February 28, 2011
Storm Wrestler Shines When The Lights Come On
(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – When the lights come on, Andrew Gasber, Lake Erie College sophomore wrestler, gets “in the zone”. Coming from a decorated career in high school, Gasber plans to continue his success at Lake Erie College.
All of this success is a great feat, but Gasber dominates the mats despite having a glass eye. After being diagnosed with a cancer called retinoblastoma at age 6, Gasber had his eye removed when he was just 8 years old. Retinoblastoma is a rare, cancerous tumor of a part of the eye called the retina.
As a child, Gasber struggled with otherwise simple sports such as basketball and golf, but in the coming years, Gasber began wrestling, and soon found that he had a unique skill-set for the sport. “Wrestling is all about awareness and reaction and how natural it comes to you.” Gasber explained, and having only ever wrestled after losing his eye, he has always relied on naturally sensing his opponent rather than waiting to see their next move.
Gasber went on to have great success the next few years, gorging into the deep rounds of multiple State Championship tournaments. After high school, Gasber initially went to Notre Dame College, but transferred to Lake Erie College for the opportunity to wrestle. In his first year at Lake Erie College, Gasber is currently 15-10 on the season, with only a few matches remaining.
Gasber’s biggest feat this season came at the Midwest Classic at the University of Indianapolis. Wrestling at his natural weight of 165-lbs, Gasber tore rib cartilage in his first match, and victory of the tournament. His next opponent would be his toughest, as he would face the then #1-ranked wrestler in his weight class in all of NCAA division II. Willing through his pain, Gasber came within fractions of a second of pinning his opponent, but just as he could taste his victory, his opponent maneuvered out of the position and pinned Gasber right where his ribs hurt the most, rendering him unable to fight his way free. Defaulting on the rest of his tournament matches, Gasber went on to finish 8th in the tournament.
On his battle through the injury in his biggest match, Gasber said, “It was all just mental. I knew that when the lights came on that I’d have to bring my best.” and he did just that. Gasber enjoys coaching the sport he loves, and coaches Madison Jr. High School students in their off-season.
Gasber and the team have just the postseason remaining, and he is confident that a few members will qualify for the national championship tournament in the upcoming weeks. The Storm Wrestling team concluded their season with a record of 5-8-1 in dual matches.