Kent State senior Riak Reese punched his ticket to the 2018 NCAA Championships with a 10th-place finish in the men’s 100 meters on Friday at the NCAA East Preliminaries in Tampa, Fla.

Reese clocked a 10.20 to finish fifth in his heat and 10th overall in the event. The top 12 finishers advanced to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Reese also ran a personal-best 20.39 in the first round of the 200 and will compete in the quarterfinals of the event on Saturday with a chance to qualify for another event at the NCAA Championships.

University of Akron junior Dara Perry finished ninth in the women’s 100 hurdles with a time of 13.12 to advance to Eugene. Junior Abigale Wilson finished fourth in the women’s discus with a throw of 178-9 and Daziah Green finished 18th in the women’s 200 to also qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Perry will race again on Saturday in the women’s 100 hurdles. The Zips also have a slew of other athletes competing on Saturday, including Green (women’s 200), Taron Slone (men’s 200), Ariadna Ramos Gandia (women’s triple jump), Rodrigo Iglesias and Ian Behm (men’s javelin) and Curtis Richardson (men’s high jump).

The Golden Flashes send Gabrielle Figueroa (women’s hammer), Brad Jones (men’s high jump), Tony Milliner, Craig Stevens (men’s triple jump), David Paliscak and Walter Petzel (men’s shot put) on Saturday.

Golf

Kent State’s Chase Johnson (Walsh Jesuit) carded a 4-under 68 and is tied for third place after the first round of the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Okla.

The Golden Flashes are in eighth place after an even-par 288 during Friday’s first round.

University of Akron senior Terrell McClain won the men’s long jump with a mark of 26-1½ to advance to the NCAA Championships at the NCAA East Preliminaries on Thursday in Tampa.

Akron’s Jordan Latimer, who placed 10th in the long jump with a mark of 25-1¼, and junior Matt Ludwig, who finished tied for sixth in the men’s pole vault with a mark of 17-6½, will also advance to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships.

Kent State senior Riak Reese qualified for the quarterfinals of the men’s 100 meters with a third-place finish in his heat. Reese will race on Friday with a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships.

The NCAA East Preliminaries continue Friday with 14 running and three field events beginning at noon.

The Kent State women’s golf team lost 4-1 to Alabama in the match play quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships on Tuesday in Stillwater, Okla.

Karoline Stormo was the only winner for the Golden Flashes. Storm defeated Alabama’s Lakareber Abe 2 & 1 at Karsten Creek Golf Club.

Kent State’s top player, Pimnipa Panthong, was defeated 3 & 2 by Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson. Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight defeated KSU’s Kory Nielsen 4 & 3, Alabama’s Kristen Gillman defeated KSU’s Michaela Finn 2 & 1 and Alabama’s Angelica Moresco defeated KSU’s Chloe Salort 5 & 3.

The Kent State women’s golf team shot its best round of the tournament on Monday to finish in seventh place and qualify for match play at the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.

The Golden Flashes shot a 5-over 293 and finished the four-day, stroke-play portion of the tournament at 32 over par. UCLA and Alabama tied for first at 9 over par.

Pimnipa Panthong shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 1 over par for the four rounds and in a tie for 13th place. Chloe Salort tied for 50th at 12 over par, Kory Nielsen finished tied for 52nd at 13 over par and Michaela Finn was 55th at 14 over par.

The Flashes will begin the match play quarterfinals Tuesday.

Kent State’s women’s golf team advanced to the final stroke-play round and fell to eighth after the third round at the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship in Stillwater, Okla. Alabama and UCLA still remain atop the team leaderboard.

Karoline Stormo shot the best round for the Golden Flashes, a 1-under 71, on Sunday on the Karsten Creek course. Stormo was tied for 119th, and Chloe Salort was tied for 50th at plus 9.

Pimnipa Panthong was leading the Flashes at 30th place. She struggled on the back nine Sunday with three bogeys and a double bogey en route to a 78.

