A Page -- Feb. 4, 2012



Vikings, Crusaders both vie to end losing streaks today in the 'Stein

Game 22
Valparaiso (5-16, 1-9) at Cleveland State (8-13, 3-7)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Site: Wolstein Center (Cleveland, Ohio)
Series: Valparaiso leads, 12-9
Last Meeting: Cleveland State 49, Valparaiso 45 (1/5/12)
Tickets: $8, General Admission // $5, Groups of 10 or more

SETTING THE SCENE

Cleveland State will close out its four-game homestand this Saturday (Feb. 4), as the Vikings host the Valparaiso Crusaders at 2:00 p.m. The Vikings enter the weekend after falling to Butler on Thursday, 68-62, while the Crusaders are currently on a five-game losing skid, most recently falling to Youngstown State, 64-58. 


THE SERIES

Saturday's contest will be the 22nd meeting between the two teams, with Valparaiso holding the slight edge in the overall series record, 12-9. The Vikings have won five straight contests though, including a 49-45 decision earlier this year. Cleveland State has also won seven of the last nine over the past four seasons.


A WIN SATURDAY WOULD.…

Break a four-game losing skid for the Vikings…Give head coach Kate Peterson Abiad her 115th career victory, tying her for the most wins in program history.



DOUBLE-DIGITS FOR GREEN

Freshman Kiersten Green tallied her first double-digit contest against Butler on Thursday, as she tallied 10 points on three field goals and four free-throws. Green also added five rebounds for the Vikings, and now has 71 points and 64 rebounds on the season.


WINTON DOUBLE-DOUBLES

After her 22-point/14-rebound effort against Butler, Shalonda Winton is tied for first in the league with 10 double-doubles on the season. Seven of them have come against league opponents, including the past two contests. For her career, Winton has tallied 23, with 12 coming as a sophomore and one as a freshman.


VIKINGS WITH THE BLOCK

As a team, Cleveland State ranks second in the league in blocked shots, averaging 3.1 per contest. On the season, the Vikings have recorded 65 blocks, including a season-high 10 against Ohio (Dec. 5). CSU's 10 blocks is the second highest single game total by a league team this year, while it also marks the fourth best single game total in program history.


WINTON ON THE BOARDS

Following her 14 rebound effort against Butler (Feb. 2), Shalonda Winton continues to lead the league with 12 double-digit rebound games this season. Winton has tallied 10 or more rebounds during seven league contests this year, and has collected a season-high 14 boards during three contests; at Toledo (Dec. 10), vs. Murray State (Dec. 20) and vs. Butler.


KING MAKES HER WAY INTO LEAGUE STATISTICS

Junior Honesty King has finally made her way into the Horizon League statistical standings, as she is ranked in three categories as of Friday (Feb. 3). King ranks eighth in free-throw percentage (.780, 32-41), 12th in three-point field goals made (1.4) and 28th in scoring (9.2).


PROTECTING THE BALL

The Vikings tied their season low with just 13 turnovers against Detroit last Saturday (Jan. 28), and marked the fourth time this year that they have commited 15 turnovers or less during a contest. The Detroit game also marked the eighth time this season that CSU has posted fewer turnovers than their opponent, and have done so during three out of the last five games.


WINTON TOPS IN LEAGUE CONTESTS ONLY

Following her 10th double-double of the season against Butler (Feb. 2), Shalonda Winton now leads the league in scoring (20.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg) in league contests only. Winton has been the Vikings top scorer during nine of the 10 league contests this season, while she has also been the top rebounder during nine games.



COLEMAN ON THE SCORING CHARTS

Freshman Cori Coleman, who has posted 101 of her 133 points during league contests this season, ranks 26th in the Horizon League averaging 10.1 points per league contest. Coleman is one of just five freshmen to be ranked in the top-30 in scoring, while she is also ninth in steals, averaging 1.9 per game.


WINTON CLIMBS CSU RECORD LIST

Shalonda Winton continues to climb the CSU all-time career rebounds list, as she currently ranks 11th with 668. Winton needs just two more rebounds to move into 10th place, which is held by Jessica Toth (1993-97) who posted 669. Winton is also tied for fifth in defensive rebounds with 435 and sixth in offensive rebounds with 233.


