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Mat Cats Qualify Ten for The District Tournament With Four Champions at Sectionals

By Tim Putka '22, 03/05/21, 10:15AM EST


The Mat Cats placed second at Sectionals, many wreslters will advance to Districts.

After a season full of setbacks, postponements, and bizarreness, the 2020-2021 Saint Ignatius Wrestling team finally got the chance to prove themselves on the big stage as the post-season got last Saturday (2/27) underway.

The sectional tournament was held at Strongsville High School, the Mustangs' home (not the Stallions as I've come to learn). The sectional was split and saw weight classes 106-145 begin wrestling at 9 a.m., and weight classes 152-285 begin wrestling at 4 p.m.

This was the first tournament-style bout the Cats experienced all year, going head to head with Olmsted Falls, Bedford, Valley Forge, Garfield Heights, Shaker Heights, Strongsville, Brunswick, and North Royalton.

The lightweights started the tournament off strong for the Cats, qualifying 6 to the district tournament with one alternate.

Sophomore Mac Wright, at 106, in his first-ever wrestling tournament, gave it his all to qualify. After a first-round bye, Wright dropped his first match, a semi-final match, by tech fall to the eventual champion from Strongsville. In his second match, a placement match for third and fourth place, Wright fell victim to a tech fall against a North Royalton opponent. Nevertheless, with quite a lucky draw, Wright was still able to take fourth and earn himself a spot at the district tournament in Perrysburg.

Senior Grayson McLellan, at 113, looked to get down to Perrysburg with a high seed after having a strong start to the season. Like most of the lightweights, McLellan received a first-round bye to the semi-finals. In his semi-finals match, McLellan dominated his Strongsville opponent and earned a pin in a quick 1:17. Wrestling for first and second against a tough ranked North Royalton opponent, McLellan gave it his everything but fell via decision 9-6.

Joey Novak wrestled at Sectionals for the Cats at 120 and also had a first-round bye. Novak dominated in his semi-finals match against an opponent from Valley Forge, pinning his foe in 3:59. Novak's finals match was a close one, but he was able to secure a 3-1 victory against a formidable opponent from Brunswick and was crowned sectional champion.

At 126, Ryan Putka competed in a tough bracket. Putka was the only lightweight without a first-round bye and drew a formidable Olmsted Falls opponent. This match was a close one, but after three periods, the score rested at 5-4 in favor of Olmsted Falls, as Putka dropped his quarterfinals match via decision. Putka had another tough draw in his consolation semi-final match, wrestling a top-ranked opponent from Shaker Heights.
 After an exciting first period, Putka fell victim to pin in 2:38 and fell to the fifth and sixth place match. Putka finished a positive note as he let out his anger on his Brunswick opponent, earning an 11-2 major decision and a fifth-place finish.

Senior Captain Anthony Santagata earned the second sectional championship of the day for the Cats at 132 with little trouble. After a first-round bye, Santagata earned a decisive 13-7 victory over a Strongsville opponent. In the finals, a convincing 10-2 major decision against a North Royalton cruising on his way to become the second champion of the day.

The dominant Jack Bush, a senior, proved to have the best day for the Cats. Bush was on the mat for a combined 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the day in a final commanding tournament. After a first-round bye, Bush earned a pin in just 37 seconds in the semi-finals over a Shaker Heights opponent, and in his finals match, notched a pin in just 1:43 on his way to becoming the third sectional champion of the day for the Cats.

Calum Campoletti rounded out the day for the lightweights at 145. After a first-round bye, Campoletti earned a pin in 2:49 to advance to the finals. In a rematch of last week, Campoletti was pitted against a tough-ranked opponent from Strongsville. This contest went opposite from what happened last week, as Campoletti dropped the match via tech fall. Nevertheless, Campoletti qualified for the district tournament, with him placing 2nd.

After a break to clear the gym, the heavyweights began wrestling at 4 p.m.