The top 15 teams along with the top nine individuals not on an advancing team will play one additional day of stroke play to determine the top eight teams for match-play competition and the 72-hole stroke-play individual champion. The top eight teams then compete in match play for the championship.

Ohio State did not advance as a team, but Jaclyn Lee’s bogey-free, six-birdie round of 66 on Sunday moved her into third place on the individual leaderboard.

The Kent State women’s golf team dropped two spots to sixth Saturday in the NCAA Division I Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.

In the weather-delayed second round, the Golden Flashes were 11 over par for the round. UCLA and Alabama got hot as the only teams under par for the day.

Pimnipa Panthong was the only KSU player at par in the second round. She carded an even-par 72. She eagled Karsten Creek’s first hole but followed with three bogeys on the next four holes. Panthong got those back with three birdies on the back nine.

With her 71 on Friday, Panthong is tied for eighth on the individual leaderboard at 1 under overall. Chloe Salort and Kory Nielsen (Kent Roosevelt) are tied for 44th at 6 over for the Flashes.

Baseball

Kent State ended its regular season Saturday, closing out a three-game series at Miami in Oxford with a 5-2 loss. The Golden Flashes finished at 36-16 overall and won the Mid-American Conference regular-season title with a 19-8 record, two games better than Miami.

KSU was leading until the fifth inning, when the RedHawks (33-18, 17-10) scored four runs after two were out to take the lead.

RedHawks starter Gus Graham (7-0) handcuffed the Kent State hitters the rest of the way in a complete-game win.

The University of Akron football team will play the Ohio State Buckeyes Sept. 25, 2021 at Ohio Stadium, the schools announced Wednesday.

The Buckeyes and Zips have played one another eight times prior with OSU owning a 7-1 record. The teams last met in 2011, a 42-0 victory for the Buckeyes.

“Every year we try to play one of the top teams in the country for the opportunity that it presents to our football program,” said head coach Terry Bowden in a news release. “And I assure you, it doesn’t get any better than playing Ohio State in Columbus.”

Kent State inched one step closer to its third consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season baseball title on Sunday when the Golden Flashes beat Eastern Michigan 6-4.

The hosts scored four runs in the third inning after a bases-loaded walk preceded Pete Schuler’s bases-clearing double to left center. Eastern Michigan closed the gap to 4-2 in the fifth, but the Flashes got them right back when Pavin Parks tripled in a run and Schuler knocked in another for a 6-2 lead.

Left-hander Eli Kraus (Buckeye) threw 6⅔ innings, striking out nine, to win his 25th career game, tying Mike Nartker for third on the all-time list.

With the win, Kent State (34-14, 18-6) will keep at least a three-game lead in the MAC. It can clinch the regular-season title with a win Thursday at Miami. Kent State travels to play at Youngstown State on Tuesday.

After falling in an upset to open the weekend, Kent State used a 6-3 win Saturday to even the Mid-American Conference series with visiting Eastern Michigan.

Golden Flashes starter Jared Skolnicki gave up all three runs in the first three innings to put Kent State in an early hole.

After Connor Wollersheim came on in relief, the Flashes (33-14, 17-6) tied the game when Michael Turner drew a bases-loaded walk in the third inning and then hit a two-run single to right field in the seventh.

Pete Schuler followed that hit with an RBI single to give Kent State a 4-3 lead and set up Wollersheim to earn a win in relief.

After Reilly Hawkins drilled a two-run home run in the eighth for some breathing room, Collin Romel closed the door with his fifth save of the season.

Track and field

The University of Akron women’s team captured it second consecutive and eighth overall MAC outdoor title, scoring 136.5 points to edge Eastern Michigan.

Kent State finished in fifth place with 67 points.

On the men’s side, Akron earned second place with 166 points and Kent State was third (153).

T.J. Lawson repeated as Mid-American Conference Champion in the men’s decathlon by winning the 110 hurdles and discus to lead Kent State on day two of the MAC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday.

