LEC’s Boggs sa­vors re­turn

River­side grad wants to win na­tional ti­tle in se­nior sea­son

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Sports - By Mark Podolski mpodol­[email protected]­ald.com @mpodo on Twit­ter

Two sea­sons ago, Nick Boggs was a col­lege wrestler on a roll.

As a ju­nior at Lake Erie Col­lege in 2016-17, he went 30-10, was a na­tional qual­i­fier and placed fifth at the NCAA Divi­sion II tour­na­ment to earn Al­lAmer­ica honors.

For an en­core last sea­son ... he did an in­tern­ship with a mar­ket­ing com­pany.

The River­side grad­u­ate was a red­shirt in 2017-18. He was not hurt, but he was jump­ing up a weight class from 149 to 157. His coaches felt that jump ne­ces­si­tated a year of ad­just­ment. Also, Boggs needed to com­plete two in­tern­ships to grad­u­ate. His red­shirt sea­son gave him the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete one.

Boggs will grad­u­ate with a de­gree in le­gal stud­ies and is in the process of ap­ply­ing to law school. But 201718 wasn’t just about aca­demics for the red­shirt se­nior. He still wres­tled 40 matches, and equaled his 2016-17 mark of 30-10.

The big dif­fer­ence was Boggs was an un­at­tached wrestler. He com­peted in tour­na­ments the Storm com­peted at, and won five while wear­ing an Ohio na­tional team sin­glet. He was ba­si­cally a wrestler without a col­lege at­tached to his name.

“It was not the same as be­ing there with your team,” said Boggs. “I couldn’t travel with the team or stay in the same ho­tel. It’s nice to be back this year. I def­i­nitely missed it.”

The 22-year-old is back this sea­son, and isn’t back­ing down. Boggs has big­time goals in last go-round at LEC.

“The No. 1 goal is to be a na­tional cham­pion. I want to do it for my­self, but I want to be the school’s first wrestling na­tional cham­pion.” — Lake Erie wrestler Nick Boggs

“The No. 1 goal is to be a na­tional cham­pion,” he said. “I want to do it for my­self, but I want to be the school’s first wrestling na­tional cham­pion.”

It’s been an im­pres­sive start for Boggs. He’s 18-3 this sea­son and ranked No. 10 na­tion­ally at 157. His three losses are against the Nos. 2, 5 and 9 ranked wrestlers in his weight class.

“I’m com­pet­ing against the best in the na­tion,” said Boggs.

His red­shirt sea­son of 2017-18 con­sisted of get­ting big­ger and stronger while stay­ing ac­tive on the mat, but the for­mer wasn’t easy.

“For me, it’s just hard putting on weight,” said Boggs. “I’m a bit quicker at 157, but I needed to get big­ger and stronger. The best thing about last sea­son there was no pres­sure.”

First-year Storm coach Jeff Breese in­her­ited a solid lineup, and with Boggs as a red­shirt se­nior he couldn’t be hap­pier. He knew Boggs’ his­tory com­ing in, and said it’s been fun coach­ing him.

“He’s al­ready an Al­lAmer­i­can, so there’s only one thing that’s left,” said Breese. “Win a na­tional ti­tle.”

His coach said Boggs has the tal­ent to de­liver that, but Breese said it takes more than tal­ent to make it hap­pen.

“A lot of it comes with be­ing self aware,” said Breese. “A lot of peo­ple say they want to be a na­tional cham­pion. Then some­one tells them the work in­volved, then they really don’t want to do it. The work, that’s the men­tal­ity of a na­tional cham­pion.

“Hon­estly in Nick’s case, his mind­set, men­tal­ity and tough­ness are far greater than his ac­tual tal­ent. He’s made him­self tal­ented.”

At River­side, Boggs was a two-time state qual­i­fier and was fifth in the state as a ju­nior and sixth as a se­nior. The pur­suit to be a cham­pion is Boggs’ No. 1 goal, and he’s work­ing tire­lessly to make it hap­pen.

“Go­ing hard for a full seven min­utes on the mat takes a lot of work,” he said.

Boggs will con­tinue that pur­suit when the Storm’s sea­son re­sumes Jan. 20 with a home dual against Wheel­ing Je­suit. Soon after, the count­down be­gins to the post­sea­son, which be­gins Feb. 23 with a Su­per Re­gional at West Lib­erty.

The na­tional tour­na­ment is March 8-9 at the Wol­stein Cen­ter in down­town Cleve­land, where Boggs is hop­ing to make his­tory if he can get there. At the rate he’s at, Boggs should be in good po­si­tion to qual­ify and then per­form in front of fam­ily and friends.

“It really would mean ev­ery­thing,” said Boggs of the thought of be­ing a na­tional cham­pion. “Go­ing out on a high note, that would be a great thing.”

“He’s al­ready an All-Amer­i­can, so there’s only one thing that’s left.” — Lake Erie wrestling coach Jeff Breese, on Nick Boggs

MARK PODOLSKI — THE NEWS-HER­ALD

River­side grad­u­ate Nick Boggs is 18-3 this sea­son as a red­shirt se­nior for the Lake Erie Col­lege wrestling team.

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