Junior Sam Infante, unlike many of the lightweights, had a first-round match at 152. Infante started the day strong in this match against a Strongsville opponent, earning a 3:19 pin. In his semi-final match against a Shaker Heights opponent, Infante was overmatched, as, in the second period, he fell victim to a pin. This dropped Infante to the consolation semi-finals, were against a foe from Garfield Heights, he got back on track with a 31-second pin, advancing him to the third and fourth place match. Here, Infante finished off strong, with a close match against a North Royalton opponent. Infante was able to pull through in this match with a 6-4 decision, qualifying him for districts with a 3rd place finish.

In his first-ever post-season wrestling tournament,
Sophomore Victor Vysotskiy was the Cats 160 pounder in the sectional tournament. As a second-year wrestler, Victor's inexperience hurt him at Strongsville, as he dropped his first-round match and his consolation semi-final matches by a tech fall and a pin. Vysotskiy did pick up a pin in the consolation quarterfinals, but after two losses, he dropped to the fifth and sixth place match, where he succumbed to a pin and finished in 6th place.

Sophomore, Jarell Young, was another bright spot for the Cats at 170. Jarell cruised his way to the finals with little trouble, earning a pin in the quarterfinals in 2:51 and a decision win via a score of 4-0 in the semi-finals. The championship match would prove to be a challenge for Jarell, but he was able to secure a tight 3-2 decision win over a formidable Brunswick opponent to become the Cats fourth champion of the day.

Mason Smart filled the roster for the Cats at 182 and received a first-round bye. In his semi-final match, Smart was bested by a Garfield Heights opponent, as he succumbed to a pin. Dropping to the consolation semi-finals, Smart persevered, earning a 3:21 pin in his first match, and in his third and fourth place match, finished strong as he earned a 10-1 major decision on his way to a 3rd place finish and a spot at districts.

Patrick Clink wrestled at Strongsville for the Cats at 195, with the tournament's first full bracket. Clink started slowly in his quarterfinals match and succumbed to a pin in the third period, dropping him to the consolation quarterfinals. Like Smart, Clink battled back in his next two matches, earning a pin in his first consolation match and a 3-2 decision in his second consolation match, advancing him to the third and fourth place match. Here, Clink warred against his Olmsted Falls opponent, but in the end, dropped a challenging match 5-4. In the end, Clink finished fourth and earned a spot at districts.

Cayden Periandri was the 220 pounder for the Cats at Sectionals. In his first match, a quarterfinals match, he dropped a close bout 2-1 against a North Royalton big. Periandri was again bested in a tight contest in the consolation semi-finals by 5-3. In his fifth and sixth place match, Periandri wrestled hard but once again fell to the North Royalton wrestler by a score of 8-2, finishing in sixth place.

Senior Carter Zimmerman suited up for the Cats at sectionals just weeks after dislocating his elbow, showing true resilience. Zimmerman started strong, pinning his quarterfinal opponent in 2:20. In the semi-finals, Zimmerman dropped a tough one by a pin, dropping him to the consolation semi-finals. Here, Zimmerman lost a heartbreaker, 4-3, dropping him to the fifth and sixth place match. Zimmerman went out on a positive note, showing off his determination with a pin in just 23 seconds, as he finished in fifth place.

To recap, the Cats will send ten wrestlers to the district tournament, with four placing first (Bush, Young, Santagata, and Novak), two placing second (McLellan and Campoletti), two placing 3rd (Infante and Smart), and two placing 4th (Wright and Clink).

As a whole, the Cats did very well as a team at the sectional tournament, coming in 2nd overall in team points.

The Cats will head to Perrysburg this weekend for the district tournament for a two-day contest. Wrestling will begin with 106-145 at noon on Saturday, as the first two rounds of both championship and consolation matches will be wrestled. The upper weights will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the same format. On Saturday, those not yet eliminated will fight for a chance to go to the state tournament, with wrestling beginning at 9 a.m. Good luck to the ten men who made it through to this weekend, and Go Cats!