VIKINGS IN OVERTIME

After not playing any overtime contests last season, the Vikings have already played extra time twice throughout the first 14 games of the 2011-12 season after defeating Murray State, 68-61 in overtime at the Magnolia Classic (Dec. 20). Earlier this season the Vikings forced overtime at Western Michigan (Nov. 25) and came out on top, 72-66, to improve to 18-15 all-time in overtime contests.


Nationally ranked Raiders host Wilmington today


Nationally ranked Mount Union (#10 in  ESPN/USA TODAY Coaches and D3hoops.com polls) hosts Wilmington in the next to last regular season home game of the season in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup Saturday at 3:00 pm at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance.


The game will be broadcast on the radio on WRMU 91.1 FM and WDPN 1310 AM and simulcast online with LIVE STATS right here.


Mount Union (19-1, 12-1 OAC) is in first place in the conference, has won 20-straight home games and has matched a school record with 14 consecutive wins.  


The last time the Purple Raiders won 14 in a row during the 1997-98 season when they accomplished the feat twice on their way to a 29-3 record and NCAA "final four" appearance. Current Mount Union head coach Suzy Venet was a senior point guard on that team.  


The Raiders jumped out to a 39-9 lead on their way to an 87-56 rout of Muskingum this past Wednesday.

Junior point guard Rosa LaMattina (Westlake/Westlake) scored a team-high 17 points and became the 12th player in school history to score over 1,000 career points.


LaMattina leads the team and is fifth in the OAC in scoring at 15.0 points per game, while leading the conference in steals (3.7 per game) and third in assists (4.0 per game).


Seniors in guard Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted/North Olmsted) and forward Amanda Rose (Green/Green) are right behind LaMattina averaging 14.6 and 10.7 points per game respectively.

Wiedt, who is eighth on the school's all-time list with 1,130 points, is also third in the nation and OAC in three-point percentage (.480) as she has made a conference-best 59 from beyond the arc. 


Rose is the team's top rebounder at 5.3 per game and is 21 points from being the 13th player in school history with over 1,000 career points.


Mount Union leads the conference in scoring offense at 73.7 points per game and is the top defensive team allowing just 55.2 points per game.  The Raiders help that defense by leading the OAC in steals at 12.3 per game.


Wilmington (11-9, 6-7 OAC) is alone in sixth place in the conference standings.  The Quakers had lost five of six games before pulling off an 82-73 win over Marietta on Wednesday.


The Quakers with just one senior on the roster are fifth in the OAC in scoring (63.4 ppg) and sixth in scoring defense (61.7) but control games inside as they top the conference in rebouding margin (+9.1).

Sophomore wing players Bria Eslick and Makenzie Wippel are among the conference's rebounding leaders at 7.0 and 6.8 per game respectively.  They are also the team's top two scorers as Wippel is at 11.0 points per game and Eslick at 10.2 per game.



Storm goes for sweep of ODU today


Lake Erie College Storm (7-12, 2-10 GLIAC) vs. Ohio Dominican University Panthers (3-17, 0-14 GLIAC)
When: Saturday February 4, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
Where:  Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center – Painesville, Ohio
Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/lakeerie
Game Notes: Click Here
Video Broadcast: Click Here  
Websitewww.LakeErieStorm.com

LAKE ERIE LOOKS FOR SEASON SWEEP OVER OHIO DOMINICAN: Lake Erie College (7-12, 2-10 GLIAC) looks to sweep the season series against Ohio Dominican University (3-17, 0-14 GLIAC).  Today's the only time the Storm is home here at the Osborne Center during a six-game stretch concluding next Saturday.  Both teams are in need of a victory as Lake Erie has dropped seven straight contests while Ohio Dominican has lost nine in a row.

LAST TIME OUT: Lake Erie held GLIAC leader #18 Hillsdale College to just 64 points, over nine points under its season average, but the Chargers defense was even better limiting the Storm to a season-low 40 points in a 64-40 win at the Jesse Philips Arena in Hillsdale, Mich. The Storm was topped by senior guard Brandon Smith (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford/Cuyahoga Community College) with eight points, including a three-pointer.  It was Lake Erie's only three-point make on the evening on 16 attempts as it shot just 29.4% (15-of-51) overall from the field.

