After a busy weekend that included travel for several teams, we're ready to present the Magis Athletes of the Week.
This week, our group is a mix of youth and experience. We have a number of underclassmen, along with a group of seniors. It represents both the present and the future of Wildcats' athletics.
So, here we go, presented by the Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center:
Basketball – Will Yontek '21
In the absence of big man Henry Raynor, Will Yontek shined against Cleveland Central Catholic on Saturday.
Yontek rose to the occasion against a tough foe with some good size. The junior showcased his tenacity in getting to the bucket, showing no fear in attacking the rim. Yontek used his 6'6, 200-pound frame to create room and then force the Ironmen to foul him.
Yontek has been a nice contributor off the bench all season, but he really stepped up his game on Saturday. The junior poured in 8 points, including 4 in the fourth quarter. Additionally, Yontek hauled down 7 rebounds, leading the team.
Down the stretch, Yontek will be an important piece for the Wildcats. He's a bright young player with great things ahead of him.
Bowling – Robbie Shepherd '23
Some people have a natural inclination for bowling. Others have to work very hard at it to be great. Shepherd falls into the latter category.
At the beginning of the year, Shepherd's form was not where it needed to be. But with the help of his coaches and plenty of practice, Shepherd's form is now incredibly soon. As Coach Viets said, Shepherd's grandparents recently commented on his great form and admired his progress.
This weekend, it all came together for the hard-working freshman.
On Saturday in the JV+ matchup, Shepherd helped the Wildcats conquer Padua. The youngster tossed a 156 in the first game before improving to a great 188. Shepherd led all JV+ keglers with a nice 344 score.
Even more impressive, Shepherd stepped in on the varsity team on Sunday. With the varsity squad missing some regulars, Shepherd was promoted, and he excelled. In the first game of the Black & Gold Sectional Warm-up, Shepherd led all Saint Ignatius bowlers. The frosh notched a 175, besting all of his teammates. He then added a 133 in the second contest, giving him a 2-game total of 308. At one point, Shepherd knocked down 7 strikes in a row.
Shepherd is the future of the Saint Ignatius bowling program – a great young man with a special work ethic.
Hockey – Class of 2020
Not too often do you find a class as tightknit and talented as this current crop of Saint Ignatius senior hockey players.
One word perfectly describes them – family.
From top-line stars to fourth-line heroes to the managers, the Wildcats are an inseparable bunch. It's an amazing collection of young men.
So it's no surprise that the seniors thrived on Saturday during the Senior Day game vs. the Pittsburgh Predators. Seniors scored 6 of the 7 goals in a 7-1 victory.
Aidan Millett shined the brightest with a hat trick. The stud forward scored on the breakaway and from each side of the slot on absolute snipes. At this rate, the Wildcats should rename it the Millett Shelf instead of the top shelf. The kid has a silky shot that goalies just can't compete with.
Christian Radke also found twine on the breakaway. The senior busted out a nasty deke and shot it top cheese off his backhand. Oh, and did we mention that it was on the penalty kill? The shorthanded goal broke the spirits of the Preds early on.
Camden Kurtz later scored one of his own after playing the assist man earlier in the game. The power forward hit the back of the net with a nice goal.
Matt Sullivan found Alex Bilardo for a gino in the second period after Kurtz's goal, further cementing the win. It was a senior party on Saturday indeed.
Swimming & Diving – Micah Murtha '22
We might have picked several Wildcats after a great weekend. Tyler Hong deserves some kudos after coming close to breaking Michael Phelps' pool record. But since Hong won it a few weeks ago, we need to recognize someone else. And that someone is Micah Murtha.
Ever since he stepped foot on West 30th and Lorain, you knew Murtha would be special for the Aqua Cats. He helped the Wildcats in the State Meet as a freshman, afterall.
Murtha has been just as good as a sophomore, and his efforts in Baltimore, Maryland were just further proof.
Murtha made contributions in four events over the weekend. The Bay Village native began by tallying a fifth-place time of 21.54 in the 50 free. Murtha led all of the Wildcats in the event. His next scoring occurred in the 100 free. The second-year Cat punched a ticket to the B-final, marking down a time of 48.35, second only to John Soeder.
Murtha also did well with his two relay squads. Working in tandem with Will Van de Walle, Kian Carmichael, and John Soeder, Murtha helped the team to snatch third in the 200 free relay. The quartet combined for a time of 1:25.54.
In his final event, Murtha teamed up with Hong, Carmichael, and Richmond in the 400 free relay. Once again, Murtha did wonderful work in aiding the Wildcats to a time of 3:08.91. The Cats' top relay in the event clocked in for a third-place finish.
Murtha will be a key contributor for the Wildcats the rest of this season and beyond.
Wrestling – Jarell Young '23
As with the bowling and swimming teams, we're going young with this week's wrestling Magis Athlete. And for good reason.
The Wildcats enjoyed great weekend at the Catholic Invitational Tournament at Elder High School, rolling to third. But perhaps no one fought as hard for his spot as Jarell Young.
In a field of veterans at 152, Young battled his way to the finals and turned plenty of heads.
His journey to the championship bout began with back-to-back win. And not just wins, put pins. Young put his first two foes on their backs in just 1:34 and 3:41. But his work was just beginning.
In the semifinals. Young found himself paired against Nolan Hatten of Toledo St. John's Jesuit. Hatten is a senior who entered the weekend with a 20-4 record. Young brought in a mark of 10-3, not too shabby, but not as proven as Hatten. Well, by the way Young wrestled, you couldn't tell he was a freshman. Young battled to a tie in regulation, trading points with Hatten. The match required overtime, but not even that could settle the score.
So, the two competitors headed to UTB (ultimate tie-breaker). In the grueling battle, Young outdueled his senior foe and punched a ticket to the big dance, the championship match.
Young lost to a senior from Elder in the final, but his work in fighting his way to the title match is something to admire. Young is a great young man with a bright future in the blue and gold.