Kent State alumni to compete in 2020 Tokyo Olympics


The Olympic flag arrives in the host city of Tokyo, Japan in early 2020. 

Sophie Giffin

Six Kent State alumni will compete in both track and golf at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“It’s awesome to have so many Kent State athletes who will be competing,” said Assistant Director of Athletic Communications, Jay Fiorello. “It shows the high quality athletes we are able to attract and develop.”

Reggie Jaggers III, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Nicole Yeargin and Samory Fraga were all part of the track program during their time at Kent State. Thomas-Dodd had even competed in the last Olympics while she was still a student at Kent State.

Men’s golf is another successful program from Kent State that has produced two more Olympic competitors. Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes, who have played professionally in the PGA Tour since graduating from Kent State, will be competing as well. 

From both of these groups, there will be five different countries represented, something Firorello thinks Kent should take pride in.

“It shows the great diversity at Kent, having five different countries represented among these six,” Firorello said. 

Thomas-Dodd will be representing Jamaica in shot put, sprinter Yeargin will represent Scotland and Fraga will represent Brazil in long jump. Both Conners and Hughes will be representing Canada’s golf team while in Tokyo.

“I think this makes Kent a more desirable destination for international athletes,” Fiorello said. 

The support that all students are given to help them succeed, no matter their background, is only doubled by the strong coaching in both programs at Kent, Fiorello said. 

“For both track and golf, I think it’s the consistency in those programs,” Fiorello said. “The stability of having quality coaching goes a long way.” 

Bill Lawson, the director of track, field and cross country, has been at Kent State since 2005 and the men’s golf team has been coached by Herb Page for more than 40 years, producing countless professional players.

Fraga, having made it past the trials, securing his spot at the Olympics mentioned Kent State as one of the reasons for his success.

“I would like to thank all the Kent State Athletics staff, everyone who helped me during my college years, they are part of this accomplishment too,” Fraga said.

While there are six Kent State alumni heading to the Olympics this year, Fiorello recommends keeping an eye out for more in the years to come.

“We have a lot of athletes who can make it to the stage in the future,” Fiorello said. 

Holly Speers who plays on Canada’s softball team and Argentina field hockey player Inéz Delpech are just a couple of the athletes that Fiorello mentioned made it close this year and could potentially make it next time.

Sophie Giffin is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]