With the way Michael Balcar rounded out his final year with the Cleveland State golf team, you can’t really be surprised that he wasn’t finished as an amateur.
On Tuesday, Balcar repeated his feat from last summer in qualifying for the 115th U.S. Amateur Championship. However, unlike last year, in which he won a four-man playoff for the final qualifying spot, he erased any doubt in his bid this time around by winning the U.S. Qualifier, which was held at Dayton Country Club.
His first day on the links proved to be remarkable, firing an opening-round 66 to finish four under par on the strength of six birdies against only two bogeys. That left him a full three strokes ahead of the closest competitors.
The tournament looked to be all his, as Balcar shot an even-par 36 on the front nine during the second round. However, things go tricky for him, shooting bogeys on the 11th, 12th and 16th holes, allowing the field to catch up with him. But by parring out the final two holes, he was able to keep his competitors at bay and seal the win.
Balcar’s victory in Dayton served as a nice post-script to what was an outstanding career as a Viking. His career average of 74.7 is ranked fourth all-time in school history. He also led Cleveland State to back-to-back Horizon League crowns, tying for the top spot in the conference tournament before falling to Oakland’s Evan Bowser.
In addition, Balcar was named to the first-team All-Horizon League squad in each of his last three years and the all-tournament team in his junior and senior campaigns. Oddly enough, despite his impressive scoring average, his playoff with Bowser was his highest finish as a Viking, never taking a tournament title.
Of course, that has all changed with his win at Dayton.
With the win, Balcar will now move on to the U.S. Amateurs, which will take place from August 17th to 23rd at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Balcar will be the second athlete to represent the Cleveland State colors next month, as wrestler Nick Corba will be a part of the U.S. squad heading to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil for the Junior World Championships.
Cleveland State Lacrosse Starts with 10 Scholarships; Women’s Sports Get 10 More
The question of how exactly CSU would balance the start of the men’s lacrosse team to satisfy Title IX requirements on the women’s side appears to have been laid out. Instead of adding a new women’s sport, Cleveland State will bolster scholarships to existing programs.
In a report from Ideastream, the $3 per credit hour increase in the General Fee (which translate to approximately $90 more per year for students), will be used to fund men’s lacrosse operations that includes 10 scholarships. The additional 10 scholarships on the women’s side will be distributed to swimming, track and cross country.
From a competitive standpoint, it will be very interesting to see what CSU will do to boost cross country and, by extension, track and field. For decades, the Viking harriers have been consistently at the bottom of the Horizon League standings, and spring track was always limited to long-distance events.
While women’s swimming has seen uptick in its standing in the conference and the scholarship will help them, this can create an opportunity on the cross country and track side to emerge as another sport for Cleveland State to bank its McCafferty Trophy efforts on.
The announcement of all of this seems to have wiped away the mess that befell athletic director John Parry when he announced the addition of men’s lacrosse at the expense of funding the wrestlers, a decision that was quickly reversed. Of course, there’s probably still some level of awkwardness when Parry and wrestling coach Ben Stehura pass each other on campus.
We Feel Your Pain, Akron, But Kiss Baseball Good-Bye
It’s ironic that at a time where CSU is announcing the addition of sports, along with a tuition freeze, the University of Akron is taking a hatchet to its athletic program, announcing, as part of a plan to fix a $40 million financial program, that baseball would be wiped out.
While Cleveland State did have itself a similar situation with the wrestling kerfuffle, the Akron saga will probably not have as happy an ending. In all likelihood, the Zips baseball team will face the same fate that the Vikings program experience in 2011, in which it ceased to exist.
For athletic programs, it has always come down to money, and like Cleveland State, Akron’s baseball team was probably doomed from the start.
Then again, the Vikings don’t have football to make the situation worse, which hasn’t escaped the ire of the Akron Faculty Senate.
Coleman Is Heading to Finland to Play Professionally
For the third time and five years, a member of the Cleveland State women’s basketball team will be playing beyond school, as Cori Coleman has inked a deal to play for Vimpelin Veto, who is part of Finland’s top-tier league SM-Sarja.
During her senior campaign, flanked by fellow seniors Imani Gordon and Kiersten Green, Coleman became the best three-point shooter in school history, nailing 217 treys over her career. She also became the sixth Viking to notch 1,500 points and 500 points all-time.
Before she heads to Scandinavia, however, Coleman has been keeping sharp as part of the Akron Canton AM Pro women’s squad with former CSU teammate and fellow pro Shalonda Winton, as shown here in a recent match-up with the Louisville Fillies squad.