My favorite thing about Division II may be the constant slate of dual tournaments. There is no better way to get in multiple matches after the tournaments fall off the slate than these gatherings of teams all matching up one-on-one. This Sunday, Lake Erie College will host the Storm Duals and bring together Mercyhurst, West Liberty, and Rochester (NAIA). Last season Lake Erie defeated West Liberty 21-19 in a hard-fought dual. This is a very different West Liberty team though.
A new head coach has brought in a host of transfers, including third-ranked Cole Laya. Danny Irwin left the cesspool that is Wheeling Jesuit and made his way to the Hilltop and he brought Cardinals and recruits with him. West Liberty is looking for their first win against the Lake Erie Storm and the fifth-ranked Hilltoppers have a good shot this season. Jeff Breese is just the second coach in Lake Erie College history and he is building a program that competes for a conference title year in and year out.
These are both programs looking to create a new history with coaches that found success elsewhere before taking over their new programs. This is going to be a good one.
Here’s a breakdown of the probable matchups and TOM’s predictions, along with projections from WrestleStat.
125 lbs – Corey Secrist (West Liberty) vs. Jake Johnson (Lake Erie)
Instead of seeing third-ranked Cole Laya step on the mat for West Liberty, we will see his backup Corey Secrist. The junior was the starter a year ago, but with the arrival of Laya has become a spot starter for the Hilltoppers. Lake Erie will also be without their multi-time national qualifier Blake Glogouski at this weight and it seems we may never see him step on the scale at 125.0 again. In his place, the Storm sends out the Ohio native, sophomore Jake Johnson. The two have already met this season at the Mount Union Invitational with Secrist earning the 5-2 victory. Johnson has struggled mightily in place of Glogouski while Secrist has had his own success. I am going with the proven commodity in this weight as Secrist gets his Hilltoppers on the board right away.
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