PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College wrestling team makes its 2013 debut Saturday, Jan. 5, with its biggest home event of the season, the second annual Storm Wrestling Open, at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center.
The Storm Open will feature nearly 200 competitors in 10 weight classes as well as representation from 15 NCAA Division I and II teams including the host Storm, the University of Indianapolis, University at Buffalo, Ohio University, Gannon University and the Ohio State University among others.
"We're very excited for the Storm Open and now it will be even better than last year's event," said Head Coach Kevin Hoogenboom. "The competition is bigger and better than our first year and our staff works very hard to put on a top-notch event that runs smoothly. Our goal is to make this a highly regarded event that will continue to draw great teams and great crowds in the years to come."
Last year's event had 175 wrestlers . Preregistration had already surpassed that number earlier this week.
The event marks the Storm's return to the mat for the first time in the 2013 calendar year. Lake Erie has been off since a 12th place finish at the Midwest Classic Tournament at the University of Indianapolis Dec. 15-16. The Storm was led their by sophomore All-American Matt Vandermeer (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and junior Zak Vargo (Stow, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy). Vandermeer won the 165-pound weight class with a 4-0 record, knocking off the University of Findlay's Mason True in the semifinals in a tiebreaker, while Vargo posted an impressive 6-1 overall record at 157 pounds and finished third in that bracket.
Vandermeer is currently ranked third nationally at 165 pounds by the Division II Wrestling Coaches Association. Vargo is one of six Storm individuals ranked in the top six in the Region 2 individual rankings. Lake Erie is sixth as a team.
"Our guys are anxious to get back out there and compete," Hoogenboom said. "They aren't satisfied with the decent start we've had this season. They want to continue to work hard and get better and finish the season strong. This will be a good test for us coming back from break to get some good matches in against solid competition before we resume our dual meet schedule."
Following the Storm Open, LEC resumes dual meet competition with a busy stretch next week starting Friday night, Jan. 11, at perennial national power University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. That match kicks off a stretch of three matches in five days for the Storm.