SERIES NOTES: Lake Erie never trailed en route to a 71-57 win over Ohio Dominican on Jan. 7.  The Storm were led by sophomore guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) with 16 points on six-of-nine shooting.  Guard play was the key to the win for the Storm as 56 of their 71 points came from the backcourt. Morgan Jones had a game-high 20 points for the Panthers.

CLOSING IN ON 100: With seven victories already this season, Lake Erie Head Coach Cliff Hunt is just four wins away from the 100-win plateau with a 96-87 career record in his seventh season with the Storm. He is already the all-time winningest coach in school history.

OPPOSITION POSITION: Ohio Dominican has lost nine straight and 16 of its last 17 entering the week.  The Panthers are led by junior guard Morgan Jones averaging 13.9 ppg. ODU is a veteran led squad with four senior and one junior in the starting lineup.

A LOOK AHEAD: Lake Erie is away next weekend at Ferris State Thursday and Grand Valley State Saturday.


Green High grad Amanda Rose named 


Academic All District


DELAWARE, Ohio—Mount Union senior forward Amanda Rose (Green/Green) has been selected to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District 7 Women's Basketball Second Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.


A two-time Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference pick, Rose carries a 3.95 grade point average as a business administration major.



On the court, she is the top rebounder (5.3 per game) and third leading scorer (10.7 points per game) for a Purple Raider squad that is ranked No. 10 in the nation and matched a school record with 14 straight wins.  In her time in the program, Mount Union has won two OAC Tournament titles, an OAC regular season title and made a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances highlighted by a Sweet 16 run in 2010.


She has never missed a game in her college career playing in 106 games with 103 starts over the last four seasons and is 21 points from being the 13th player in school history to score over 1,000 career points.

Off the court, the former OAC Scholar Athlete of the Month winner completed an internship with Fanny Mae Chocolates factory in North Canton and has worked in the Mount Union human resources office. 


Her father Dennis also played basketball at Mount Union and is a 1975 graduate.


The Capital One Academic All-District Teams recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. In order to be eligible for selection, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve and maintain at least a 3.30 grade point average.


Sports Information Directors within a district vote for the Academic All-District teams with members of the CoSIDA Academic All-American committee voting on the national ballot. District VII includes every NCAA Division III institution in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.


Mount Union sports information director Leonard Reich is in his 10th year as a member of CoSIDA's Academic All-America National Committee.


OHSAA to Continue to Study Competitive Balance Issue

Association provides update following Tuesday’s Competitive Balance Committee meeting

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Competitive Balance Committee met at the OHSAA office Tuesday, January 31, and came to the consensus that they will continue to study the competitive balance issue, Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D., said. The issue came to the OHSAA’s attention a few years ago when a group of member school administrators expressed concern over the high number of state championships being won by non-public schools, even though non-public schools make up only 17 percent of the Association’s membership. The Competitive Balance Committee first met in January 2010.

Discussion on Tuesday included the possibility of reassessing the referendum issue that was narrowly defeated by the membership last spring, whereby schools would be placed into tournament divisions based on a sport-by-sport athletic count that included a school boundary factor, a socioeconomic factor and a tradition factor. The committee also discussed a recent letter that was sent to the OHSAA Board of Directors from a member school superintendent who requested that the Board place a referendum issue on the upcoming ballot to separate OHSAA tournaments between public and non-public schools.

“We had some very healthy, open dialogue, and I believe everyone on the committee felt as though we had a chance to review all of the issues and concerns that have come up since last spring’s referendum voting, the August survey that was conducted with over 300 member school principals and recent meetings of both a competitive balance subcommittee and a committee to study the enrollment disparity that exists in Division I,” Ross said. “We even addressed how some legislative issues that have been raised could impact Ohio’s schools.”

Ross said an update will be provided to the OHSAA Board of Directors during the February 15 board work session and that the competitive balance committee hopes to reconvene later in February in an attempt to determine the direction to take next.

“It is possible a referendum issue dealing with competitive balance could be placed on the ballot for the May voting by the membership, but at this point it’s premature to speculate what, if any, proposal the Board of Directors may approve.”

 

 


Lake Erie places three on Academic All District 


team; Stow's Wagers, Wadsworth's Busson, 


Mentor's Rogers make the grade


PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Three Lake Erie College women's basketball team players have been named to the Capital One Academic All-District® IV First-Team announced Thursday (Feb. 2) by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), which selects the team.

