Last weekend was quite eventful for the Wildcats.
While it may not feel like it, the winter sports season is nearly at an end. The Wildcats' bowling and swimming & diving squads concluded successful seasons on Saturday. That leaves three winter sports remaining.
The playoffs are well underway for the Ice Cats and begin for the Basketball Cats and Mat Cats on Saturday. So all performances from here on out can be labeled as clutch.
So, here we go with the Magis Athletes of the Week, presented by the Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center:
Basketball – Henry Raynor '21
All season, the Wildcats have relied on Henry Raynor to provide scoring down low. Raynor has consistently delivered.
Raynor provided key contributions down low for the Wildcats on Saturday. In the regular-season finale, Raynor anchored the Clevelanders in the post against Toledo Saint John's Jesuit.
Facing off against some solid Titans, Raynor converted on a pair of 2-pointers and 3 free throws to total 7 points. And just as importantly, the 6'7" beast grabbed a number of rebounds. Raynor hauled down 3 offensive rebounds and 7 defensive boards for a total of 10. The Lakewood native also chipped in 2 assists and 2 blocks to anchor the Wildcats. On the year, Raynor is leading the team with 14.8 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game.
Raynor will be critical for the men of Ohio City in the playoffs, which begin with the Sectional Final in Sullivan Gym on Saturday.
Bowling – Sean Ward '21
In the spotlight shared with some of the best bowlers in Northeast Ohio, some bowlers might shrink from the challenge.
Not Sean Ward.
The junior thrived in the limelight on Saturday at the District Tournament. "The Warden" knocked down the pins with authority at Stonehenge Lanes, smiling all the way. Entering as a sub in Game 1, Ward promptly caught fire. In the 10th frame, Ward was perfect in throwing 3 strikes.
In the next two individual games, Ward stayed hot. The West Parker kept rolling strikes and picking up spares. And after each success, Ward pumped his fist. A couple of times, he even broke out a Pete Weber "Who do you think you are, I am!" celebration. It was a joy to watch Ward bowl.
Unfortunately, the season is over, but you'll see Ward in the alley next season.
Hockey – Josh Maciu '20
All season, Josh Maciu bid his time, waiting for his moment.
Given his chance on Saturday, Maciu did not miss his opportunity.
Maciu joined the Wildcats as a manager before the start of the season. He did so with a promise from Coach Pat O'Rourke '90, vowing to allow Josh to play in one game. That game came on Saturday.
Against Avon on Saturday, Maciu laced his skates and joined the boys on the ice. He played like a bowling ball, tallying 6 hits for the Wildcats. And he even got on the scoresheet. The Clevelander tallied an assist on a Wildcats' goal in an 8-0 win.
Beyond his hockey prowess on Saturday, Maciu has been a loyal manager all season long. Maciu deserves plenty of praise for his hard work and dedication to the Wildcats.
Swimming & Diving – Tyler Hong '21
Winning an individual state championship in swimming is one of the hardest feats there is, particularly for a Northeast Ohio native. Cincinnati dominates the Ohio swimming scene, often breaking state and pool records at the State Meet.
That was the case at CT Branin Natatorium on Saturday, but Tyler Hong broke the drought for Cleveland. Hong became the first Northeast Ohio native since 2018 to win a state title.
Hong achieved the feat in the 200 individual medley. The junior entered the race as the underdog, but showcased his incredible athleticism in shaving 1.35 seconds off of his prelim time from the previous time. Hong clocked in at 1:47.26 seconds, a school record and gold-medal winning time.
Hong also helped the 200 medley relay team finish 2nd, along with Zach Toothman, Brian Johnson, and John Soeder, with a time of 1:31.45. Hong later snagged third in the 100 backstroke, and helped the 200 free relay squad (along with Joe Richmond, Micah Murtha, and Kian Carmichael) achieve sixth.
Hong is not one to hog the spotlight, the Hong's are family that prefer to shine quietly under the radar. But Hong deserves his time in the limelight. He's an incredibly talented Wildcat who is also very humble and kind to his competitors and teammates. Look for him in a few weeks at the Canadian Olympic Time Trials.
Wrestling – Evan Arko '20
All season, Evan Arko has labored and toiled for the Wildcats with a quiet humbleness and positive attitude. It's time the senior saw his time in the spotlight.
Arko achieved a huge win on Senior Night on Friday evening. Facing a very tough foe at 152 pounds, Arko stepped into the ring.
In what turned out to be a wild match, Arko emerged victorious. The Bay Village native initially started out behind, allowing an early takedown. But he returned with a vengeance, tallying a nearfall after almost pinning his opponent late in the first period. The second period saw Arko open with a reversal and a nearfall, but then got reversed. Arko responded with a reversal and a nearfall, launching into an 11-4 lead.
But his foe fought back and nearly pinned Arko at the end of the second. Arko managed to survive to fight another day, and fight he did. The senior exposed an opening in his opponent's defenses and pinned his foe for a huge victory.
As his coaches have noted, Arko has worked very hard all season long and deserves this honor.
Arko and the Wildcats begin the postseason with the Sectional Tournament on Saturday at 10 am at St. Edward High School.