Lake Erie College wrestler Christian Small narrowly missed bringing home an NCAA championship to Lake County.
On March 11 at the NCAA Division II National Tournament, Small advanced to the 141-pound title match but lost a defensive struggle to Tiffin’s Zachary Donathan, 2-1.
Small — who finished his season 29-4 — won three straight matches to get to the championship match.
He opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Caleb Morris of Pitt-Johnstown, then posted a 3-0 shutout of Drury’s Peter Kuster in a quarterfinal match.
In the semifinal round, Small (the No. 4 seed) upset top-seeded Zeth Brower of Lander, 8-6, to earn his spot opposite Donathan in the 141 final.
The Storm had another All-America in 174-pounder James Penfold, who was fourth.
At the D-III men’s wrestling tournament, Wickliffe grad Doug Byrne of Baldwin Wallace earned All-America status with a fifth-place finish.
Byrne won his first-round match via a fall, then lost in the quarterfinal round to Tyler Hannah of Wisconsin-Plattville.
Byrne — who finished his season 29-3 — won two straight matches in the consolation rounds before dropping a consolation semifinal.
In the fifth-place bout, he avenged his earlier loss to Hannah with a 4-2 victory.
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