Varsity "K" Hall of Fame to Induct 2018 Class in October
Kent State University recently announced its 2018 Varsity "K" Athletics Hall of Fame class consisting of nine new members to be introduced as part of the 40th induction ceremony on Oct. 20.
Joining the Hall of Fame are Kerry De Vries (field hockey coach, 1997-2005), Jenny Eckel (gymnastics, 2000-03), Jamie Fitzpatrick Jones (softball, 2005-08), Anthony Gallas (baseball, 2007-10), Danielle Holt (volleyball, 2002-05), Mike Inge (men's track & field, 2003-07), Eugene Leonard (wrestling, 1979-82), Colleen Ramharak Dotson (women's track & field, 2002-05) and Usama Young (football, 2003-06).
In addition to the inductees, four other awards will be presented. The 2000 and 2002 field hockey teams and the 1958 wrestling team will receive Team of Distinction honors. Ben Rings will be recognized as Distinguished Athletic Alumnus. Barbara Donaho will be the 2018 Varsity "K" Person of the Year, and Scott and Connie Hamilton will be this year's Honorary Varsity "K" Members.
Ms. Eckel excelled in all four gymnastics events. At the conclusion of her four years, she ranked in the top three in each category (bars, beam, floor and vault) among Kent State's career leaders. A two-year captain, Ms. Eckel was an All-MAC First Team selection as a senior and earned the Devine Excellence in Leadership Award. As a freshman, she set the program record for a floor routine.
Ms. Fitzpatrick finished her career as Kent State's all-time leader in home runs (36) and runs batted in (120). An All-MAC First Team selection, she helped the Golden Flashes to a pair of MAC regular season titles (2007, 2008) and a pair of MAC Tournament crowns. Ms. Fitzpatrick earned MAC Tournament MVP honors in 2008 as the Golden Flashes went on to win a program record 46 games, reaching the NCAA Regional finals.
Mr. Gallas is Kent State's career leader in runs batted in (224) and is tied for the career lead in home runs (49). He was a key member of three MAC Tournament championship teams and three MAC East championship teams. Mr. Gallas was a two-time All-MAC First Team selection and earned All-America honors as a senior. Signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians, he earned all-star selections in three different leagues over eight seasons in the minors.
Ms. Holt is the only four-time All-MAC selection in program history, earning first team honors in 2003. She remains Kent State's career leader in kills (1,920) and finished her career ranked second in digs (1,233). Ms. Holt also ranks second among the Golden Flashes' all-time leaders in service aces (162). She was a three-time Academic All-MAC selection and earned a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team.
Mr. Inge was a six-time MAC champion, earning spots atop the podium in both the 800 and 1,500 meter races. He was a two-time All-American in the 800m, finishing as high as fifth at the NCAA Championships. Mr. Inge holds Kent State records in both the indoor and outdoor 800m and ranks in the top 10 in the one mile, 400m, 1,500m, 4x100m, 4x400m and distance medley relay. He was named Outstanding Performer at the 2004 MAC Outdoor Championships.
Mr. Leonard was a three-time NCAA qualifier and three-time winner of Kent State's Most Dedicated Wrestler award. He helped the Golden Flashes to four consecutive MAC championships, winning two individual conference titles and making three finals appearances. After his senior season, Mr. Leonard ranked second in career pins at Kent State and third in career victories.
Ms. Ramharak was an All-American in the indoor triple jump, finishing seventh at the 2005 NCAA Championships. She still holds Kent State records in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump and ranks in the top 10 in both the high jump and long jump. Ms. Ramharak was a four-time MAC champion in the triple jump, helping the Golden Flashes to a pair of MAC indoor team titles and one outdoor team crown.
Mr. Young served as a captain in 2006 for a defense that has allowed the fewest points in the last 30 years of the program. He led the team in interceptions as a sophomore and was an All-MAC selection as a senior. Mr. Young was drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints in 2007 and earned a Super Bowl ring in 2010. After eight seasons in the NFL, he finished as the Saints career leader in special teams tackles.
Ms. De Vries took over the field hockey program in 1997 and quickly turned it into a national contender. During her nine seasons, Kent State won 126 games, going 72-18 in conference play. The Golden Flashes won five MAC regular season crowns under Ms. De Vries along with five MAC Tournament titles and five NCAA appearances, including three at-large bids.
The 2000 and 2002 field hockey teams, both coached by Ms. De Vries, took Kent State's program to new heights. The 2000 squad is still the last Mid-American Conference team to go 10-0 in conference play. In 2002, the Golden Flashes earned the program's highest ranking at No. 7 in the final NFHCA Poll. Both teams advanced to the NCAA tournament.
The 1958 wrestling team, coached by Kent State legend Joe Begala, went 9-0 in dual meets with four shutouts. The Golden Flashes went on to win the MAC Tournament in convincing fashion with four individual conference champions.
This year's ceremony will take place in the Kent Student Center Ballroom and is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. The 2018 class also will be recognized that day during Kent State's football game against the University of Akron. Tickets are $25 for adults. Tickets for children 10 and under are $10, and 3 and under are free. For reservations, go to www.kentstatesports.com/2018HOF. Contact Greg Moon with questions at 330-672-8404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.