In a preview of the Regional Meet, the Saint Ignatius track & field squad ventured to Amherst on Holy Saturday for the 64th annual Comet Relays.
Despite temperamental weather, the Wildcats performed well, etching a third-place finish amidst strong competition.
The Saint Ignatius coaching staff utilized a distinct approach for the meet. The decision-making process in choosing relay teams and selecting which runner would compete in which event was not focused on scoring at this meet. Instead, Head Coach Chuck Kyle '69 and his staff wanted to be sure that those will likely compete on this track in a month for the Regional Championships have a chance to compete in this venue, so that nerves don't creep in during Regionals.
The plan worked well, as many Wildcats received a 'practice run' on the track, while the team earned plenty of points.
Dominic Devengencie enjoyed a breakout day on Saturday. The junior qualified for the 100m dash finals, showing off an improved time. Devengencie bettered his prelim time, clocking in at 11.46 to earn fifth.
Soon after, John Wetula raced through the 110m hurdles with style. After marking a qualifying time in the prelims, the senior unleashed an even better time in the finals. Wetula rolled to second with a time of 14.69, just .5 seconds off the top time of Strongsville's Moe Abusway.
Wetula scored again in the 300 hurdles. The West Parker carded a fourth-place time of 41.06 for four more points. Wetula's big day proved to be crucial to the Wildcats' success on the team leaderboard.
The Wildcats also enjoyed a heap of positive results in the longer individual races. Nick Saul tallied eighth place in the 1600m, finishing in 4:37.40. Fellow harrier Steve Zucca dashed to fourth in the 3200 in impressive fashion. The junior clocked a time of 9:59.87, scoring five points for the Wildcats.
While the Wildcats did not finish first in any of the relays, the squad did earn solid results and some points.
The 4x800 and 4x1600 relays each bottled sixth-place finishes for a total of six points. John Mayer, Nathan Soria, Andrew Biehl, and Matt Blouch teamed up for a time of 8:23.63 in the 4x800. Biehl, Soria, Alex Paliga, and Blouch formed a good quartet in the 4x1600, finishing the marathon race in 19:30.13.
The Cinder Cats took eighth in the 4x100 relay. Luke Griffiths, Nick Saul, Liam Reilly, and Cormac Nolan worked together for a time of 3:36.58.
Anchored by Wetula, the 4x100 shuttle relay rose to the top of the crop. Damon Frabotta, Jack Hutter, Sam Pike, and Wetula slungshot to a time of 1:03.56 for fourth place.
The 800 sprint medley also yielded satisfying results. James Crosby, Henry Cook, Jack Kennedy, and Nolan captured five points with a fourth-place time of 1:38.47. This quartet, composed of three juniors and one senior, will be one to watch down the stretch.
The distance medley relay team, a young quartet, did not score, but raced hard. Charlie Rooney, Liam Reilly, Elliot Rodstrom, and Connor McAndrews took 12th with a time of 11:30.28.
The field events produced bountiful results and some points for the Wildcats.
The high jump relay team of Dante Frabotta, Andrew Beten, and Luke Tai rocked the field for second place and 2.7 points. Frabotta led the way for the Wildcats, leaping to a jump of 5-09.00, finishing fourth. Beten tied for fifth with a nice hop of 5-09.00. Tai rounded out the bunch with a top jump of 5-06.00.
As per usual, Dan Drellishak starred in the pole vault. The junior surpassed 14-00.00 on his best effort, tying for first with Justin Muchewicz of Berea-Midpark. Zack Morgan followed Drellishak's lead, topping a height of 11-00.00 to tie for sixth. Combined, Drellishak and Morgan snatched second in the relay, good enough for four points.
The Wildcats also scored in the long jump. Hutter showed off his athleticism with an impressive bound of 20-10.00 to finish fourth. Tai hopped to a jump of 18-04.25 and Luke Rohloff reached 16-11.00. Combined, the trio lassoed 1.3 points for the Wildcats.
As per usual, the Ring Cats repped the team with pride and class. Alec Canzaro enjoyed a nice day in the ring, placing 13th in the shot put with a toss of 44-05.50. Aidan Wells finished not far behind, uncorking a throw of 41-10.75. Velotta the Elder (Chris) rounded out the pack with a toss of 38-10.00. Canzaro, Wells, and Velotta, Inc. combined for 0.7 points in the shot put as a trio.
Velotta the Younger (Nick) guided the way for the Ring Cats in the discus. The sophomore hurled a toss of 107-09 for 24th. George Byrne made his season debut with a toss of 99-09. Canzano rounded out the bunch, finishing just behind Byrne with a throw of 99-05.
As a team, the Wildcats finished third with 61 points, bested only by Solon (97) and Strongsville (63). Berea-Midpark (52), Ashland (31), St. Francis (30), Brunswick (30), Medina (30), Kenston (29), and St. Edward (25) rounded out the top ten, of the 27 teams present.
The Wildcats will be back in action next Saturday at the Titan Kiwanis Relays, hosted by Berea-Midpark.