   
L to R -- Rogers, Wagers, Busson


Graduate senior forward Alyssa Wagers (Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls), senior center Stephanie Rogers(Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and senior guard Britt Busson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) were named to the team.  Nationally there are eight districts which recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined athletic and academic performance.


Wagers became the eighth player in school history – and third this season along with Rogers and Jen Caiola(South Russell, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) – to reach the 1,000 career point mark when she did so Jan. 28 at Wayne State University.  She currently ranks second on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg.) and rebounding (8.3 rpg.) while leading the team with six double-doubles.  One of her double-doubles was a 21-point, 20-rebound effort at Seton Hill University Jan. 3, just the third such game in school history.  Wagers is currently enrolled in the Parker MBA program at Lake Erie after missing her final undergraduate season a year ago due to a preseason knee injury.


Rogers, an adolescent/young adult education major, leads the team in scoring (15.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.4 rpg.), field goal percentage (50.9%), free throw shooting (82%) and steals (44) and is the nation's 13th ranked shot blocker (51).  Earlier this season she eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark and currently ranks third in school history with 1,276 points. Rogers has five double-doubles on the season and was the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division Player of the Week Nov. 21.


The third Lake Erie member of the Academic All-District® IV First Team, Busson is currently averaging 8.9 points per game and has a team-high 64 assists and 39 made three-pointers.  She's third all-time at Lake Erie with 249 assists. In the last three games, Busson is averaging 13.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and has hit 11 three-pointers.  She has started 94 games at point guard during her career.


First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month. 



Mount Union men to face Quakers today


The Mount Union men's basketball team plays at Wilmington Saturday afternoon in what will be their ninth game away from Alliance since New Year. The Purple Raiders are currently tied with Heidelberg for the final spot in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament while the Quakers sit in fourth place. Wilmington was able to pull out a 75-71 victory in overtime during the teams' first meeting in Alliance back in December.


The Purple Raiders (8-12, 4-9) have dropped three of their last four games and are in need of a win as they enter the final stretch of the season if they are going to qualify for the OAC Tournament. They fell on the road to 


Muskingum Wednesday night, 63-60, catapulting the Muskies to sixth place in the conference. Mount Union defeated three of the five OAC teams remaining on their schedule the first time through the conference schedule.


Mount Union boasts the conference's top defense, holding opponents to a conference-low 65.6 points per game and just 42.2-percent shooting from the field. The Raiders, who average 66.2 points per game, have not found success in the first half of late. They are averaging just 23.7 first-half points over the past seven games.


Senior Jimmy Wood (Wintersville/Indian Creek), freshman Nate Jacubec (Struthers/Struthers), and freshmanStevie Griffin (Canton/Massillon Jackson) give the Raiders a potent three-point attack that is second in the OAC with 7.95 three-pointers per game. The trio has combined for 118 three-pointers and Wood leads the conference in made three-pointers (48) while Griffin is fourth in three-point shooting (.430).


Wood is the conference's top scorer at 18 points per game, ranks third in minutes (33.2), and fifth in three-point shooting (.417). He also leads the Raiders in rebounding (5.6) and steals (29). The first game against 


Wilmington this season was one of the best of Wood's outstanding collegiate career. Wood scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. His three-pointer in the final minute of regulation gave him 1,000 points for his career and also gave Mount Union a brief two-point lead.


Jacubec has blossomed into a second scoring threat for the Raiders over the past month, over which he has averaged over 13 points and scored a career-best 21 points on two occasions. On the season, he is second among OAC freshmen in scoring at 11.4 points per game. Griffin led the Raiders with 16 points Wednesday night and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to tie his career-high. The team's third-leading scorer (9.6), Griffin has reached double-figure points in six of the last nine games after doing so just twice in the first 10 games. 



GLIAC wrestling championship preview


ASHLAND, Ohio - Up until this season, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools with wrestling programs were searching for a home.  The GLIAC didn't sponsor a championship on the mat and the teams, as much as they looked through what passes for the college athletics classifieds, couldn't find another place to go and competed as independents.

Click here for the 2012 GLIAC Wrestling Championship web page

That changes this Sunday (Feb. 5, 10 a.m.), when Ashland University hosts the inaugural GLIAC wrestling championships.  Ashland, the University of Findlay, Lake Erie College and Tiffin University make up the field in this initial league tournament. A year from now, Notre Dame College will join the fray as an associate GLIAC member.

