WESTLAKE — Erin Langermeier was in a long-distance relationship with The Ohio State University women’s hockey coach Nate Handraham. She just wasn’t aware.
For a couple years, Handraham and the Buckeyes staff had their eyes on Langermeier, a senior at Westlake High School. The long-distance relationship resulted in an offer to play Division I hockey at her “dream school.”
Ohio State had Langermeier on its radar since her freshman year of high school while she was playing for the Ohio Flames. The Flames are well known to college coaches. According to Flames coach Darin Gillis, the U19 program has sent at least 25 players to play big-school women’s hockey over the last three years.
Langermeier will not be without familiar faces in Columbus. Flames alum Stacy Danczak (Macedonia) is a junior goaltender for Ohio State, and current teammate Elise Reimenschneider (Rocky River) also recently committed to play for the Buckeyes.
Late last year, Ohio State had been seen Langermeier at various tournaments around the country, and when her club season was about to begin, she reached out to the Buckeyes’ coaching staff with her schedule. The mutual interest resulted in an unofficial visit late in November and the two parties stayed in touch until Langermeier attended a camp in Columbus in June.
“I’ve been to that camp before, so it wasn’t surprising to be talking to coach or staff while we were down there,” Langermeier said. “But things changed when the coaches told my mom and I that they would like to speak with us after the camp was done.
“We talked for a little bit and right then and there they offered me a position on the team. They told me I had a little time to think about it if I needed, but I looked at my mom and told her we didn’t need any more time to think about it – and said yes.”
Langermeier plays well in all three areas of the ice, but she was asked by the Flames this past season to become more of a scorer and she responded with 25 goals and 27 assists in 50 games.
“Erin has been one of my favorites in the program,” Gillis said. “Off the ice she is a lovely kid with great parents and is polite and respectful. When she gets on the ice, she flips the switch and becomes possessed and I love that about her.
“Division I schools have no problem finding players that are grinders, so I wanted her to become more aggressive with at least two shots on goal during every shift. Division I teams need players that can put the puck in the net and she possesses the skill and athletic ability to do that.”
Langermeier put in the hard work to earn a spot with Ohio State, but she knows she wasn’t alone in the journey that will take her to Columbus.
“I couldn’t have come to this point without all the people around me,” Langermeier said. “I know my parents (Tanya and Greg) sacrificed a lot getting up for all those early morning practices and driving all over, taking me to tournaments, not to mention all the money they spent.
“I also wouldn’t be here without my coach (Gillis), who works so hard for everyone in the program to get them out in front of the schools. I never could have done this on my own.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.