BRUNSWICK — Tyler Hughes helped put Brunswick wrestling back on the map this winter.
Now the senior is hoping to help Lake Erie College make itself a national power.
Hughes made a verbal commitment to the Division II program last week, selecting the Storm over Kent State, Ashland and Findlay.
“It just really clicked,” the 18-year-old said. “It was a great campus and the guys made me feel welcome.
“It’s a good school. They were concerned with how they can help me academically, but they also have a great (wrestling) program.”
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Hughes finished second in the D-I state at 170 pounds and earned Gazette MVP honors.
Hughes, who finished with a 41-3 record, made the finals of every tournament the Blue Devils entered, highlighted by winning the Northeast Ohio Conference, Medina Division I Sectional and Cleveland State District titles. His efforts helped Brunswick win the NOC River Division dual crown and the overall league tournament championship.
He is now out to help a Storm program that is 3 years old compete at the national level.
“It’s a new program, but I’m really looking forward to it,” Hughes said. “Kent offered me, but wanted me to commit right away and I wasn’t sure. After another visit to Lake Erie, I just liked the environment.”
Under the direction of coach Kevin Hoogenboom, Lake Erie was fourth at the D-II Super Region 2 Championships and sent three wrestlers to nationals en route to finishing tied for 19th overall.
The Storm, whose roster also includes former Wadsworth standouts Nate Ball and Christian Baughman, was 11-6 in duals and 1-3 in the highly competitive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“They have a good, young team that I think can do some great things,” Hughes said of a Lake Erie program that received votes in the NCAA Division II Coaches Association Poll.
The school also has a strong criminal justice program, which Hughes was turned onto by an uncle who works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Cleveland.
“I’ve wanted to be a cop since I was born,” he said. “My uncle works for the FBI and my dad is a firefighter. I guess I always wanted to be in public service.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.