Kent State: a field hockey school

Brock Harrington

I had no idea what the heck was going on.

These girls, wearing athletic skirts in freezing temperatures, had the weirdest looking golf clubs I have ever seen. They were running around a field, playing against these other girls with green athletic skirts. Then 10,000 whistles were blown, and roughly two hours later, Kent State won the Mid-American Conference field hockey tournament.

As I stood in the press box at Murphy-Mellis Field – a press box that makes the smallest Russian gulag prison cell look like a suite in Las Vegas – I felt as worthless as a Monopoly dollar.

This semester, my term as sports editor, I wanted to showcase the good teams. I wanted to have the winning teams prominent on every page. But as I watched the only team on campus that will win a MAC regular season title and a postseason tournament this fall, I knew I had failed.

The Kent State field hockey team is hands down the best squad on campus.

The team has more MAC wins this season (nine) than the football team has in three years (seven since the 2006 season). The field hockey team has back-to-back freshman player of the years, which means it’ll be good for a while. One of its best players, junior Natalie Barrett, who is from a city that William Wallace once fought for (Glasgow, Scotland), returns next season.

And I spent the semester covering a 2-7 football team – a 2-7 football team that has to hold a “secret” meeting for reporters to let them know that the coach, who has fewer than 20 wins in about five seasons, is not getting fired.

To top it off, the only non-football sports road trip I’ve been on was to watch the volleyball team start a seven-match losing streak.

Meanwhile, the field hockey team outscores its opponents 69-25 this year.

Ay, caramba!

We dropped the proverbial ball with the field hockey team. Our volleyball (seven-match losing streak), football (secret meetings) and soccer (I don’t like picking on the soccer team, but it went 6-11-1 this year) reporters should have been fighting for the field hockey beat.

The team travels to Amherst, Mass., for a NCAA Tournament play-in game with the UMass Minutewomen (yeah, not Minutemen). The fact that a Division I college conference champion doesn’t have an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament is absurd.

Congrats to the best team on the Kent State main campus.

Congrats to the Flashes’ only conference coach of the year, Kathleen Schanne, who came to Kent State with the almost impossible task of replacing Kerry DeVries. Former coach DeVries led the program to more than 100 wins and five NCAA tournament appearances, which means replacing her is like replacing Bob Knight at Indiana.

This morning, the team traveled to Massachusetts. Good luck, and when you come back, maybe Kent State will be known as a field hockey school rather then a losing football school that has a pretty awesome basketball team.

Again, good luck.

Contact sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected].