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Fitness Competition Keeping Alumni Mat Cats Active and Connected

By Joe Ginley '12 , 04/04/20, 1:15PM EDT


Patrick McGraw '19 is making a run at the title.

While you're relaxing on your couch this weekend, numerous members of the Saint Ignatius wrestling program are working out. 

Two weeks ago, the Wildcats' head coach, Mark Sullivan, hatched an idea. Why not get his wrestlers moving? 

So, Sullivan announced a 100 mile 10,000 sit-up 5,000 push-up challenge. The prize for the first person to achieve the feat? A nice sum of "$500 old-time atta boy bucks," along with some free gear. 

"Coach Sullivan thought it would be a good idea to start the competition, since gyms are closed and we can't do open mats, to try and get our wrestlers up and moving while also being safe and observing state guidelines," said Associate Head Coach Jon Polick '03. "It's an opportunity to get off of social media and Netflix and be productive."

In the two weeks since the call to action, about 20 Wildcats have joined the fun. Some of the grapplers are current Cats, while many others are alumni. 

Through two weeks, three Saint Ignatius alumni are leading the charge – Coach Polick, DJ Huff '19, and Patrick McGraw '19. Polick tops all competitors with 48.40 miles and 4,500 sit-ups, while Huff stands above all else in push-ups with 4,275. 

Now a freshman at Northwestern University, Huff calls it a fun way to stay in shape and log his workouts.

"It’s nothing that I wasn’t doing before," Huff said. "I’ve been doing all those exercises every day for a while now so it was just a matter of keeping track of how much of them I was doing over an extended period of time."

The competition with his fellow grapplers is also an added bonus.

Huff is close with McGraw, a freshman at John Carroll University, as the two spent countless hours together on the mats and in the classroom at Saint Ignatius.  

"A little competition can never hurt. I actually wasn’t planning on doing it until Patrick tagged me on Twitter," Huff said. "I think having this little competition is going to make both of us push ourselves to stay in shape over this period, and ultimately help us to be the best athletes we can be. With Patrick coming off a great freshman year at JCU with a little bit of a disappointing finish, I know he’s dying to get better. So the competition is going to do nothing but help and it’s giving us something to occupy our time while social distancing."

So, who's going to win?

As we approach approximately the halfway point of the contest, Polick looks to be in good shape in miles and push-ups. But Huff and McGraw do have youth on their side.

"I think DJ will win it," Sullivan predicted. "Marathon Man Polick lost all of his strength for push-ups." 

The former Vice President of the Student Senate and Salutatorian is a formidable foe. But don't count out Polick – he's a machine and in great shape. If you're interested in challenging him, email results to The leaderboard is posted weekly on Thursdays at 8 pm on Twitter. The winner will be announced on Twitter, as well as on 

Regardless of the winner, it's all in good fun, a great way to stay in shape and bond together from afar. What's more Ignatian than a little competition and brotherhood?