Lake Erie College Athletics

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

Lake Erie College is a private liberal arts college in Painesville, Ohio. Founded in 1856 as a female seminary, the college converted to a coeducational institution in 1985. As of the 2016–2017 academic year, the total enrollment was 1,177 students.

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Overview of Lake Erie College Athletics

The Lake Erie Storm are the athletic teams that represent Lake Erie College, located in Painesville, Ohio, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sporting competitions. The Storm compete as members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), although Lake Erie will move its varsity sports to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) in 2017.[2] Lake Erie College was a member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) of Division III through the 2007–08 academic year but completed the process of moving to Division II at the conclusion of the 2008–2009 academic year.[3]

All of Lake Erie’s teams participate in the GLIAC with the exception of men’s lacrosse, which competes in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

Since joining NCAA Division II, Lake Erie student-athletes have earned 55 All-American honors and five conference championships along with three individual National Champions. The 2013–14 academic year has proved to be the most successful in the institution’s history with six teams (baseball, men’s lacrosse, men’s swimming, men’s indoor and outdoor track & field, and wrestling) earning top 25 national rankings or NCAA tournament bids. The program also recorded its highest-ever finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup Standings (79th), which placed it near the top 25% of all D-II programs in the country.

At various times in its history prior to joining the AMCC, Lake Erie competed as a member of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Small College Athletic Association (NSCAA). The College’s softball team won the 1991 NSCAA National Championship.

A newly heated rivalry has begun with Ashland University, a two-hour drive away in Ashland, Ohio.

The official nickname of the College’s athletics teams is the Storm. The name was chosen to replace the nickname Unicorns when the College added men’s intercollegiate athletics beginning in 1988. Their mascot is Stormy.

In 2010, Lake Erie College engaged in a legal dispute with a professional football club in Erie, Pennsylvania after that team took on the moniker “Erie Storm.”[4] As a result of the dispute, the professional team was rechristened the Erie Explosion, a name that remains with the team as of 2015.

Varsity teams

List of teams

Men’s sports (9)BaseballBasketballCross CountryFootballLacrosseSoccerIndoor & Outdoor Track and FieldWrestlingWomen’s sports (8)BasketballCross CountryLacrosseSoccerSoftballIndoor & Outdoor Track and FieldVolleyball

Individual sports


One of Lake Erie’s All-Americans, baseball player Ryan Rua, was a 17th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball in 2011 – the first professional draft pick in school history. Rua made his major league debut with the Rangers on August 29, 2014 and ended his first call-up with a .295 batting average, two homeruns, and 14 runs batted in, in 28 appearances. Outfielder Luke Raley became the second Lake Erie player drafted when the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 MLB draft. For his career, Raley hit .379 with a .471 on-base percentage and a .654 slugging percentage. He totaled 160 hits with 121 runs, five triples, 31 doubles, 25 homeruns and 101 RBI.


Lake Erie men’s basketball enjoyed its most success competing as an NCAA Division III program. The 2005-06 team set a program record for victories with 25 and advanced to the AMCC Championship three years in a row with two Division III NCAA Tournament appearances.


The Storm men’s lacrosse program was a founding member of the East Coast Athletic Conference Division II Lacrosse League which formed in 2012 and played its first competitive season in 2013. In 2013, just its fourth year in competition, the men’s lacrosse team reached the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals and junior Trevor Tarte led the nation in goal scoring. In 2015, the team reached the NCAA Division II Semifinals having defeated the University of Tampa in the first-ever Division II NCAA postseason event hosted on the Lake Erie campus. That season was marked by the team achieving the first-ever number one national ranking for any team in the history of the program. Men’s lacrosse began play in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in 2017.


The Lake Erie varsity football program began in 2008 and has been highlighted by a number one national finish in total offense in 2013, the Harlon Hill finalist candidacy of running back Anthony Bilal in 2014 and the school’s first-ever NFL signing in 2017. On his way to finishing third in the national player of the year balloting, Bilal rushed 254 times to gain 2,091 yards and score 29 rushing touchdowns. In May 2017, tight end and long snapper Anthony Kukwa became the first Storm student-athlete to sign an NFL contract, agreeing to a three-year undrafted free agent rookie contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Track and Field

In the spring of 2010 the Lake Erie track and field team boasted the first NCAA Division II All-Americans in school history when Ethan Snyder finished 7th in the nation in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles and Chris Burrows finished 8th in the nation in the 200 meter dash. Since that time, Lake Erie has had a successful run of individual accomplishments at the national level. Edward “Jamil” Dudley became the school’s first national champion when he won the high jump at the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Dudley was also a national champion in the high jump and teammate Joe Postwaite was a national runner-up in the triple jump at the 2014 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.


The women’s volleyball program has made great strides since the reorganizing of the program in 2015. After a 3-win season in 2014, the Storm have steadily improved their performance finishing 9-20 in the 2015 season and concluding a 19-16 campaign in 2016 that culminated in the program’s first-ever postseason qualification and GLIAC conference tournament victory.


In 2013, wrestler Zak Vargo was the national runner-up at 157 pounds at the Division II Wrestling Championships. Vargo repeated his All-American performance at the 2014 Championships and was joined by freshman teammate Evan Rosborough, at 197 pounds. During the 2013-14 season, the team captured its first of three consecutive GLIAC Conference Championships and peaked at #16 in the national rankings, finishing 25th in the country at the Division II National Championships. In 2014-15, the team set a program record finish of 19th at Nationals. The 2015-16 season was marked by a program-best number six national ranking and the 2016-17 season represented the sixth consecutive year in which the program sent at least one wrestler to Nationals, with five student-athletes qualifying.

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