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The Mat Cats Qualify One for the State Tournament and One District Placer

By Tim Putka '22, 03/08/21, 10:15AM EST


Jarell Young is the first state qualifier since 2019 for the Mat Cats.

After successfully qualifying ten wrestlers to the district tournament in Perrysburg, the MatCats headed to the match and looked to punch their tickets to the state tournament.

The district tournament was two days, with two championship rounds and two consolation rounds on the first day, and the rest of wrestling, including placement matches, on the second. Like sectionals, sessions were again split, with the 106-145 weight class beginning at noon on Friday and the 152-285 weight class beginning at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the 106-145 weight class started at 9 a.m., with the 152-285 weight class beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Sophomore Mac Wright, in his first year of wrestling, gave it his all at 106. Mac dropped a tough first match via pin against a top-seeded opponent going into the tournament inexperienced. In a true show of resilience, Wright was able to pick up a win in his first-round consolation match via decision 9-8. Once again, in his next match, Wright suffered from inexperience and dropped it via pin, eliminating him from the tournament.

After a second-place finish at sectionals last week, senior Grayson McLellan came into the district tournament with high hopes but barely fell short. McLellan picked up a major decision to win 12-3 in his first-round bout before meeting his match in the quarter-finals, as he dropped the quarter-final match 14-4. McLellan showed true grit after falling to the consolation bracket, earning two wins via decision, 7-0 and 5-4, to put him into the blood round (the consolation semi-finals). Here, McLellan fell just short against a formidable matched opponent, dropping a heartbreaking match 5-2. This placed McLellan in position for the fifth and sixth place match, where McLellan surrendered a late pin after a long close battle. With that, McLellan completed the district tournament with a sixth-place finish.

Junior Joey Novak, a sectional champion last week at 120, started his district tournament off well, earning a pin in just 1:25 in his first-round match. Despite this, Novak caught a tough draw, dropping his next match via a score of 10-4 and again dropping his second-round consolation match via pin in 1:44, thus eliminating Novak from the tournament.

Like Novak, senior captain Anthony Santagata came into the district tournament with a top seed at 132. In his first-round match, Santagata got rolling with a 13-5 major decision win. However, in his quarter-final match, Santagata was caught and surrendered a pin, dropping him to the second round of consolations. Here, Santagata stayed alive, securing a tight 13-9 win. At the start of day two, Santagata met his match, as he suffered a 7-0 loss, eliminating him from the tournament.

At 138, Jack Bush came in as top seed after winning the sectional last week. In his first-round match, Bush started slow and dropped a close one 5-4. Falling to the first round of consolations, Bush got caught in a winnable match and was pinned, eliminating him from the tournament.

Senior Calum Campolieti gave it his all at 145 in a tough bracket after a second-place finish at sectionals last week. In his first-round match, Campolietti wrestled hard, earning a 6-4 win and advancing him to the quarter-finals match. After meeting the top seed in the quarter-finals, Campolieti was pinned and dropped to the second round of consolations. Here, Campolieti was overmatched and dropped this match 12-1, eliminating him from the tournament.

At 152, junior Sam Infante suffered the same fate as many of the lighter weights before him. After starting well with an 8-4 first-round victory, Infante dropped his quarter-finals match via pin. In the second round of consolations, he dropped another via pin, eliminating him from the tournament.

Sophomore Jarell Young was the focal point of the district tournament for the Cats, becoming the first state qualifier for the Cats since Johnny Novak, D.J. Huff, and Matthew Whipkey all qualified for the big tournament in 2019. Young, a top seed after winning his 170 weight class last week, started strong with a 15-2 major decision in the first round. Young suffered a bad loss in the quarter-finals via decision 10-4, dropping him to the second round of consolations. Despite the odds being against him, Jarell was the epitome of determination in these consolation rounds. Young rattled off two wins in a row, one via pin in 2:09 and one via 11-3 major decision, putting him into the infamous blood round. Here, in the consolation semi-final, Young had a great match, knocking off another top-seeded wrestler via a decision victory 5-1 to put him in the third and fourth place match and officially punch his ticket to the state tournament. After qualifying, Young was not finished, avenging his early loss against the same opponent, earning a 4-2 win in overtime as he finished third in the district tournament.

At 182, Mason Smart looked to make some noise but was unable to do so, as he dropped both matches via pin and was eliminated from the tournament.

Patrick Clink fell to a fate similar to Smart’s at 195, as he dropped both of his matches via pin and was eliminated from the tournament.

To recap, Jarell Young became the Cats’ first state qualifier since 2019 with a third-place finish at 170, and Grayson McLellan placed sixth at 113.

As Friday and Saturday saw the seasons of all but one Saint Ignatius wrestler come to an end, I see this as an opportunity as a captain of the team to congratulate all of the guys on a great season. You all had so many outstanding accomplishments this season and never stopped fighting, even in the most peculiar year of all of our lives. Seniors, I will miss you guys and all of the laughs and great things you bring to the team. I wish you guys the best of luck with whatever you’re deciding on doing for the next couple of years.

170 pounder Jarell Young will travel to Hilliard Darby High School this week to compete at the state tournament and look to become the next state placer for the Cats since Johnny Novak’s 7th place finish in 2019. Information about the state tournament schedule will be posted on Twitter as soon as it is released. Thank you all for a great wrestling season, and thank you for reading my recaps this year, and good luck to Jarell “Jarellecy” Young this week at the state tournament! Bring a placement home Jarell and Go Cats!