Lawson is the first Golden Flashes athlete since Chris Caine in 2006 and 2007 to win consecutive MAC Tournament men’s decathlon titles.

The University of Akron claimed second, third and fourth places in the men’s decathlon with Malik Hudson, Brandon Hochbein and Kamar Majid finishing in that order. Hudson was second in the 110 hurdles, the discus, pole vault, javelin and the 1,500 meters to lead the Zips.

Akron’s Jaclyn Siefring won the women’s heptathlon after first-place finishes in the long jump, javelin and 800 meters. Akron’s Patricia Ortega finished second in the heptathlon after a second-place finish in each of Friday’s events.

The Zips’ Jordan Latimer won the men’s long jump, with Terrell McClain in second place, and Lucy Brian won the women’s pole vault to give the Zips women’s and men’s teams the overall lead.

Baseball

Eastern Michigan scored two runs in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie and added two runs in the eighth inning to defeat host Kent State 8-4 on Friday.

The Golden Flashes saw their three-game lead in the MAC trimmed to two, and the magic number for the Flashes to clinch the MAC regular-season title remains at four games.

Pavin Parks had two RBI and Tim Dalporto had an RBI single for the Flashes.

Kent State’s T.J. Lawson won the 100 meters, the long jump, the high jump and the 400 to finish the first day of the Mid-American Conference Track and Field Championships in first place in the men’s decathlon on Thursday in Buffalo.

Lawson had a score of 4,073, and the University of Akron’s Malik Hudson was in second place with a score of 3,764 after Thursday’s first round.

The second round of the decathlon concludes Friday with the 110 hurdles, the discus, the pole vault, the javelin and the 1,500 meters.

Akron’s Brandon Hochbein and Kamar Majid were third and fifth, respectively, and Kent State’s Jacob Mally sixth in the decathlon.

Akron’s Patricia Ortega won the 100 hurdles, the high jump, the shot put and the 200 to finish first in the women’s heptathlon. Akron’s Jaclyn Siefring was in second with 3,456 points, trailing only Ortega’s 3,468 points. The heptathlon concludes on Friday with the long jump, javelin and 800.

The Kent State women’s golf team shot a 3-over 291 on the third and final day of the NCAA Division I Regionals at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, finishing fifth overall and earning a spot in the national tournament.

Ranked No. 16 coming in, the Golden Flashes shot an 1-over 865 for the tournament.

That put them 9 shots behind regional champion Stanford and four strokes ahead of Colorado, the final championship qualifier.

Pimnipa Panthong was the leader individually for Kent State, finishing with a three-round total of 3-under 213.

Not too far behind were Michaela Finn and Karoline Stormo, who each fired an even-par 216.

Rounding out the top five for the Golden Flashes were Chloe Salort, who carded a 224, and Kory Nielsen, who shot a 226.

Kent State now advances to the 2018 National Championship, to be held at Karsten Creek Golf Club, a 6,597-yard par-72 course, in Stillwater, Okla.

The incredible tournament run for Kent State comes on the heels of its 20th consecutive title in the Mid-American Conference.

The Kent State women’s golf team dropped 2 strokes on the leaderboard but is tied for first place after Tuesday’s second round of the NCAA Women’s Regional in San Francisco.

The Golden Flashes finished the first round tied for second place and shot a 2-over 290 on Tuesday to move up a spot on the leaderboard after previous leader UCLA shot a 7 over on Tuesday. The Flashes are tied with Stanford at 2-under 574.

Karoline Stormo shot an even-par 72 and is tied for 12th place, Pimnipa Panthong shot a 1-over 73 and is tied for 19th with Michaela Finn, who carded a 1-under 71 to move up 14 spots on the leaderboard.

The final round begins on Wednesday.

No. 16 Kent State was tied for second place after the first round of the NCAA women’s golf regional tournament Monday at the TPC Harding Park Course in San Francisco.

