Prior to Thursday night’s Varsity wrestling match between Saint Ignatius and St. Edward, the Eagles’ Head Coach John Heffernan praised Wildcat Head Coach Mark Sullivan and what he’s done for the legendary rivalry. He said, “I remember as a kid watching Coach Sullivan wrestle and play football for Lake Catholic, I watched him play football at Ohio State and wrestle at John Carroll, so he obviously raises the competitiveness, and it's just fun competing against him.”
Saint Ignatius Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick ‘88 also praised the Eagle wrestling program, which according to MaxPreps ranks in the top 50 nationally for all-time state champions. He said, “Ohio has been one of the best states. In the United States for all of high school sports to have one of your rivals to be one of the top 50 in the country for overall state championships, it’s just remarkable.”
With such a strong rival just a few miles way, however, Coach Sullivan’s program has still produced 28 state placers, 6 state champions and one national champ.
“We’ve had some great wrestlers come through Saint Ignatius,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach Sullivan has done a great job of finding those guys and getting them here. I can remember watching those guys and watching them grow through the program. I think Dave Habat is still competing internationally and with George DiCamillo and some other tremendous guys, some still competing in college. It’s been wonderful seeing those guys develop through the program, and yes, it is quite a feat with such a program right down the street.”
The Wildcat wrestlers took on the rival St. Edward Eagles Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at home.
The famed Wildcat-Eagle rivalry began at 106 pounds, with Murphy Gym nearly at the maximum capacity allowed by COVID-19 rules.
The 106 pound match-up saw Landen Knight take the mat to start the night for the Cats. Knight put up his best fight, but surrendered an early takedown followed by two near-fall points before being pinned in :31.
Next up for the Cats at 113 was senior Grayson McLellan. McLellan was spectacular. The match started off with McLellan surrendering a takedown early, before earning a reversal. His opponent escaped, but McLellan earned a takedown as the first period expired. In the second period, the action slowed, with McLellan earning only an escape. In the third, McLellan’s opponent earned an escape point before being awarded a penalty point for McLellan’s stalling. However, McLellan capitalized in sudden victory, earning a quick takedown bringing everyone to their feet and winning the match 7-5.
Junior Joey Novak took the mat next for the Cats against the Eagles. Novak battled well but lost the match via tech fall.
Ryan “Animal” Putka wrestled next for the Cats at 126. He was taken down early before escaping, but soon was taken down again and pinned in 1:40.
Senior Captain Anthony Santagata put up his best fight at 132, but fell to the same fate as Novak, being tech falled in the third period.
At 138, Leo Pfahl gallantly filled in for Senior Jack Bush who was out with injury. Pfahl gave it his all, but was pinned in 1:40.
Senior Calum Campolieti was next for the Cats at 145. After a tame first period with no scoring, Campolieti surrendered a reversal in the second. Down 2-0 going into the third period, Campolieti erupted in the third with a reversal followed by 3 near fall points to win the match for the Cats via a score of 5-2.
Next up for the Cats was junior Sam Infante at 152. Infante surrendered a takedown and 5 near fall points in the first, and a reversal at the start of the second before being pinned in 3:28.
Wrestling for the Cats at 160 against the Eagles was first-year wrestler Mazen Sarkis, filling in for Jarrell Young. The inexperience worked against Sarkis in this match, as he was pinned quickly.
Due to injury/COVID-19, the Cats forfeited 170 and 182 to the Eagles.
At 195 Patrick Clink stepped out onto the mat for the Cats. Clink gave up two takedowns to his opponent in the first period, escaping once. In the second, Clink started with an escape before being taken down and pinned in 3:42.
Sophomore Cayden Periandri was next for the Cats at 220. After an early takedown in favor of the Eagles, Periandri fell victim to a pin in 1:24.
Senior Captain Carter Zimmerman finished the night off for the Cats at 285. After two periods of little action, the Wildcat-Eagle pair entered the third locked at 0. Zimmerman surrendered an escape early in the third, before being taken down and pinned in 5:00.
The Wildcats dropped a tough one here by losing 12 matches to 2, dropping their record to 4-1 on the year.
On the JV side, Victor Vysotskiy, Mason Smart, Angelo Camargo, Cayden Basinski, and Mazen Sarkis picked up victories for the Cats.
The Cats will look to get back on track Wednesday, December 30, in the Wildcat duals, as they will host Norwayne, Canfield, Berkshire, Bay Village, and Newark. Those matches will be streamed live from home, so be sure to tune into the SIBN to watch. Go Cats!