EDMOND, OKLA. – In its second season, the Lake Erie College wrestling team is sending two individuals to the NCAA Division II National Championships. Freshmen Matt Vandermeer (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Austin Gillihan (Corry, Pa./Corry Area) will represent the Storm after strong showings at the Super Regional Two Tournament at the University of Central Oklahoma. The two-day event wrapped up on Sunday night (Feb. 26).
Vandermeer reached the finals at 165 pounds, but lost a narrow 3-2 decision to second-seeded Mason True of the University of Findlay.
Gillihan, meanwhile, battled his way back through the consolation bracket at 125 pounds. He won two matches before falling in the third-place match to Ashland University's Brandon Davis, 4-2. He then prevailed in a challenge match over Ryan Brooks of Central Oklahoma, 8-2, to clinch his spot at the national meet.
"We're very excited for both Matt and Austin and looking forward to seeing them compete at the national meet," said Head Coach Kevin Hoogenboom. "It's great to have two national qualifiers, and they both wrestled really hard and really well this weekend. But I do feel like we could have had more and missed out on a couple of close matches."
Classmate Ian Ross (Newark, N.Y./Newark) also finished fourth at 133 pounds, but lost in the challenge match to Dustin Reed of Central Oklahoma, 7-0.
Sophomores Zak Vargo (Stow, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) and Josh Linden (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Brecksville-Broadview Heights) placed sixth at 149 and 184 pounds, respectively. Varog was upset by Central Oklahoma's Ky Corley, 2-1, in the championship bracket semifinals, snapping his 10-match winning streak.
As a team, Lake Erie finished seventh overall.
Vandermeer and Gillihan will have two weeks to prep and train before heading to Pueblo, Colo. For the National Championships March 9-10 at Colorado State University-Pueblo.