The season came to a close for two winter sports squads while the spring sports season continued to rev into gear with the rugby squad. It was a busy week for the Wildcats.
This upcoming weekend marks the end of crossover season, with the conclusion of the wrestling and hockey state tournaments. But spring sports are in full view – lacrosse begins on March 21; volleyball starts on March 24; baseball, crew, and track & field launch into the season on March 28, and tennis opens on March 30.
With that in mind, let's meet this week's Magis Athletes, presented by the Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center.
Basketball – Chase Toppin '20
A special four-year career came to a conclusion inside Lakewood High School's gym on Thursday.
Chase Toppin, a four-year member of the varsity basketball team, played his final game in a Saint Ignatius uniform. Despite his best efforts, the Wildcats fell to the Rhodes Rams in overtime, 50-48.
Looking back on his four years, Toppin accomplished a lot. The primary point guard during much of that span, Toppin dished countless assists to his teammates. The Cleveland Heights native also showcased incredible skill for driving to the hoop and scoring in bunches. Few defenders could stop him once he decided to attack the rim.
Toppin played a large role for the Wildcats all season, and did so especially on Thursday. The veteran notched 8 points, including two clutch free throws to give the Wildcats back the lead in the fourth quarter. Just as importantly, Toppin tallied 4 assists, playing the role of the distributor. He also added a pair of steals and a rebound.
Next season, Toppin will be missed. If any college program is in need of an athletic, smart 6'2, 175-pound guard, Toppin could be the perfect match. Toppin could be an impact player at the next level. In the meantime, as Coach Cam Joyce said on Sunday, thank you to Chase and the senior class.
Hockey – Aidan Conway '21
For the past three seasons, Aidan Conway has been a star player for the Wildcats. An athletic and hard-hitting defender, Conway can deflect any offensive rush or opportunity that comes his way.
Conway can also contribute offensively, as he demonstrated in Saturday's dominant 9-0 win over the St. Edward Eagles.
The junior, affectionately known as "LBJ" by his teammates, ripped home a beauty of a goal at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center in front of thrilled Wildcats fans. Standing alone at the point, Conway honed in on the net with singular purpose. The proud Irishman fired a picture-perfect goal past the St. Edward netminder early in the second period.
Conway's ripper set the score at 4-0 and began a 5-goal onslaught of a second period. By the end of the stanza, the running clock was in place with the Wildcats ahead 9-0.
Conway will play an important role this weekend. The captain and the rest of the Cats will do battle with Gilmour Academy on Saturday at noon in the State Semifinal at Nationwide Arena. Look for Conway to be on the top of his game on the blue line.
Rugby – Josh Maciu '20
You don't often have one student-athlete achieve Magis Athlete of the Week in multiple sports, let alone within the span of a month. But Josh Maciu is a special kid.
The senior has enjoyed a whale of a month. The fun began with a great effort for the Ice Cats earlier in the playoffs, when the manager donned the blue and gold and excelled. Maciu tabbed several hits and got on the scoresheet with an assist.
This weekend, Maciu contributed plenty for the Rugby Cats. The Clevelander reached the try zone on two impressive efforts.
Maciu helped the Wildcats cement a lopsided victory over Avon Lake on Sunday. His first try occurred soon after the start of the second half, as Maciu took advantage of a poor kickoff. Maciu raced down the middle of the field like a freight train, not slowing down until he reached the try zone.
Maciu's second try occurred on a cheeky play after a ruck. Maciu saw an opportunity against one of Avon Lake's smaller players and took advantage, roaring past him near the sideline and into the try zone for a nice five points.
This weekend, Maciu will serve in his role as hockey manager before heading over to the rugby game at Dublin Jerome vs. Fishers.
Wrestling – Johnny Novak '20
Wrestling season is over for all but one Wildcat – Johnny Novak.
The senior snagged fifth at the District Tournament on Saturday to earn a berth to Columbus as a state alternate.
Novak began the tourney on a great note. The Clevelander started things off with a 15-0 victory in the opener, a win by tech fall. But his journey hit a speedbump in the quarterfinals, as Novak experienced a 3-0 defeat. The Wildcats' 113-pounder did not break under the pressure in his consolation opener, winning a major decision, 11-2, to survive and advance.
In the next round, Novak suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in a battle for an automatic bid to Columbus. So, Novak found himself in a duel for fifth place and the state alternate spot. Novak left no doubt, pinning his opponent at the 3:53 mark to punch his ticket.
So on Friday, Novak will make the trip to Columbus. If a grappler in the bracket fails to make weight or does not pass the skin check, Novak will be in the tournament. If not, then his year is over. Either way, Novak has plenty to be proud of. His four-year career has been a great one.