It was a busy week for Saint Ignatius Athletics, even with school out for Christmas break.
The basketball team headed south to Florida, the hockey squad journeyed north to Michigan, while the swimming and bowling teams stayed home and notched important wins.
Here are the Magis Athletes of the Week, presented by the Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center:
Basketball – Griffin Hanna '20
For football players transitioning to basketball season, it typically takes some time to adjust. It's safe to say that Griffin Hanna is in full basketball mode.
Without a doubt, the senior found his shot in Miami. The 6'2 forward/guard caught fire at the Belen Jesuit Showcase this weekend.
Hanna started the 3-game trip with an 8-point effort vs. Schoolhouse Prep on Thursday. In spite of the early start time, Hanna buried two early 3-pointers to keep the Wildcats in the game early on.
Then Hanna's signature performance came on Friday. The senior looked unstoppable against Belen Jesuit. From the start of the game, Hanna played exceptionally. He fired home a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter, then matched the feat in the second quarter. Hanna buried two more treys in the second half, adding a layup for a total of 20 points.
Hanna finished his assault on the scoreboard on Saturday, helping the Wildcats notch a 46-point victory, the largest margin of victory so far this season.
Hanna and the Wildcats have a big weekend ahead. The team faces St. Edward on Friday at home at 7 pm, and heads to Warren Harding on Saturday evening.
Bowling – Alex Madeja '20
The Alley Cats bounced back in a major way this weekend, and Alex Madeja is a major reason why.
After a pair of tough losses, the Wildcats came up with a huge victory on Saturday. The squad defeated Padua, evening out at 4-4 on the year.
Madeja played a huge role in reversing the team's fortunes. The senior tallied a 391 series – a 205 in the first game and a 196 in the second game. His consistently good efforts, both individually and in the baker games, buoyed the Wildcats against a very good Padua squad.
Madeja is a great young man who works hard every week to hone his skills. He's also an important team leader who, along with Virant, plays a huge role in keeping the Wildcats grounded.
Speaking of Virant, we also need to give him plenty of kudos. The senior also enjoyed a big weekend after putting in extra time in the lanes.
The Wildcats are back in action on Saturday, facing Garfield Heights at Rollhouse Wickliffe.
Hockey – Greg Langermeier '20
Good players make plays when the pressure isn't on. Great players make plays under duress when the team most needs him.
Greg Langermeier falls into the latter category.
The star defenseman stepped up when the Wildcats yearned for big plays.
Late in the second period on Saturday, the Wildcats trailed a very good A21 Academy squad, 2-0. In the early goings, A21 looked like the better team, finding twine twice in the first period. The Wildcats looked to be in trouble at the Yost Arena at the University of Michigan on Saturday.
The senior started the comeback late in the second period with a great goal. As they say, goals late in periods can come back to haunt you. Langermeier's goal certainly did, as it changed the dynamic of the game. The captain's goal trimmed the deficit to 2-1, and sent the Wildcats into the intermission with momentum and confidence.
In the third period, the Wildcats tied the game at 2. For a while, it looked like Saint Ignatius and A21 would tie. But late in the game, Langermeier found space at the point. The senior did not waste his opportunity, firing one home top shelf in a beauty of a goal. A21 could not respond, and the Cats stayed undefeated with a 3-2 win.
The Wildcats romped A21 on Sunday, 5-0, no doubt thanks in part to the momentum gained from Saturday's comeback win.
Now 15-0-1 on the year, the Wildcats will play in the Blyth Tournament in Burlington, Ontario in Canada this weekend.
Swimming & Diving – Cormac Nolan '20
The Wildcats absolutely dominated St. Edward in the pool this weekend, and Cormac Nolan was one of the reasons why.
The senior helped the Wildcats win two relays, and helped the squad notch a 1-2-3 sweep in another relay.
Along with his teammates in the 200 medley relay (Erik Seicean, Robert Gavigan, and Will Van de Walle), Nolan swam well in the opening event of the dual meet. Led by Nolan, the quartet tallied a time of 1:39.54, enough to secure a great opening victory.
Nolan aided the 200 free relay squad next. Working with Micah Murtha, Cam Marcie, and Sam Hessler, Nolan helped the Cats roll to first place. Nolan and the boys notched a time of 1:30.72, besting the Eagles again.
Nolan finished off his day in the 400 free relay. That's not an easy event, but Nolan did his part quite well. The star worked with Hessler, Benjamin Stavar, and Thomas Metz to secure second place in the marathon. The squad touched the wall at 3:27.00, not far off the Wildcats' top relay team in the event.
Nolan and the Cats are back in the pool on Tuesday, heading to Hawken to face University School.
Wrestling – Johnny Novak '20
It was a quiet week for the Saint Ignatius wrestling squad, but this week's honoree more than earned his recognition in the week before.
Johnny Novak reps the Mat Cats after recording his 100th career win.
Novak notched Win #100 at the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Holiday Tournament on December 29. The senior defeated his opponent, 10-3, in a great victory.
Reaching 100 wins is a great accomplishment, but it's the way that Novak has done so that is even more impressive. Since his freshman year, Novak has grown and developed into a great young man. He's a humble and hungry leader who is never satisfied with the status quo. He's the type of person who will always go above an beyond, the definition of the Magis. Ask him to work for an hour and he'll work for two hours.
In whatever field he chooses, Novak will be successful. His tenacious work ethic is a major reason why. He has a bright future.
In his immediate future is the Minutemen Duals. Novak and the rest of the Mat Cats will head to Revere on Saturday for the team tournament.