"There has been interest for a few years now so the conference membership decided to step up and do it," said GLIAC commissioner Dell Robinson, who will be in Ashland for the championships.  "The sport is strong at the high school level in Ohio as well as Michigan, so we have a great feeder."

"I've always been very supportive of wrestling at the intercollegiate level," said Goldring.  "It's very important to our institution and to our alums.  I've always advocated that if there was an opportunity to have a conference tournament it would be a great showcase for the sport and Ashland University. I'm extremely pleased with the addition of the new conference members and that we can do this under the umbrella of the GLIAC."

Sunday's schedule appears below.  At the end of the day, a league champion will be crowned and the GLIAC first and second teams will be announced.  The conference will also present an award for the outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
 
10 a.m.            #10 Ashland vs. Tiffin                  Lake Erie vs. #17 Findlay
12 p.m.            #10 Ashland vs. Lake Erie         Tiffin vs. #17 Findlay
2 p.m.              #10 Ashland vs. #17Findlay        Lake Erie vs. Tiffin

Ashland is the tournament's top seed and is ranked 12th in the nation.  Findlay is the second seed and ranked 19th in the country.  Lake Erie is the third seed and Tiffin is seeded fourth. 
Recent expansion in the GLIAC helped make this wrestling tournament a reality. The addition of Lake Erie and Tiffin in recent years gave the conference four institutions with wrestling. Notre Dame will be the fifth

"The interest had been there and we did not have enough schools," explained Robinson.  "With the additions of Lake Erie and Notre Dame it gives the sport a solid foundation.  Notre Dame is a program that is rich in tradition and has been extremely successful as an NAIA member."

This tournament will benefit the teams in several ways.  It gives them a high-quality event approximately three weeks out from the regional tournament.  This will provide the coaching staffs with another look at their teams in a championship environment.

"The schools that offer wrestling were very supportive," replied Ashland Athletic Director Bill Goldring when asked about how difficult it was to pull everything together and put a tournament in place. "The rest of the GLIAC understood why it was important to the schools in wrestling. The GLIAC is very supportive of adding championships for its member institutions."

Sunday will  be the only time this season Lake Erie will engage Ashland, Findlay and Tiffin in a dual.  The Eagles have watched the Storm several times this season and have been impressed with the way LEC wrestlers have gone about their business.

"They built that program in two years to the point that they're in the hunt to win the GLIAC," Ashland head coach Tim Dernlan said.  "They should expect to win.  They've beaten a couple of our guys throughout the year."

LEC's top wrestler is Matt Vandermeer, who's ranked seventh in the country at 165 pounds. He's 23-8. The architect of this LEC program is head coach Kevin Hoogenboom.  The 2010-11 season was the first year Lake Erie offered wrestling.  LEC is 6-7 in dual meet action and will compete at the Baldwin-Wallace Suma Invitational on Saturday (Feb. 4) before heading to Ashland.

Like Lake Erie, Tiffin has a young program.  Findlay, a traditionally strong program, has Michael Lybarger ranked second in the country at 174 pounds. At 184 pounds, Adam Walters is sixth in the country.  Ben Sergent is ranked eighth in the nation at 125 pounds. The GLIAC Tournament will be Findlay's first competition since an 18-16 victory over 14th-ranked West Liberty on Jan. 27.  The Storm defeated West Liberty 25-12 back on Dec. 14.

Ashland has two wrestlers who are in the national rankings.  Senior Jacob Southwick is third at 285 pounds and senior Marc Hoff  is seventh at 149 pounds.  Southwick is 17-2 and Hoff is 10-2.  AU has two wrestlers who have reached the 20-win plateau.  Senior Brandon Davis is 20-7 at 125 pounds and freshman Bryson Hall is 20-6 at 174 pounds. The Eagles are coming off a 29-6 win over 8th-ranked University of Pittsburgh Johnstown and are at Mercyhurst University on Friday (Feb. 3).  


Chardon's Erin Hollinger named Academic All District


CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the third-consecutive season, Case Western Reserve University senior two-sport standout Erin Hollinger<http://athletics.case.edu/sports/wbkb/2011-12/bios/hollinger%20erin%20927u> (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) has been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District VII Women's Basketball First Team, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).




Hollinger, a three-time Capital One Academic All-American® with two selections for basketball and one for track & field, advances to the Academic All-America ballot with a chance for her fourth career selection.

A macromolecular science and engineering major with a 3.94 grade point average, Hollinger is one of the most accomplished student-athletes in CWRU history. Last winter, she was a national finalist for the Jostens Trophy (Division III Player of the Year) in addition to being named a second-team D3Hoops.com All-Great Lakes Region honoree and a first-team All-University Athletic Association pick.

This season, she is averaging 12.7 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Spartans (10-8) and has moved into second place on the CWRU career scoring list (1,322 points).

Overall in her career on the hardwood, she is a three-time All-UAA and Academic All-UAA selection with eight conference Athlete of the Week nods.

Also a track & field standout, Hollinger is a two-time All-American in the high jump with five UAA Championships and two more UAA All-Academic awards.

The Capital One Academic All-District Teams recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. In order to be eligible for selection, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve and maintain at least a 3.30 grade point average.

Sports Information Directors within a district vote for the Academic All-District teams with members of the CoSIDA Academic All-American committee voting on the national ballot. District VII includes every NCAA Division III institution in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

The release of the Capital One Academic All-America® Women's Basketball Team is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21.

Since the program's inception, a total of 74 Case Western Reserve student-athletes have been named Academic All-American® -- that number includes three this fall. In 2010 and 2011, a combined 12 Spartans received Academic All-America® acclaim.


McNellie talks about recruiting class


PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Looking to replace his first true senior class, Lake Erie College head football coach Mark McNellie began restocking the program with the signing of 16 student-athletes to letters of intent on National Signing Day Wednesday (Feb. 1).  The 16 signees represent the first members of the Storm 2012 recruiting class.


"We feel this is our best recruiting class ever, one that is deep, talented, versatile and very, very skilled," McNellie said. "We turned away some guys who in the past would have been at the top of our list. Very excited about how it turned out."

The Storm took advantage of its location within one of the nation's high school football hotbeds as 13 players come from within the state of Ohio, including 10 from Northeast Ohio.  Three players are from out of state, representing Indiana, West Virginia and Florida. 

There are 10 players committed to the Storm's spread-wing offense, including a pair of quarterbacks, two lineman and six skilled position players, while three others are expected to take a spot in the defensive front or backfield. Another three are listed as "athletes" who can play outside on both sides of the ball.
"As a staff, we are trying to go out and find people who are good fits for Lake Erie College," McNellie added. "We are young enough as a program where we can address some needs and areas of concern, but more so we try to get the best possible athlete.  We think we struck gold with a couple of guys who play a number of positions. The more versatility guys have definitely helps us in the fall with limited travel roster size and things like that. We are lucky we found some great athletes who fortunately have some experience at a number of positions."
The Storm won its final two games of 2011 but loses 27 seniors, including five all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference players.  However, Lake Erie is expected to return 41 letterwinners next season.
Lake Erie opens the 2012 campaign against traditional nonconference rival Gannon University in Erie, Pa. on Thursday night, Aug. 30.
Additional student-athletes will be announced at a later date once they are cleared for release through the Department of Athletics' compliance office.
LAKE ERIE COLLEGE 2012 FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY COMMITMENTS 
 

Name

Cl.

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Hometown/High School/Previous School

Evan Adams

Fr.

ATH

5-8

165

North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton

John Banyasz

Fr.

QB

6-3

207

Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia

Anthony Bilial

Fr.

RB

5-7

165

Painesville, Ohio/Riverside

Dan Cunningham

Fr.

WR

6-2

190

Independence, Ohio/Holy Name

Brandon Davis

Fr.

DB

6-1

180

Lorain, Ohio/Lorain

Xavier Dowdell

Fr.

DB

6-1

170

Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Tyler Eden

Fr.

QB

6-3

220

Mentor, Ohio/University School

Drew Ervin

Fr.

RB

6-0

220

Wellston, Ohio/Jackson

Richard Graves

Fr.

WB

5-8

165

Kent, Ohio/Kent Roosevelt

Tom Johnston

Fr.

OL

6-6

260

Carmel, Ind./Guerin Catholic

Tyson McNelly

Fr.

