As the postseason inches closer, the Wildcats are coming around.
The Saint Ignatius varsity gold wrestling team has begun its ascent. Since the start of the 2020, the Wildcats have torn off 7 straight victories.
Two of those wins took place at Padua High School on Saturday. The Mat Cats first stormed to a 63-16 triumph over Dublin Scioto. Then the Wildcats did even better against the Bruins, conquering every single foe en route to a 78-0 victory over the Bruins.
The Wildcats now stand at 7-1 on the season after the wins.
The day began with a couple of great matchups between Saint Ignatius and Dublin Scioto. First, Timmy Putka pinned his foe in the first period for six points. Then Johnny Novak stepped in at 113 to face Dylan Le, who defeated the senior Cat in the Brecksville Holiday Tournament.
The battle between Novak and Le went the distance, and more. The two state contenders duked it out in a great contest. Le notched a first-period takedown, Novak got an escape and a takedown in the second, and Le escaped in the third to set the score at 3-3 after regulation. In sudden victory, Novak tallied the takedown for an emotional win.
Ryan Putka and Jack Bush followed up the huge victory with wins by forfeit at 120 and pin at 126. Anthony Santagata suffered a 12-3 defeat at 132, but Calum Campolieti got the Cats back on track at 138. The junior wasted little time in felling his opponent and six points. Sam Infante kept the good times rolling with a pin in the first 65 seconds at 145.
Dublin Scioto tallied its second win at 152 with a pin just before the buzzer in the first period. But the Irish didn't celebrate long, as in stepped freshman Jarell Young. The phenom needed just 26 seconds to secure a pin win at 160. Tommy Buckles also won in style, notching a pin at the 90-second mark of the contest at 170.
Sam Clark and Andrew Chime picked up forfeit wins at 182 and 195, setting the score at 57-10.
Carter Zimmerman faced a tough foe at 220. In a match that needed three periods, Zimmerman slowly pressed his opponent. The junior held a 3-1 advantage in the third, stretching it to 5-1. With time dwindling in the third, Zimmerman exposed a gap in his opponent's defense. As his dad yelled, "Be a pinner!" from the bench, Zimmerman held his foe to the mat for six points for the Wildcats.
Patrick Clink suffered a tough loss at 285 pounds to an opponent 60 pounds heavier than him, even after a 3-pancake breakfast. But despite the loss, the Wildcats had plenty of breathing room, securing a 63-16 victory.
From the start of the second match, the Wildcats looked ready and focused. Each and every Wildcat wrestled well.
Joey Novak kicked things off in great style with a first-period pin at 120. Bush followed by matching the feat, but even quicker. Both Cats looked sharp in doing so, too.
At 132, Santagata then found himself in a grueling battle against a challenging foe. From the start, it was a dogfight. The junior found himself down 6-2 after the first, nearly being pinned. But he avoided the loss, outscoring his opponent, 7-2. Entering the final period, he held a 9-8 advantage. Santagata allowed two escapes in the third, but no more, managing a couple of takedowns to ensure a 14-10 triumph.
Campolieti and Infante followed up Santagata's huge win with pins in rapid succession. Both young men enjoyed great weekends, showcasing their skills and flashing bright smiles afterward. Evan Arko then took a forfeit win at 152.
At 160, Jarell Young faced a tough Bruin in one of only two matches that were not settled by pin or forfeit. While Young didn't get a pin, he never showed any fear. The freshman notched a quick takedown in the first for a 2-0 lead that stood into the third. In the final stanza, Young outscored his Padua opponent, 6-3. As head coach Mark Sullivan remarked between matches, there is something special about Young. He has the "It" factor. Young is a man to watch for the rest of the season and beyond.
Ar 170, Buckles did not compete. Well, kind of. The PA announcer asked at the desk if "Tommy Buckley" was his name, and Buckles didn't feel like correcting it. So, the PA announcer called him Tommy Buckley instead of Buckles. As his parents chuckled in the stands, "Buckley" earned a quick pin. So, if you run into the senior in the hallway this week, be sure to call him "Buckley."
At 182, Sam Clark accepted a win by pin. Rocco Periandri then earned another 6 points at 195 pounds with a second-period win in nice fashion.
Once again at 220, Zimmerman found himself in a good match. And just as the elder Zimmerman urged him to do, Carter pinned his foe, and with some nice style. The junior walked away from the day with two awesome third-period pin wins.
Patrick Clink and Johnny Novak each earned wins by forfeit at 285 and 113, while Timmy Putka took care of business in the final contested match of the day. Just like that, the Wildcats captured a 78-0 win.
Next weekend, the Wildcats will finally have a home match. The Mat Cats will host Akron Firestone and CVCA in Sullivan Gym starting at 6 pm on Friday.