PAINESVILLE, Ohio—The Lake Erie College wrestling team is set to start the season Sunday (Nov. 2) at the Michigan State Open, which features some of the best talent in the nation.
"The MSU Open is one of the largest and toughest NCAA wrestling tournaments in the country," said Storm Head Coach Kevin Hoogenboom. "It usually has over 500 wrestlers and a 12 mat setup. We look forward to this tournament every year as it is a great opportunity to test ourselves against some of the best wrestlers in the country."
The tournament features top schools in Division I and II. Representing D-I schools will be Ohio State University, Michigan University, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Ohio University, Purdue University, Indiana University, Columbia University and Navy. Lake Erie, Notre Dame College, Tiffin University, Ashland University, the University of Findlay and the University of Indianapolis represent D-II schools.
The MSU Open features two tournaments- a freshman/sophomore division and an open division.
"We like the two division format with freshman /sophomore division and the open division," said Hoogenboom. "Our young guys get to see guys with relatively the same college wrestling experience and for a lot of the wrestlers in this division, it's their first college wrestling. Our juniors and seniors will wrestle the best the BIG-10 has to offer in the open division."
The opening weekend is just one of the tough dates on the Storm schedule. They head to Division-II National Duals later this year after finishing in the top-eight last year. The Storm will also face defending national champions in Notre Dame College in a home dual meet.
"Our schedule is designed to be challenging," said Hoogenboom. "Our staff feels that it is necessary to seek out the best competition to prepare ourselves for regional tournaments and the NCAA Championships."
The Storm is coming off arguably their strongest season to date, sending four wrestlers to the NCAA Division-II National Championships and having two wrestlers earn All-American accolades. Zak Vargo (Stow, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) finished fifth at 157-pounds while then freshman Evan Rosborough (Concord Township, Ohio/Riverside) took eighth place in the 197-pound bracket. The Storm also defeated several nationally ranked teams in dual meets including the University of Indianapolis, UNC-Pembroke and Ouachita Baptist University. They also captured their first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship, defeating Ashland University, the University of Findlay and Tiffin University in a round robin tournament.
This season, the Storm has been recognized on the regional and national level. In the D2Wrestle.com Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Storm was picked as the top team in Super Region II. 165-pounder Matt Vandermeer (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Rosborough earned the top spot in the regional rankings for their weight class. 125-pounder Ian Ross (Newark, N.Y./Newark), 174-pounder Dylan Zivcic (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor/Lakeland) and 184-pounder Zev Green (Marysville, Ohio/Marysville) were ranked third in their weight classes while 149-pounderDylan Kager (Shalersville, Ohio/Shalersville) was ranked fourth and 157-pound Christian Baughman (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) was ranked sixth.
Nationally, the Storm were ranked 14th in the NCAA Division-II Wrestling Coaches Association Preseason Poll. Rosborough and Vandermeer were also recognized in the national rankings in their weight classes. Rosborough ranked third while Vandermeer was in at eight.