DB

5-11

175

Jackson, Ohio/Jackson

Aturo Morgan

Fr.

ATH

6-1

165

Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood

Almonte Patrick

Fr.

OL

6-3

245

Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights

Courtney Pinkston

Fr.

WB

5-10

170

Ocala, Fla./West Port

Matt Romanello

Fr.

ATH

5-10

170

Peterstown, W.Va./James Monroe

Zaide Whitley

Fr.

WB

6-0

180

Portsmouth, Ohio/Portsmouth

 

Evan Adams
Athlete (5-8, 165 lbs.)
North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton

Three-year letterman at North Royalton High School… led Bears in both receptions and receiving yards.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Evan plays equally well at running back and the slot receiver. He has shown great ability to make big plays and will be a threat as a receiver coming out of backfield."
High School Highlight Reel

 




John Banyasz
Quarterback (6-3, 207 lbs.)
Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia

Four-year starting quarterback at Columbia High School… was a two-time first-team All-Patriot Athletic Conference and all-county performer… threw for over 5,000 yards in his career… as a senior was named Lorain County Offensive Player of the Year, first-team all-district and third-team All-Ohio… threw for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns his final season… led team to playoffs as a junior when he threw for over 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns… also played basketball at Columbia.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "John is a great athlete who has started at quarterback for four years in high school.  He brings and element of speed to the position while still having an accurate arm. We are excited for him to jump into the competition at quarterback in the fall."
High School Highlight Reel


Anthony Bilial
Running Back (5-7, 165 lbs.)
Painesville, Ohio/Riverside

Three year varsity player at nearby Riverside High School… as a senior earned first-team All-Premier Athletic Conference and All-Lake County honors on offense as he scored 10 total touchdowns… also received honorable mention all-district and was named to the News-Herald All-Star First Team… also runs track. 

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Anthony is a slasher and speedster at tailback who also excels in the return game.  He's a local product that we have had our eye on for a long time and we couldn't be more excited to keep Anthony in Painesville."
High School Highlight Reel


Dan Cunningham
Receiver (6-2, 190 lbs.)
Independence, Ohio/Holy Name

Three-year varsity starter and letterman at Holy Name High School… scored 19 career touchdowns receiving and returning… named first-team All-North Coast Conference and second-team all-district as a senior… winner of "Namer Award" as Holy Name's most valuable player.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Dan is a tall, long receiver that is a homerun threat. He runs extremely well for a receiver with his size. Will present match-up problems for smaller defensive backs."
High School Highlight Reel


Brandon Davis
Defensive Back (6-1, 180 lbs.)
Lorain, Ohio/Lorain

Named first-team All-Lorain County and second-team All-Morning Journal Team… was also third team all-district as a senior at Lorain High School… selected to play in North-South All-Star Game… also a member of basketball and track teams.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Brandon had the most athletic workout we saw this year. He has the potential to be a star on either side of the ball. Playing in North-South game this year after completing just his first year of football is an indication of the potential he has. Brandon has Size, speed and ball skills, he possesses the whole package.
High School Highlight Reel


Xaiver Dowdell
Defensive Back (6-1, 170 lbs.)
Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Started at safety at traditional Cleveland power Glenville High School.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Xavier is a downhill defender from the safety position. He has a nose for the football. Expect him to show up at the point of attack and make plays. He comes from a traditionally strong program that makes us better in the secondary right now."
High School Highlight Reel


Tyler Eden
Quarterback (6-3, 220 lbs.)
Mentor, Ohio/University School

Two-year starter at quarterback at University School… threw for over 40 touchdowns in his career and rushed for 17 more… as a senior named first-team all-district after throwing for 25 touchdowns and running for 10 more.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Tyler possesses great size and athletic ability and was a guy targeted by a lot of schools.  He has the potential to break a game open with his legs or his arm. We are extremely excited for him to get involved in our quarterback competition."
High School Highlight Reel

 




Drew Ervin
Running Back (6-0, 220 lbs.)
Wellston, Ohio/Jackson

Four-year varsity performer in both football and track at Jackson High School… as a senior was named co-Player of the Year in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League after leading team to undefeated regular season and regional semifinal appearance and was picked for the annual North-South All-Star Game… two-time All-SEOAL pick and a three-time league All-Academic selection… all-district first team and All-Ohio honorable mention accolades as well… regional sprint finalist in track as well. 