After 18 holes, the Golden Flashes were one of six teams under par at 4-under 284 and were tied with Colorado. Kent State trailed leader UCLA by 4 strokes.

Chloe Salort led Kent with a 2-under 70, which was good for a tie for fifth place.

University of Akron men’s basketball coach John Groce has stayed busy this offseason.

The Zips will feature five new players arriving for next season — three guards and two big men — to fill the roster.

“We obviously wanted to continue to add talented people and talented players and guys who fit what we’re doing, not only from the standpoint of basketball, but the environment in our locker room and the culture in our locker room,” Groce said during a recent phone interview. “All five guys certainly enhance that, not only our ability to play defense and offense better.”

The Zips could certainly use help in both areas after ranking 11th in overall offense and ninth in defense in the Mid-American Conference last season. Given that they shed four players in the aftermath of Groce’s first season, which concluded with a 13-17 record, he was looking to upgrade the roster.

The new players are (statistics are from last season):

• Channel Banks, G, Sheridan College, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds (12.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 47 percent shooting).

• Tyler Cheese, G, 6-4, 190 pounds, Florida Southwestern State College (15.1 points, 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds 44.7 percent shooting).

• Jeremy Roscoe, G, 6-3, 195 pounds, Panola College (11.4 points, 5.8 assists, four rebounds, 48 percent shooting).

• Khadim Gueye, C, 7-foot, transfer with two years left from Senegal (played sparingly).

• Xeyrius Williams, PF, 6-9, 205 pounds, transfer from University of Dayton (5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 35 percent shooting).

Groce said the addition of three perimeter players and two big men provide depth for the coming season, and that certainly was an issue last season.

He called last year’s Zips, who averaged 13.8 turnovers per game, his worst ball-handling team in 10 years.

“We’ll be a lot deeper. We’ll be very, very competitive,” Groce said. “I think we’ll have [better] shooting, better ball handling for sure. I think the addition of these guys and who we have coming back will allow us to be a significantly better ball-handling team.”

Groce said he also wants to ramp up the team’s defense.

“The depth will allow us to do some different things maybe in terms of being able to pressure a little bit more, be a little bit more aggressive,” he said. “We didn’t have that luxury last year because of our lack of roster talent.”

That may indeed prove to be the case, but one fact that truly jumps out is that none of the recent signees lack for experience. The Zips, who had six freshmen who played last year, won’t come close to that this season.

Virshon Cotton, Torey Patton and Sina Gbadebo, who were freshmen, are all gone.

“There’s probably a better fit out there for them,” Groce said. “At the end of the day, that’s part of it. I think more if it was in terms of fit and how we do it, what we expect on and off the court. How we play.”

“Fit” is the key word. At times, the Zips didn’t look in sync on the court and play as a team. There were rumblings around the program of players with entitlement issues.

“Certain guys, had there not been injuries and had it not been the first year when we had to rebuild and reboot, what happened is certain guys — I won’t say they weren’t earned — but maybe a guy gets to play because of injuries or lack of roster depth,” Groce said. “I don’t want to say it’s handed to a guy, but certainly I can see where a guy on our team or someone may perceive it that way.”

If that was the case, depth solves the dilemma.

“You have to earn stripes,” Groce said. “I think it makes the program better. It makes the individual better. Everybody gets better from that when they’re challenged on a daily basis.”

George M. Thomas can be reached at [email protected]. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.

The University of Akron softball team closed its season on a high note, beating rival Kent State 15-5 in its season finale.

The visiting Zips put a season-high runs on the board on 12 hits.

Four players had multiple hits in the final Mid-American Conference game for UA, which ends its 2018 season with a 4-43-1 record and a 3-21 mark in the MAC.

Sydney Jascoe, Kimberly Rodrigeuz and Maddy Clowdus all hit home runs out of the Diamond at Dix in Kent. Jascoe finished with three hits and two RBI. Rodriguez drove in six runs.

Kayla Kmett threw her ninth complete game for the win.

