Yearlong competition kicks off this weekend

Nicole Stempak

Sports challenge helps mark Kent State and BG’s history

Credit: DKS Editors

On May 19, 1910, State Rep. John Lowry introduced a bill to establish two teaching schools – one each in Northeast and Northwest Ohio. Now the two universities are celebrating 100 years of their existence.

When Lowry introduced the bill, there were only three teaching universities in central and southern Ohio.

“There was quite an intense competition,” said Carol Cartwright of the competition among the regions. “Of course, one of them ended up in Kent and the other in Bowling Green.”

The schools would come to be known as Kent State University and Bowling Green State University.

Cartwright, the current president of Bowling Green and former president of Kent State, said she will be at the Homecoming game Saturday, this time sitting in the visitors’ section.

Saturday’s game is also the beginning of a yearlong sports challenge. The two schools will compete in 14 sports during this academic year, ending with Bowling Green’s Homecoming football game next year. Bowling Green will celebrate its centennial during the 2010 calendar year.

Cartwright said she sees the Centennial Cup Challenge as only part of the array of festivities for both schools.

“We see this as an opportunity for us to celebrate our joint beginnings, but also that we have evolved in different ways over the years and help the people in Ohio understand that we have 200 years of excellent service to the state of Ohio,” she said.

Points in the challenge will be awarded in a winner-take-all fashion. Two points will be awarded to the school that wins in a head-to-head sport like baseball, softball or basketball. In sports like cross country, golf and track, the school that places higher in the Mid-American Conference Championship receives one point.

The winner will be presented with a trophy at a home men’s basketball game in 2011.

“It’s all in good fun,” President Lester Lefton said of the competition, adding it would not overshadow Kent’s centennial celebrations that began yesterday.

Alan Ashby, Kent State director of athletic communications, said he sees the challenge as a way to take the competition to a new level.

“When the two teams go up against each other, the student athletes want to win no matter what,” he said. “This is more just for the fans and the alumni to keep track of how their teams are doing against an in-state rival.”

The two schools will meet up again in Columbus this May. This time, it won’t be student athletes on the field. Rather, Lefton and Cartwright will host a lunch celebration for state leaders on the day the legislation establishing the universities passed.

Contact enterprise reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].