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Drew brings an element of size and power to the tailback position.  He can run through, over, and by defenders on every carry.  He also was an outstanding linebacker in high school and has the ability to contribute in multiple ways."
High School Highlight Reel


Richard Graves
Wing Back (5-8, 165)
Kent, Ohio/Kent Roosevelt

A two-time all-conference receiver and athlete at Kent Roosevelt High School… named first-team All-Portage Trail Conference and all-district as a senior and also received third-team All-Ohio recognition… named team most valuable player in 2011.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Flat out, he's a game breaker.  Richard scores touchdowns from the backfield, from the slot and from the wide receiver position.  He has the ability to make guys miss in space and the speed to pull away from defenders. He's a very explosive threat with the ball in his hands."
High School Highlight Reel


Tom Johnston
Offensive Line (6-6, 260 lbs.)
Carmel, Ind./Guerin Catholic

Two-year varsity player at Guerin Catohlic… served as a team captain on regional championship team.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Tom is a big and powerful offensive lineman with a mean streak. He has only played two years of football, but his size and tools suggest that his best football is still out in front of him. Tom will get better with each snap that he takes."
High School Highlight Reel


Tyson McNelly
Defensive Back (5-11, 175 lbs.)
Jackson, Ohio/Jackson

Threee-year varsity player at Jackson High School where he holds single season and career records for catches, yards and touchdowns… earned first-team All-Southeast Ohio Athletic League and all-district honors as a senior and was honorable mention All-Ohio after helping Ironmen to undefeated regular season and regional semifinal appearance… also earned all-region honorable mention and was named Academic All-SEOAL twice… also plays basketball at Jackson.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "We were attracted to Tyler for more than just his great last name.  He's another top athlete that could play well on either side of the ball. He will be counted upon to bring help to the secondary, and we feel like he could play both safety and corner very well."
High School Highlight Reel


Aturo Morgan
Athlete (6-1, 165 lbs.)
Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood

Three-year starter at quarterback at Lakewood High School… as a senior was named first-team All-Southwestern Conference and honorable mention all-region… displayed great versatility by scoring touchdowns via pass, run and kick return.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Arturo is another highly athletic skill guy who plugs in on either side of the ball.  He has clip after clip of athletic highlights full of big plays.  Outstanding jumping ability and ball skills set him apart from competition."
High School Highlight Reel




Almonte Patrick
Offensive Lineman (6-3, 245 lbs.)
Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights

Three-year varsity player and two-year starter at Maple Heights High School… played on team that made three playoff appearances, including a pair of state championship game appearances… started at left tackle for 2010 state championship team and played at center as a senior… also a state-qualifying and placing wrestler who is expected to compete at heavyweight on the mat for the Storm.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Almonte is a physical presence on the offensive line. He can play both center and tackle. His dominating heavyweight wresting skills carry over to make him a force on the football field."




Courtney "C.J." Pinkston
Wing Back (5-10, 170 lbs.)
Ocala, Fla./West Port

Enrolled at Lake Erie for spring semester… was a first-team all-conference and All-Marion County selection as a senior at West Port High School.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "C.J. is a speedster from the Sunshine state.  He can play multiple offensive positions and is a threat to go the distance on every touch.  He can also provide lockdown ability defensively at the corner position.  We are excited to see what he can bring to the table this spring."
High School Highlight Reel


Matt Romanello
Athlete (5-10, 170 lbs.)
Peterstown, W. Va./James Monroe

Honorable mention All-West Virginia selection at running back at James Monroe High School… served as a team captain… also a member of the track team.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Matt is another multi-talented skill player that could line up in almost every position and make big plays. He possesses great vision and is outstanding broken field runner."
High School Highlight Reel


Zaide Whitley
Wing Back (6-0, 180 lbs.)
Portsmouth, Ohio/Portsmouth

Versatile performer who played six different positions at Portsmouth High School… earned first-team All-Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, all-district and all-area honors as a senior and was named honorable mention All-Ohio.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Zaide proved to be a game breaker on both offense and in the return game.  He brings pure speed while having more size than a lot of skill guys.  He played a physical brand of football on the defensive side of the ball that will translate great to the skill positions."
High School Highlight Reel




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