By Kevin Eickman
If you have spent any time at all following Alvontae Drummond’s wrestling career, you know that he sets the bar high for himself. In his second year at McDaniel College that was indeed again the case. Drummond set his sights on qualifying for the NCAA Division III National Championships, while also gaining All-American recognition; lofty goals for a sophomore. While the later goal will have to wait, Drummond did indeed compete in the just completed 2015 NCAA championships.
Drummond was able to qualify for the NCAA tournament courtesy of a second place finish, 141 lbs, at the Eastern Regional tournament, held two weeks ago in Roanoke, VA. While losing the championship match at the regional was not what he wanted, it was a big step forward after a huge disappointment at last year’s regional. “While finishing third was nice last year, I needed to finish third to qualify for the tournament,” Drummond stated. “This year I took another step by qualifying for the nationals.”
Drummond entered the tournament unseeded and faced a difficult draw. In his first match Drummond faced off against sophomore Joshua Decatur of Baldwin Wallace University. While Drummond was able to win the first match 9-3, the reward was a match against the brackets top seed and reigning national champion, senior Kaleb Loht of Messiah College.
Having never beaten Loht in three previous attempts, Drummond knew that he would be in for quite a challenge. “I have to hand it to him, Loht is simply an outstanding wrestler.” Drummond continued “Each time I have wrestled him, he has brought something new to our matches, something else that I have to figure out how to deal with.” Unfortunately for Drummond, Loht once again proved too much for him, defeating the Milford product by a 12-1 decision.
Drummond would have little time to rest as he would battle All-American Michael Ferinde of Johnson & Wales. The battle was epic, with Drummond finally losing an overtime thriller 2-1. With the loss, the tournament was over for Drummond. While it may not have ended exactly the way he wanted it to, there was plenty for Drummond to be proud about. “Having to come back so quickly and wrestle a guy like Ferinde, I was very happy with how tough I was able to battle him,” Drummond stated.
When he was attending Milford, it was easy to see that Drummond was a class act. In an email exchange with McDaniel coach Davey Blake, it is clear that nothing much has changed along those lines. “Beyond athletics, Alvontae is a humble, well-mannered, and caring individual. The combination of all of these attributes makes him a fan favorite and one of our most popular athletes on campus,” Blake stated.
While he was disappointed with how the season ended for him this year, Drummond knows that he will improve going forward. “There are areas that I need to improve in to get ready for next season,” Drummond said. “I need to do more work in the weight room and on the mat, I know that I can improve.”