Despite the loss, Kent State will be the No. 4 seed at this week’s MAC softball championship at Firestone Stadium. Kent State (28-21, 14-9) opens against fifth-seeded Western Michigan at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Baseball

Kent State finished a sweep of Bowling Green with an 8-1 win Sunday at Schoonover Stadium. Reilly Hawkins hit a leadoff homer to set KSU’s (32-13, 16-5 MAC) offensive tone. Eli Kraus (Buckeye) earned his 24th career pitching win for KSU.

It was a Senior Day sweep for Kent State as it did not allow a run to the University of Akron and took both ends of Saturday’s softball doubleheader.

In the opener, Kent State starter Madi Huck lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the seventh inning before finishing a shutout to win 4-0.

Huck struck out seven and walked just one, improving to 17-7 in the circle.

Carlee Selle took care of the run production, delivering an RBI single in the fourth before blasting a two-run homer to center in the sixth.

The Golden Flashes (28-20, 14-8) took the nightcap 10-0 in five innings.

Holly Speers and Allie Luther each drilled two-run home runs as part of a five-run first inning. Each was a career high as Speers now has 16 home runs and Luther has eight.

Luther also tripled and singled, falling a double short of the cycle.

Brenna Brownfield fired her first career shutout.

KSU recognized seniors Emily Dobbin, Vanessa Scoarste, Kylee Southers, Speers and Luther as the winningest class in school history with 139 wins.

Baseball

Kent State recorded a shutout of its own at home, cruising to a 12-0 win over Bowling Green.

KSU (31-13, 15-5) has won the first two games of the series by a combined score of 23-0.

Tim DalPorto launched his second home run of the series and drove in another on a sacrifice fly.

Michael Turner belted his first collegiate home run in the sixth inning and Nick Elsen hit a grand slam in the eighth.

Kent State senior Gabrielle Figueroa and University of Akron senior Maurice Harris opened the Campbell/Wright Invitational in Akron with wins in the women’s and men’s hammer throw on Friday.

Figueroa, who ranks 20th nationally in the event, won the women’s throw with a toss of 201-5. She is the only Mid-American Conference thrower to top 60 meters (196-10) this season.

Harris won the men’s hammer throw with a mark of 187-3.

KSU freshman Jake Wickey finished second in the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 186-8, and UA freshmen Emily Taylor and Carolyn Wilder finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively, to lead the Zips.

The Campbell/Wright Invitational will conclude with field and running events on Saturday.

Softball

The game between UA and KSU on Friday in Kent was postponed due to heavy rain. The three-game series will begin on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Friday’s game will be played on Sunday.

The Kent State baseball team hosted nearby Division II school Walsh University at Schoonover Stadium and disposed of the Cavaliers 12-3 on Wednesday afternoon.

After Walsh (22-20) pushed across two quick runs in the first inning, the Golden Flashes answered with two of their own and proceeded to overpower the Cavaliers the rest of the way.

KSU (29-13) had 11 hitters reach base safely and eight of those scored at least once.

Tim DalPorto led the way with a three-run home run to left during a six-run fourth inning. He singled in another run in the first.

Pavin Parks singled twice, knocked in one and scored three times.

Host Wright State scored four runs in the fifth inning of a tie game to defeat the Kent State baseball team 8-6 on Tuesday in Fairborn.

The Golden Flashes (28-13) had a 4-2 lead after a bases-clearing double by Mason Mamarella in the second inning.

The Raiders (29-13) scored a run in the third inning and one in the fourth to tie the score 4-4 and took the lead for good with two-run hits from Gabe Snyder and Chase Slone.

Reilly Hawkins led the Flashes with three hits.

The Flashes host Walsh on Wednesday.

Softball

Emily Dobbin smashed two home runs and drove in four runs for Kent State in a 14-4 loss to host Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Brenna Brownfield and Kennadie Goth each doubled for the Flashes (26-20).

KSU will host the University of Akron this weekend for a season-ending three-game series.