On Nov. 24, the Mercyhurst Lakers’ wrestling team participated in the annual Lake Erie Storm Open at Painesville, Ohio. Hosted by Lake Erie College, the Lakers were able to earn four place winners at the Storm Open.
Redshirt senior Logan Grass (165lbs) and redshirt junior Jacob Robb (285lbs) each were able to earn second-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Junior Eric Bartos (133lbs) nabbed a fourth-place finish in his weight class and sophomore Michael Clark (157lbs) gained an eighth-place finish in his class.
“Individually, I felt pretty healthy and strong which was pretty important to me after having surgery and moving up in weight since last year,” said Bartos. “My wrestling was a little sloppy, but the tournament allowed me to locate areas that need improvement and technique that can be fine-tuned.”
Head Coach Mike Wehler said, “We showed some improvements at Lake Erie from the previous two tournaments.”
Grass opened the tournament with a 19-0 technical fall over Michael Blakemore of the Lake Erie Storm, outscoring him by more than 15 points. Not even a minute into the second period, Grass was able to pin his opponent in 50 seconds, thus advancing to the semifinals. In the semifinals, Grass was able to score a 9-4 decision over Ohio State wrestler Cade Hepner but unfortunately fell in the finals to another Ohio State opponent Carson Kharchla.
Starting strong, Robb was able to win the first match in just 24 seconds. In the following quarter-finals, he was able to earn a technical fall 22-7. In the semis, he tallied another first period fall in 1:24. Ending his winning streak, Robb fell to Gary Traub of Ohio State 9-4.
Grass said, “As a team, I thought we definitely showed some overall improvements at the Lake Erie Open. We worked on some specific things in practice leading up to the event and I thought as a team we executed those things pretty well when we competed.”
Starting with a 10-5 win over Nick Oldham of Ohio State, Bartos advanced to the next round where he took a major decision over Wyatt Lutz of West Virginia. He lost 4-3 in the semifinals and dropped a 9-3 decision in the third-place match, earning him a fourth-place finish.
Clark began the tournament with a major decision, winning 15-6. Taking a loss in the second round, Clark battled hard, winning three more matches to reach the consolation semifinals. In his final round, Clark dropped an 18-4 major decision before a no contest, putting him in 8th place.
“Compared to the first couple of tournaments, the team looked more offensive and more willing to score points. Also, we were able to score a lot of points in the bottom position, which we struggled with earlier this season,” Grass said.
Additionally, on Nov. 25, Grass earned the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference [PSAC] Wrestler of the Week title. With a 3-1 overall record and second place at 165, Grass is the second Laker wrestler to earn the title with Robb earning the title the previous week.
“As far as PSAC Wrestler of the Week goes, I am very grateful and excited to have received that honor. However, I don’t like to dwell on it too much, as there is always room for improvement as well as more work to be done. My goal is to improve every week, both as an individual and a team,” Grass said.
Mercyhurst also elected to give Grass the Mercyhurst Athlete of the Week honors on Nov. 26 due to his hard work in the Lake Erie Open.
Bartos said, “The tournament went well overall. There was a lot of Division I competition but we held our own against them pretty well. I thought our team looked relatively good. We struggled in a couple areas which our coach has been working with us since. Our team is really on the edge of achieving something great and with a little more push in the practice room and some more team morale then it’s ours for the taking.”
Wehler said, “We have to continue to improve each week as we prepare for our season-opening dual meets this weekend.”
“It was definitely a step in the right direction. We need to continue working on things this coming week and use Lake Erie as momentum for our first conference dual of the season which is at home this coming Friday,” Grass said.
The Lakers are set to open their dual season schedule at home in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center versus the Millersville University Marauders in a PSAC match on Dec. 6. at 7 p.m.This will be the first home competition for the Lakers for the 2019-2020 season.