June 10, 2010
Contact: Renee Adam
Cleveland, Ohio - Cleveland State head coach Wally Morton has signed six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the men's swimming and diving team for the upcoming season, as he continues to build the Viking program into one of the best mid-major teams in the nation.
Joining the Vikings will be Mason Allen (Bend, Oregon/Summit), Ryan Blankenship (Lancaster, Ohio/Bloom Carroll), Brian Ferro (Litchfield Park, Arizona/Millenium), Justin Kermack (Durban, South Africa/Clifton School), Jeffrey Mackey (North Olmsted, Ohio/North Olmsted) and Michael Mulvin (Sandusky, Ohio/Perkins). All six will enter CSU as freshmen with four years of eligibility.
"We're very excited about what our 2010 recruiting class will do to help our quality depth, which is something we've been trying to build on for the past few years," head coach Wally Morton said. "When we add this group of guys to Alex Lewis, who signed in the fall, we are adding seven guys who can each impact us in several different events.
"What's just as exciting to us is that each of these athletes is an outstanding student, including two incoming members of the CSU Honors College, bringing the total on the men's team to four student-athletes. This group will contribute to our team just as much in the classroom as they will in the pool."
Allen joins the Vikings after earning back-to-back state titles in the 100 fly and 100 breast as a junior and senior at Summit High, while also placing 11th at the 2009 Junior Nationals in Columbus, Ohio during his junior season.
"Mason is from an excellent club program and we know he will be very well prepared to swim at the collegiate level," Morton said. "His times already rank him as one of the best in the Horizon League, and we are excited that he chose CSU over some other major programs. Mason was also accepted to our Honors College, and we know we are adding a fantastic all-round student-athlete to our program."
Blankenship, a YMCA National Qualifier, will add depth to the back and IM events for CSU after being a state finalist in the 100 back and 200 IM for Bloom Carroll High.
"Any time you can add someone with Ryan's passion for swimming the program will benefit," Morton said. "Ryan's versatility will be a great asset to us next season and we look forward to seeing him help us in several different stroke disciplines in the coming years."
Ferro, brother to current Viking swimmer Michelle Ferro, will be a standout in breast and IM events for Cleveland State, as he was a sectional finalist and a Junior National qualifier at Millenium High in those events.
"Brian is from one of the best club programs in Arizona, and he fills a big need on our team in the breast and IM events," Morton said. "His sister, Michelle, had a wonderful first year for us and we think Brian will do the same and be a contender at the conference level next February."
Kermack, who was a World Cup qualifier and a National medalist, will add depth to multiple events for CSU being one of the most versatile swimmers to join the program in past years.
"Justin should have a major impact on the Horizon League next season with his versatility and also his quality, as he will be coming to us with times that are faster than the NCAA B Cut in the 200 fly," Morton said. "His club program has done an outstanding job of preparing swimmers for collegiate competition (including current Vikings Mark deSwardt and Carys Behn), so we are looking forward to Justin having a very exciting career at Cleveland State."
Mackey, who was a state finalist in 2010 and a sectional qualifier multiple times during his high school campaign at North Olmsted High, will add quality to all sprint events for the Vikings, coming to CSU as one of the fastest swimmers in the area.
"We've had a lot of success recently with local sprinters, and Jeff fits the mold of an athlete who will help us continue that success," Morton said. "Coming out of high school, he is one of the fastest swimmers we have ever brought to the program, and we couldn't be more excited about his potential."
Mulvin, who will join the squad as a mid-distance swimmer, was a six-time state qualifier in individual events at Perkins High and earned a 2009 state title in the 200 medley relay as a junior.
"Mike will help our depth in the mid-distance events next year, with times that will put him right in the mix to be one of the better swimmers on our team next year," Morton said. "Mike is also going to be a part of our Honors program, and we think his impact will be felt just as much in the classroom as it will be in the pool."
This group joins Lewis, who will help the Vikings in both fly and free events after being one of the top swimmers in the southwest Ohio area. Lewis signed his National Letter of Intent in November, during the early signing period.