Kent State Sports Report: University honors Judy Devine with Diversity Trailblazer Award

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer

Judy Devine, a long-time member of Kent State University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, has been awarded the university's 2014 Diversity Trailblazer Award recognizing diversity pioneers associated with Kent State.

Devine was presented the award during the university's 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, held Jan. 23 in the Kent State University Ballroom.

Considered the matriarch of Kent State University athletics, Devine retired from her post as senior associate athletic director in 2000 following 31 years in a variety of roles within the department. Devine was nominated by Talea Drummer, assistant athletic director at Kent State. In her letter of nomination, Drummer wrote that Devine has "truly blazed a trail for gender equity for student-athletes, coaches and administrators," and "worked hard to make sure that women who participated in athletics were treated fairly."

Drummer mentioned in 2010 that Devine, along with other members of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, held a lettering ceremony during Homecoming weekend to honor all of the pre-Title IX female athletes by giving them the varsity letter that was long-deserved.

"Needless to say, I am shocked, humbled and honored to think I was even considered for the award, much less selected as the award winner," Devine said. "The recognition further fuels my passion to continue to work toward the elimination of gender inequity in educational settings."

The award's selection committee noted Devine's dedication to equality and opportunity for women at a point in history when such efforts were not established by legislation. The selection committee also was impressed by the longitudinal efforts put forth by Devine, a commitment to Kent State that spans back to 1969 and has continued long after her retirement.

Devine came to Kent State as a graduate assistant in 1969, and went on to serve as the head coach of the women's basketball team from 1969-1977 and the field hockey team from 1969-1980. When the men's and women's athletic programs were merged in 1975, she was given the responsibilities of assistant director of athletics before being elevated to associate athletic director in 1978, then senior associate athletic director in 1985.

At the time of her retirement she coordinated financial aid, housing, awards and the academic performance of Kent State's student-athletes. She also handled compliance and eligibility until 1999. In 2000, the Kent State Board of Trustees granted emeritus status to Devine. In 2003, she was inducted into the Varsity 'K' Athletics Hall of Fame.

In addition to permanently endowing the university's Athletic Academic Honors Dinner and the expansion of the Academic Resource Center expansion, Devine's contributions toward Kent State total more than $1.4 million.

GYMNASTICS

No. 22 Kent State took down host Western Michigan 194.025-192.100 on Friday.

The Golden Flashes (5-1, 2-0 MAC) were led by Marie Case, who took first in the all-around with a score of 39.150. The Flashes swept the balance beam, as Case took first (9.850), Nicolle Eastman finished second (9.800) and Nicole Radon was third (9.750).

Case tied for first in the floor exercise with a 9.850. Amiah Mims tied for first in the vault (9.800) and was third on floor with a score of 9.825.

Kent State will hold its annual Flip for the Cure event Friday, when it hosts Northern Illinois at 7 p.m.

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Case was named MAC Gymnast of the Week after leading the Flashes to a 3-1 record a week ago. She took second in the all-around in a quad meet that included No. 16 Rutgers, and won the all-around in a dual meet with North Carolina State with a MAC season-high score of 39.375.

TRACK AND FIELD

Several Kent State athletes turned in excellent performances at the Gladstein Invitational, hosted by Indiana University on Friday and Saturday.

Dylan Shirley won the long jump with a leap of 23-5.1, Kyle Tywon captured the heptathlon with a score of 5,241, and Miles Dunlap claimed the 400 meters in 48.94.

Riak Reese (200, 21.94), William Barnes (60 hurdles, 7.93), Cody Jones (high jump, 6-7.53), Michael King (shot put, 60-1.26), Cory Miller (pole vault, 16-4.84) and Matthew Tobin (400, 49.83) each finished second in their respective events.

On the women's side, Kent State's 4x800-meter relay team of Tabitha Jacofsky, Lauren Burnett, Taylor Wickey and Hannah Fleck took first with a time of 9:01.30.

Dior Delophont won the triple jump at 41-6.03, while Jacofsky claimed the mile with a time of 5:03.56.

Runner-up finishes were turned in by Olivia Hallstein (200, 25.47), Ann Marie Duffus (60 hurdles, 8.38), Jackie Leppelmeier (weight throw, 65-3.86) and Chelsea Laury (800, 2:29.43).

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Delophont has been named MAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Week and Women's Track Athlete of the Week. The sophomore posted top marks in the conference in both the high jump and triple jump at the Kent State-Akron Dual on Jan. 17.

Delophont took first in the high jump by clearing 6-0.50, which puts her third in all of Division I. She also took first in the triple jump with a distance of 40-6.25.

A sophomore Fashion Design major, Delophont maintains a 3.936 cumulative GPA.

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Kent State junior Wayne Gordon was named MAC Men's Track Athlete of the Week.

