (21.39).
William Barnes set a personal best early in the meet when he posted a winning time of 7.98 in the 60-meter hurdles. Also in the men's sprints, Matthew Tobin led the field with a 400-meter dash time of 48.86, an indoor personal best for the true freshman.
Donovan Tolbert placed first in the triple jump with a 47-8 performance. Kent State also went one-two in the men's pole vault, as Jesse Oxley took top honors with a 16-0.75 followed by Cory Miller.
Also on the track, Marteze Roper won the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:31.40.
On the women's side, Lynnese Beyan took top honors in the 400 meters with a time of 57.71.
"I thought and predicted we'd have some good performances and we did," said Lawson. "We have a lot of work to do in some areas, but overall it was a solid performance. I think our men's team is much improved from one year ago at this time. I think it's going to be interesting to see where we are in a month from right now."
Michael Schober has been named an assistant track & field coach at Kent State.
Schober, who will oversee men's/women's high jump, women's combined event, men's/women's hurdles, and serve as the assistant in the men's decathlon for the Flashes, comes back to Kent State after spending a year with the track and field and cross country programs at Mount Union.
Schober was named the Men's Great Lakes Division III Assistant Coach of the Year after coaching 12 national qualifiers and four All-Americans last year for the Purple Raiders.
"I am extremely pleased to have Michael (Schober) back in the program," said Lawson. "He was an outstanding track & field athlete for us and was a great team leader. Michael helped lead a very successful program at Mount Union, and I feel that he will bring that same winning attitude to Kent State as a coach. He is the final piece of the puzzle on my staff as we move forward into another exciting year."
A graduate of Kent State University, where he earned his Bachelor's of Science degree in physical education-human movement studies in 2012, Schober earned All-MAC honors five times. His score of 5,358 in the heptathlon ranks third all-time in the Kent State record books. He also spent the 2011-12 season as a volunteer assistant on Lawson's track & field staff, where he worked closely with the high jump and combined events.
Three consecutive pins from Tyler Small, Michael DePalma and Ian Miller fueled a 38-3 Kent State victory over Buffalo Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.
Mack McGuire's 5-0 victory at 133 pounds began a string of nine straight wins for the Flashes (4-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference).
"It was a great way to start out MAC competition," said KSU coach Jim Andrassy. "I thought we controlled the pace. We worked through hand-fighting, controlled ties and scored points when we attempted."
With the team score tied 3-3 heading into the 141-pound match, Small began a turn of events in his second period that put the Flashes on cruise control. Trailing 3-2 from the bottom position, Small took a non-traditional route from reversal to cradle, pinning Nick Flannery with 15 seconds left in the second.
"I feel comfortable in a lot of those sticky situations," Small said. "I know where to put pressure and take away pressure."
DePalma was the second of five Flashes competing at the M.A.C. Center for the first time in their career. The sophomore came storming out of the gate with a takedown and a pair of three-point tilts before sticking Ryan Todora 2:10 into the first period.
Miller rattled off three takedowns before planting John Northrup at the 2:24 mark. Miller's seventh pin of the season ties him for fifth place among Kent State's career leaders with 27.
Sophomore Tyler Buckwalter made his first appearance of the season a promising one with an 8-2 win over Wally Maziarz. A reversal and two-point near fall in the final seconds of the second period by Buckwalter was too much for Maziarz to overcome.
Junior Caleb Marsh turned Jarred Lux four different times with the same move on his way to a 16-0 tech fall. The fourth three-point turn ended the match at 4:16.
Sophomore Sam Wheeler's explosive shots led to a pair of takedowns in each of the first two periods, and he went on to earn an 11-7 victory.
Sophomore Cole Baxter gave Kent State its eighth straight win with a 6-3 decision over Angelo Malvestuto. Baxter earned takedowns in the first and third periods and got a momentum boost with an escape in the second as time expired.
Redshirt freshman Mimmo Lytle came out aggressively in a 10-5 victory over James Benjamin. Lytle worked an underhook to convert three takedowns in the opening period.
Kent State's focus moves to the classroom for finals week before hosting Old Dominion on Monday, Dec. 16.
Kent State sophomore defensive back Jordan Italiano has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team.
A chemistry/pre-med major, Italiano carries a 3.94 cumulative grade-point average.
"Jordan's one of those guys who you only have to tell him to do something once," said KSU coach Paul Haynes. "You don't find too many guys with that type of discipline, so it doesn't surprise me that he carries that same type of discipline with his studies. The amount of time he puts into football, that's how much time he puts into academics. He's such a good player and he's one of our leaders."
Playing primarily at the star position, Italiano started in all 12 games this season. He led the Flashes with 41 solo tackles and finished third on the team with 76 total tackles. He also forced two fumbles and had a pair of tackles for loss.
Italiano is only the program's second player to earn the honor as a sophomore, joining Jacquise Terry.
Former Kent State star John Hahn finished in a tie for 47th at the European Tour's Hong Kong Open, which concluded on Sunday. Hahn fired rounds of 70-68-73-68 to finish at 1-under 279.
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 12-under and won the event in a playoff.