President's Day Weekend brought plenty of success for the Wildcats.
The Alley Cats punched a ticket to the District Tournament, the swimming & diving team won the District Championship, the Mat Cats and Ice Cats each won twice, and the basketball squad got a win on the road.
So, it was a bit tough to choose just one athlete in several sports. But here are the Magis Athletes of the Week, brought to you by the Carfagna Magis Athletic Center.
Basketball – Danny Nunez '20
Entering the fourth quarter, the Basketball Cats found themselves trailing against Rhodes by 13 points. The Wildcats needed someone to step up.
Danny Nunez was just the hero the Wildcats needed.
Late in the fourth quarter, after a missed free throw, Nunez grabbed the offensive rebound. In clutch fashion, Nunez drained a 3-pointer from the wing to knot the game at 62-62.
The late trey was only part of Nunez's 10-point game on Saturday. Earlier in the game, Nunez hit two other 3-pointers to keep the Wildcats in the game.
And on Friday, Nunez drained another important three, helping the Wildcats roll past Erie Cathedral Prep.
The Saint Ignatius basketball program will celebrate Nunez and the team's other seniors on Saturday evening before the regular-season finale vs. Toledo Saint John's Jesuit.
Bowling – Ben Gehrlein '21
If you've ever been bowling, you may have a signature celebration. If you've ever watched bowling, you probably know that most bowlers show plenty of emotion after a strike, be it a fist pump or the Shooter McGavin or a loud yelp.
Ben Gehrlein's celebration is much more muted. The junior simply runs his hand through his air and silently gives a couple fist bumps to his teammates. Gehrlein did plenty of quiet celebrating on Friday, and that's part of the reason why the Wildcats are advancing to the District Tournament.
Head coach Jim Viets stressed starting strong to his team. The Wildcats needed a 175 average for each individual game. Well, Gehrlein did much better than that.
The junior opened with an exceptional game of 243, knocking down the pins in relentless fashion. His score led the Wildcats in Game 1, with his four strikes in a row providing a big highlight.
Gehrlein took a step back in Game 2 with a 179, but it was still better than the goal set by Viets before the day started. At one point, Gehrlein topped three strikes in a row.
The Shaker Heights native completed his third individual game with a bang. Cool as the other side of the pillow, Gehrlein opened the game with four straight strikes. His hot start set the tone for the Wildcats, spurring the squad onto a great game.
For the day, Gehrlein finished with a 646 series, helping the Clevelanders punch a ticket to Saturday's District Tournament.
Hockey – Aidan McLaughlin '21
In a weekend back-to-back to Toledo, Aidan McLaughlin got the nod in the Saturday morning affair vs. Toledo Saint John's Jesuit.
McLaughlin did not throw away his shot.
The junior starred in net for the Wildcats. McLaughlin helped the Wildcats roll to a big victory over the Titans on the road at Tam-O-Shanter Arena. The Kirtland native turned away all but one shot in an 8-1 victory over the Titans.
Of McLaughlin, SIBN broadcaster Jack O'Rourke '20 said:
"He's a hard worker, he is incredibly fundamentally sound. Always does what is asked of him and does it with a smile."
Swimming & Diving – John Soeder '20
The Wildcats racked up plenty of points at Bowling Green State University on Saturday, enough to dethrone the 11-time defending champs from Toledo St. Francis. The Aqua Cats might not have been able to achieve the feat without John Soeder.
The senior qualified in four events for the Aqua Cats. His evening started off with an impressive split of 20.94 in the 200 medley relay, helping Saint Ignatius win first place with a time of 1:33.17. And oh yeah, that time is a new District record.
Despite helping to set the new mark in the 200 medley relay, Soeder's brightest moment may have come in the 50 free, his second event at Districts. The Mentor native found himself pitted against St. Edward's Kyle Gluck in the event. Gluck is a speedster and entered as the favorite after winning the race at the Sectional Meet. Soeder played spolier and upset his Eagle foe, besting him by .06 seconds to win the event with a time of 20.98. Soeder dropped 0.66 seconds off his time in doing so.
Soeder didn't win the battle in the 100 free, but he did still earn a place at the State Meet in the event. The senior shaved 1.80 seconds off his time to snatch second with a time of 46.49.
Soeder finished off his day with another good relay performance, this time in the 200 free. The speedster raced even faster, for a time of 20.62, anchoring the Wildcats to a second-place finish and a berth in the State Meet.
Yes, you'll be seeing a lot of John at CT Branin Natatorium this weekend.
Wrestling – Jack Bush '21
All season long, Jack Bush has quietly worked hard and done his job. It's time for him to receive his hard-earned recognition.
Bush played an essential role in the Wildcats' two wins on Valentine's Day. The resilient junior wrestled up a weight at 132 pounds, and still earned a pair of W's.
Bush's first battle occurred against a foe from North Ridgeville. The opening period proved to be a war of wills, with Bush narrowly holding a 4-2 lead after the first. The North Olmsted native made his move in the second period, breaking out for an escape and then a takedown. Bush then earned a nearfall, taking an 11-3 advantage into the third. In the final period, Bush sealed the victory with a takedown, setting the final margin at 12-3.
Against Cuyahoga Heights, Bush overcame a tough opponent in his second contest of the day. In impressive fashion, Bush secured a victory via pin for six clutch points for the Wildcats. Thanks in part to Bush's win, the Cats ran away with the match.