Special to Portage Sports
Kent State has announced the nine-member 2023 Varsity K Athletics Hall of Fame class, which will be honored as part of the 44th induction ceremony on Sept. 15.
Joining the Hall of Fame are Nic Bedelyon (wrestling, 2008-12), Curtis Eaton Jr. (men’s track and field, 2007-10), Hannah Faulkner (field hockey/women’s track and field, 2011-14), Justin Greene (men’s basketball, 2009-12), LeVania Henderson (women’s track and field, 2006-09), Stu Horlak (men’s track & field, 1982-84), Bill Lawson(director of track and field/cross country, 2006-22), Josh Kline (football, 2009-12) and George Roberts (baseball, 2010-13).
In addition to the inductees, five other awards will be presented. The 1978 field hockey team will receive the Team of Distinction honor. Dave Edmonds will be recognized as Distinguished Athletic Alumnus. Cliff Ragin will be the Varsity K Person of the Year and Frank Kurtz will be this year’s Honorary Varsity K member. Finally, Larry Slaughter will be this year’s recipient of the Rudy Bachna Memorial Award.
Bedelyon is one of only four Kent State grapplers to earn multiple All-America honors, placing sixth in 2012 and eighth in 2009. He totaled eight victories at the NCAA Championships as a four-time national qualifier. Bedelyon was a two-time MAC champion at 125 lb. and helped the team capture the 2009 MAC regular season title. He finished his career with 113 wins and is one of only three Flashes to record 25 or more victories in four seasons.
Eaton Jr. was a six-time MAC champion, earning spots atop the podium individually in both the 200- and 400-meter races as well as the 4x400m relay. He ran the second leg of the record-setting distance medley relay team that placed 15th at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2009. Eaton Jr. earned Most Outstanding Track Performer honors for leading Kent State to the only MAC Indoor Championships title in men’s team history in 2009 and added co-Most Valuable Performer accolades at the conference’s outdoor meet that same year. He broke the school’s outdoor 400m record as a freshman in 2007 with a time that still ranks third all-time.
Faulkner was a NFHCA All-America Third Team selection in 2014 after ranking fifth in the country in goals (20) and sixth in points (48). The MAC Player of the Year led Kent State to the first NCAA Tournament win in program history, a 2-1 victory at Delaware, that same season. Faulkner helped the Flashes to MAC regular season championships in each of her final three seasons and earned a spot on an All-MAC team each year. She also competed in pole vault for two seasons as a member of the women’s track and field team.
Greene earned AP All-American and MAC Player of the Year accolades in 2011 and remains in the top-six in Flashes history for points (1,550), rebounds (814) and blocks (120). He led Kent State to the only back-to-back MAC regular season titles in program history during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Greene was a three-time All-MAC choice while leading the Flashes in scoring and rebounding each year.
Henderson placed fifth in the weight throw to earn All-American status at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and added a 14th-place finish in the shot put at the meet. A three-time MAC champion in the shot put, she was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer at the 2009 MAC Outdoor Championships. Henderson set the program records for weight throw and hammer throw during her senior year and currently sits third and fourth, respectively, all-time in the events.
Horlak was an All-American in 1984, placing 11th in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships. A team captain that season, he also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the hammer throw and was the MAC champion in the event.
Kline played in all 50 of Kent State’s games from 2009-12 and was a three-year starter on the offensive line. He earned All-MAC Second Team honors in 2012 while helping the Flashes win the program’s first MAC East Division championship and earn a bowl game appearance for the first time in 50 years. Kline then played seven seasons in the NFL and earned a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in 2015.
Lawson served as Director of Track and Field/Cross Country for 17 years with his teams posting three top-25 finishes at NCAA Championships and winning 13 MAC titles. A five-time USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year and 12-time MAC Coach of the Year recipient, his student-athletes won a pair of individual NCAA national titles and totaled 72 All-America accolades. Four student-athletes who competed for Lawson have gone on to be Olympians.
Roberts was named NCAA Gary Region Most Outstanding Player and MAC Player of the Year during Kent State’s historic 2012 campaign that ended in Omaha at the College World Series. An All-America Second Team selection by Collegiate Baseball that season, he provided two hits and two RBIs during the Flashes’ 5-4 victory over No. 1 Florida in an elimination game. Roberts’ 1,166 career putouts are the second most in school history. He was taken in the 26th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Led by Varsity K Hall of Fame and NFHCA Hall of Fame member Judy Devine, the 1978 field hockey squad won 17 games and earned the first postseason appearance in the program’s history. The team recorded a 0.87 goals against average and its 16 shutouts remains as the school record.
This year’s ceremony will take place in the Student Center Ballroom and is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. The 2023 class will also be recognized the following day during Kent State’s football home opener against Central Connecticut State. Tickets for the event are $50 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Children 3 and under are free. For reservations, visit http://www.kentstatesports.com/HOF. Contact Brian Grubich with questions at 330-672-8399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.