PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The #19 Lake Erie College wrestling team will embark on a journey to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the 2018 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships this weekend. Four national qualifiers will compete on Friday (March 9) and Saturday (March 10) at the U.S. Cellular Center.
The Storm will send four wrestlers to Iowa following a third place showing at the Super Region 2 Championships at the University of Findlay two weeks ago. Blake Glogouski (New Paris, Ind. / Fairfield), Nick Vandermeer (Clarkston, Mich. / Clarkston), Tyler Hughes (Brunswick, Ohio / Brunswick) and Jesse Palser (Mansfield, Ohio / Mansfield) all advanced as national qualifiers following regionals.
Action will start on Friday with sessions beginning at 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Saturday will also feature two sessions, starting at 11:00 AM. The finals will begin at 7:00 PM.
"We are excited to be heading to the NCAA tournament with four wrestlers," said Storm head coach Kevin Hoogenboom. "We feel good about the four wrestlers who qualified. They have been on campus training hard during spring break and preparing for this opportunity."
Blake Glogouski (125)
Glogouski is wrestling at his second consecutive National Tournament after he won the 125-pound weight class at the Super Region 2 Championships. He enters the tournament with an 18-6 overall record this season with nine falls, including a nine-match winning streak. This season, he has finished third at the Findlay Open and fourth at the Mount Union Invite. In February, Blake was named G-MAC Wrestler of the Week. He has been ranked all season in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Individual Rankings, being as high as fifth. Entering the tournament, he is ranked eighth nationally and first in the region. In the first round, he will face seventh-ranked Maleek Williams from Upper Iowa. Glogouski faced Williams at the NWCA National Duals in January, falling in an 8-7 decision.
Glogouski spoke about his upcoming Nationals experience, "I am excited to get the chance to wrestle at Nationals again. My preparation has changed a lot from last year. I have trained a lot harder this year than last year to get to my ultimate goal of becoming a National Champion."
Nick Vandermeer (165)
Vandermeer becomes the first wrestler in program history to wrestle in four National Championships. He has qualified four consecutive years as a member of the Storm. Vandermeer finished second in the 165 pound weight class at the Super Region 2 Championships, after falling in the finals. He enters the tournament with a record of 23-10 with nine technical falls. Vandermeer leads Division II with nine technical falls in 35:52, leading by nearly 18 minutes. He has won 13 of his last 14 matches leading up to this point. Following his second place finish at the Midwest Classic in December, he was named G-MAC Wrestler of the Week for the first time in his career. He has appeared in the top twelve for every edition of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Individual Rankings. He was as high as fifth this season and is eighth ranked in the country and second ranked in the region before the tournament. Vandemeer will go up against second-ranked Christian Smith from California Baptist in the first round.
Vandermeer said, "This is my fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament so I want to make the most of the opportunity."
Tyler Hughes (184)
Hughes will be wrestling at nationals for the second consecutive year as well after Hughes finished third in the 184-pound weight class at the Super Region 2 Championships. After dropping the semifinal match, Hughes won the next two matches in order to place third and advance to Cedar Rapids. He has a record of 30-8 after the regional championships with five falls and five technical falls. He has been victorious in 12 of his last 14 matches. Hughes finished first at the Mount Union Invite and was named G-MAC Wrestler of the Week, the first of his career. He added a fifth place finish at the Storm Open and placed third at the Midwest Classic. He has been ranked all season in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Individual Rankings, being as high as seventh. Entering the tournament, he is ranked eleventh nationally and third in the region. Hughes will face Kutztown's Jeff Reimel, ranked ninth, in the first round. He was victorious over Reimel at the NWCA National Duals with a 3-2 decision.
Hughes added, "I want to thank the coaches and teammates for preparing me. I want to go out and wrestle my style and keep a high pace match!"
Jesse Palser (197)
Palser battled back from a second round defeat at the Super Region 2 Championships with four straight wins to place third in the 197-poud weight class. With the third place finish, Palser will wrestle at nationals for the first time in his career. He has a record of 25-14 this season with 18 decision victories. This season, he finished third at the Mount Union Invite and the Storm Open along with fifth at the Findlay Open. Palser climbed to eleventh in the final edition of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Individual Rankings. He is ranked eighth in the region at 197 pounds. In the first round, Palser will face fifth-ranked Morgan Smith of Simon Fraser.
Palser said, "The work is done. I trained hard over spring break and I'm ready to go. It's time to have some fun!"
Hoogenboom closed with, "The goal is four All-Americans but we are just focused on each wrestler competing to the best of their abilities. As long as we get the effort, we should be in great shape."
Live Video: Streams for all matches for the weekend will be found on ncaa.com.
Live Results: Live results can be found on trackwrestling.com. There will also be updates on Twitter and Instagram via the Lake Erie Storm Wrestling account (@lakeeriewrest).