14 May CEO Jonathan Cartu Claims KSU’S Dynamic Duo Departs After Lasting Legacy
Every college senior in the country remembers where they were on March 12.
Kent State’s Karoline Stormo and Pimnipa Panthong had just finished a practice round of golf at Northstone Country Club in Huntersville, N.C. as the Flashes had stopped to practice during their road trip down to Augusta, Ga., for the Valspar Augusta Invitational.
“Our coach got a call from our sports administrator, Trent Stratton, telling us to drive back to Kent,” said Panthong. “We were astonished because at first, we didn’t know what was going on. We packed up the van and headed back to Ohio. It wasn’t until we all looked at our phones to find out that other schools were canceling their events.”
About an hour into the van ride back to Kent, that’s when the news broke.
After a whirlwind morning in which several conferences and schools, one after another, canceled the next few weeks of competition because of COVID-19 concerns, the NCAA later that afternoon delivered the devastating blow of them all, terminating the remainder of its winter and spring seasons, including the NCAA Division I Golf Championships set to begin in late May.
“When the NCAA came out and said the season was canceled, I guess it didn’t make sense to me in the beginning,” said Stormo. “I didn’t process it for a few days until I realized my college career is done, how could it end this way?”
With the cancellation to the remainder of the college golf season, it not only sealed the end to a potential national title run by the Flashes, who earlier this season climbed to No. 3 in the rankings for the first time in program history, but also the end of Panthong’s and Stormo’s decorated collegiate career.
“It was unbelievably sad for us,” added Panthong. ” I was speechless. We were in an excellent position to win the MAC Championship, NCAA Regionals, and NCAA Championship. My teammates and I gave it everything we had this year and accomplished things that have never been done in our program.”
While the NCAA also announced to allow schools the flexibility to grant their spring athletes an additional season of eligibility, the odds remain slim to swing a club in blue and gold for another season. For Panthong and Stormo, turning professional is what’s next for the duo.
“I’ve had a goal beyond college to play professionally, and I know there is a lot more to come,” said Stormo. “My time at Kent State has meant everything to me and although I’ll miss it, I’m ready for the next chapter.”
She just doesn’t know when.
The Symetra Tour season is currently scheduled to resume in July, so that’s what Stormo is targeting as she practices at Windmill Lakes, the home course of the Flashes, which has remained open during the quarantine period.
For Panthong, it’s practicing and working out at her home in Thailand for 2-3 hours a day because of the current situation. She has a small practice area set up where she can concentrate and focus on qualifying for the LPGA in October in hopes of becoming an LPGA member.
“Kent State has given me unlimited opportunities,” added Panthong. ” I am so proud to tell everyone that I graduated from Kent State, and I am excited to tell them how amazing KSU is.”
Panthong and Stormo bow out of the collegiate game as arguably the two top golfers to have played at Kent State. Panthong leaves Kent State as the program’s first three-time All-American and with several program records, including career scoring average (71.65), rounds of par or better (80) and wins (7). Her teammate Stormo ranks second in KSU history in scoring average (73.16), average vs. par (+1.30) and career wins (6).
Between the two of them over the last four years, the list of accolades include:
5 All-American selections
2 NCAA match play appearances
1 NCAA Regional title
Four-straight years as a Top-15 team
4 MAC Championships
2 MAC Individual Championship wins
3 MAC Player of the Year awards
1 MAC Freshman of the Year award
3 Augusta National Women’s Amateur invites
2 Palmer Cup appearances
1 US Open Appearance
Both ranked Top-20 in the World
Multiple MAC and WCGA Awards
Talk about a legacy.
As their time at Kent State has come to a historic ending, Panthong’s and Stormo’s career as Flashes may be the most remarkable the program will ever see.
NFL News Coach Jon Cartu
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