As the "old guard" of Saint Ignatius track & field coaches joked, Saturday's Medina Relays proved to be one of the warmest on record. Being in early April, the meet has a notorious reputation for always drawing cold and dreary conditions.
But on Saturday, the sun splashed Ken Dukes Stadium, and the Wildcats shined plenty, too. The men of Chuck Kyle '69 dazzled in both the track and the field events, earning second place at the Medina Relays.
The Wildcats ended the day with 94 points, second only to Solon (103.50). Twinsburg (63), Medina (56), Austintown Fitch (55), Hudson (50), Berea-Midpark 43.50), CVCA (39), Medina Highland (38), and Avon Lake (34) rounded out the top ten out of the 14 teams.
The day began in earnest around 11 am with the start of the shot put, pole vault, long jump, and the 4x1600m relay. All three events ended well for the Wildcats.
The 4x1600 relay concluded first, with the Wildcats bursting out to first place. Matt Blouch, Nathan Soria, Andrew Biehl, and Nick Saul combined for a winning time of 18:16.07. Saul ensured that there would be no doubt at the finish line. The senior anchor helped extend the gap between first and second to a whopping 18 seconds.
The shot put ended next after the Wildcats did well in the fourth flight. Aidan Wells hefted the longest toss of the Saint Ignatius trio, lofting the shot to 46-00.00, sixth best of all throwers. Alec (AJ) Canzano roared to a throw of 45-01.00, placing eighth out of 43 competitors. Tony Georges rounded out the legion, tallying a distance of 42-08.50 for 11th. The Wildcats' trio combined for second place as a relay in the event.
The Wildcats also trotted out three talented athletes in the high jump. Luke Tai led the way with a magnificent jump of 5-08.00 in his final attempt at the height. The senior could not leap any higher, finishing 13th. Andrew Eicher also enjoyed a solid day, with his highest jump extending to 5-06.00. Andrew Beten, a promising freshman, reached 5-03.00.
The pole vault relay provided one of the top highlights of the day for the blue and gold. Dan Drellishak guided the way for a talented trio of Wildcats, reaching into the sky with ease on a number of jumps. Drellishak cleared 13-06.00 on his highest successful attempt, placing second only to Justin Muchewicz of Berea-Midpark. Fresh off of wrestling season, Zack Morgan lunged to a height of 12-00.00 in his best attempt of the day, tying for fourth. Fellow senior John Wilberg also managed 12-00.00 in his best attempt. The Wildcats capture first in the event, to the delight of pole vaulting coach Joe Zebrak '87, who now turns to preparing for this week's Chariot Races, slated for Wednesday.
In the second varsity race of the day, the 800 sprint medley relay, the Wildcats picked up a few points. Jack Kennedy, James Crosby, Luke Griffiths, and Henry Cook teamed up for a time of 1:37.64, snagging sixth.
The firm of Kennedy, Crosby, Cook, and Griffiths tallied more points later on in the 4x100 relay. The talented quartet produced a time of 43.69, prosecuting the competition for a reward of five points after a fourth-place finish.
The 4x800 relay produced similarly good results. John Mayer, Blouch, Soria, and Nick Saul – all cross country stars – teamed up to do damage in the race. The quartet tallied a time of 8:21.34, bested only by defending state cross country champion Hudson.
The Wildcats also earned great times in the faster races of the day. Most notably, John Wetula was crowned champion in the 110m hurdles. Besting some of state quality runners, Wetula notched a time of 14.71 for first. Dominic Devengencie repped the Wildcats in the 100m dash with a time of 11.55, but did not score with a ninth-place finish. Devengencie also placed ninth in the 200m dash, clocking in at 23.39.
The distance medley relay featured some promising young bucks for the Wildcats. Connor McAndrews, Jack McCarthy, Charlie Rooney, and Elliot Rodstrom worked together for a mark of 11:33.17. The team, formed of two sophomores and two juniors, tallied three points with a sixth-place effort.
Three seniors and a junior formed a dangerous combo in the 4x110 shuttle hurdle. Ethan Biasci, Jack Hutter, Sam Pike, and John Wetula galloped to second with a time of 1:03.07. The Wildcats earned 8 points as a result.
Steve Zucca continued his marvelous breakout campaign with a time of 9:33.27. Cutting time once again, Zucca opened up an 8-second difference over the next harrier, winning 10 points for the men of Ohio City.
In the final race of the day, Blouch, Saul, Cormac Nolan, and Wetula formed a team in the 4x400 relay. The quartet carded a time of 3:31.53, good enough for 6 points for the Wildcats.
As the Cinder Cats raced, the Wildcats also scored in the long jump and the discus. Jack Hutter leaped to a jump of 20-02.00, earning seventh place among a crowded field. Tai hopped to 11th with a mark of 19-04.00. Luke Rohloff rounded out the bunch with a jump of 19-03.25 for 13th. Altogether, the Wildcats combined for third in the long jump.
The Ring Cats finished their day well. Nick Velotta flung his farthest disc for 128-09, slashing eighth in the meet sheet. Georges penciled in at 16th, with his longest throw reaching 113-11. Canzano took 26th out of 42 talented competitors with a long toss of 98-07. As a squad, the Ring Cats rolled to fourth in the event.
The JV races did not count towards team points, but their feats are still well worth mentioning. Luke Rohloff, Anthony Santagata, Mike Morgan, and Edwin Abiakl snatched sixth in the 800 sprint medley relay. Peter Fitzpatrick and Alex Paliga also did well in the 1600m run. Fitzpatrick won the event in 4:45.21 while Paliga claimed third with a mark of 4:48.90.
Following Saturday's great meet, the Wildcats will look to keep things rolling next week. The Track & Ring Cats head to Canton for the GlenOak Invitational next Saturday.