BEREA, OHIO – Sophomore Josh Linden (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) and freshman Nate Ball (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) won individual titles and the Lake Erie College wrestling team had four other top-three finishes at the 26th annual John Suma Memorial Tournament Saturday (Feb. 4) at Baldwin-Wallace College.
Lake Erie sent a total of 13 wrestlers to the competition and had two teams entered. The 10-member squad scored 138.5 points and finished third while the three-man team placed 13th with 32 points. A total of 27 teams from nine schools competed.
Linden and Ball each went 3-0 on the day to claim individual championships at 184 and 157 pounds, respectively. The tournament wins were the first for each in their college careers. Linden received a bye in the first round then picked up a decision victory and a pin before pulling out an 11-8 decision in the final over Wheeler Brunschmid of SUNY-Brockport. Ball advanced to the finals with two victories before cruising to a 12-1 major decision to win the weight class.
Three Storm wrestlers posted runner-up finishes. Sophomore Tom McVicker (South Fork, Pa./Forest Hills/Penn Highlands C.C.) won one by decision and two matches by fall, including the day's fastest pin at 19 seconds over Zack Stouffer of Thiel College in the semifinals, before coming up short in a 7-3 decision in the finals at 133 pounds. Sophomore Kevin Brunner (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) reached the finals at 141 pounds and freshman Mitchel Porter (Mantua, Ohio/Crestwood) dropped a close 10-8 decision to Robert Troy of Brockport in the finals at 149 pounds.
Freshman Dylan Zivcic (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) bounced back from a loss in the second round to win four straight matches – all by decision – to take third place at 165 pounds. He led all Lake Erie wrestlers with five victories on the day.
Brockport won the team title followed by Ohio Northern University and Lake Erie. Ohio Northern's Kyle Kwait was named the event's most valuable wrestler.
The Storm's lineup will be in action on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the inaugural Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championships at Ashland University. Complete coverage can be found at www.gliac.org and www.LakeErieStorm.com.