Gordon took first in the KSU-Akron dual in the 200 meter dash with a time of 21.06, tops in the MAC and 10th in the nation. The junior finished first in the 60 meters with a time of 6.77, best in the MAC and 36th in the nation.

WRESTLING

Kent State (8-8, 2-2 MAC) suffered a pair of MAC setbacks over the weekend.

The Flashes earned expected victories in four weight classes, but were unable to pull off an upset Friday night in a 21-16 loss to host Ohio.

Junior Tyler Small began the night with a third-period pin of Noah Forrider. Trailing 1-0 to start the third, Small started from the top position and used a leg ride to set up a tightly locked cradle.

Two matches later, it was sophomore Ian Miller's turn to earn bonus points for the Flashes with a 16-5 major decision over Sparty Chino. Miller's five-point move following a Chino shot in the second put the match out of reach.

Up 10-9 after five matches, sophomore Sam Wheeler extended the lead with a convincing 12-5 decision over Ryan Garringer. Wheeler took charge from the neutral position, converting takedowns on five different shots.

The Bobcats responded with three straight victories, including Phil Wellington's 4-2 decision over sophomore Cole Baxter at 197. Wellington trailed 2-1 in the third before scoring a takedown and securing riding time.

Sophomore Mack McGuire finished off the night with a 2-1 decision over Kagan Squire. McGuire's first-period takedown at the edge of the mat made the difference.

On Sunday, an injury default at the 157-pound weight class created a difference-making, nine-point swing in Central Michigan's 21-12 victory over Kent State at the M.A.C. Center. The remaining matches resulted in five decisions for the Chippewas (8-6, 4-2 MAC) and four decisions for the Flashes.

"The first three matches and 165, they took advantage of everything we did," KSU coach Jim Andrassy said. "We did all the wrestling and they got all of their scoring off of our moves."

Following three Central Michigan wins, sophomore Michael DePalma put KSU on the board with an 11-6 victory over Scott Mattingly. DePalma came out active on his feet and kept up a fast-paced offense with five takedowns, racking up 2:45 in riding time.

Momentum briefly continued going Kent State's way as Miller jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Luke Smith after one period. He led 4-2 in the third period with riding time before a sudden arm injury prevented Miller from finishing.

"If Ian wins his match it's a 15-15 tie," Andrassy said. "We thought there was a good chance the other matches would end up the way they did. But that's wrestling; injuries happen."

The Flashes' biggest highlight of the afternoon came at 184 pounds. Wheeler was nearly pinned in the first period and trailed 6-0 to start the second. But he battled back to convert four takedowns, force a stalling point and erase Craig Kelliher's riding time for a 9-8 victory.

"Sam's wrestled that kid about seven times and he's never lost to him," Andrassy said. "Sam just kept the pressure on. It shows a lot of character on him."

Baxter followed with a 5-1 win at 197. All of his scoring came in the first period with a takedown and a three-point turn.

Redshirt freshman Mimmo Lytle made it three straight Kent State victories with a 3-1 win to end the dual. Lytle broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period with a double-leg takedown.

"We're young, but the season isn't young anymore," Andrassy said. "So there's some things we need to correct, and we need to correct them fast."

The Flashes will compete in the third of five straight MAC duals Friday at Eastern Michigan.

FOOTBALL

Kent State's Matt Dellinger, Jordan Italiano, Anthony Meray and Nate Vance were all named to the Academic All-MAC Football Team. The four selections tied for the second-most among the MAC's 13 teams and marked the fourth straight season with at least three KSU student-athletes on the academic all-conference team.

Meray, a junior running back, is a two-time selection. An exercise specialist major, Meray carries a 3.82 grade point average. He ran for 248 yards and a touchdown this past season, and earned the Leo Strang Award last spring for carrying the highest GPA among the team's upperclassmen.

Dellinger, a sophomore linebacker, carries a 3.72 GPA as an applied conflict management major. He finished second on the team with 77 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.

Italiano, a sophomore safety, also earned Academic All-America honors this season. He carries a 3.94 GPA as a chemistry/pre-med major, and led the Flashes with 41 solo tackles in 2013.

Vance, a junior defensive lineman from Stow, carries a 3.66 GPA as a sports administration major. In 2013 he tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks and totaled 46 tackles. He was an Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention choice last year.

Chad Bushley, Chris Humphrey and Joe Ziccardi were Honorable Mention selections.

Kent State will announce its recruiting class for the 2014 season on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

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Jon Heacock has been named defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Toledo.

Heacock, a former head coach at Youngstown State, was Kent State's defensive coordinator under former head coach Darrell Hazell. He followed Hazell to Purdue last season, serving as the Boilermakers' defensive backs coach.

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