10 Ignatius athletes trekked to Geneva for the 2021 OATCCC D1 Indoor Finale on Saturday, March 6. Race times were in their usual indoor, late in the afternoon spots, allowing nerves to build up all day for this year’s version of an indoor state championship.
The first track event for the Wildcats was the 4x800m. The relay team kept the same order as the previous (and only) outing with the following runners:
Monroe hoped to hand-off in the lead or close to it. Mayer and Maloney wanted to hold onto their spots as other teams mixed around their order of runners. Fitzpatrick, of course, wanted to be in the lead but recognized the probability that he would get to chase down several runners from other teams and hopefully finish top five.
Monroe took the early lead until 300m and came through 400 meters boxed into the inside in fourth place in 58.6 seconds. Being stuck on the inside, Monroe fell back as far as sixth place before rallying with 100m to go. He found a gap (called running in lane three around the curve) and passing runners on the outside and handing off in second place behind Hoover after a 61.2-second split, running a total of 1:59.8 seconds, the first and only indoor sub-two split of the year for any Wildcat runner!
Mayer held onto second place for as long as he could despite shoulder pressure from Lakota West and Hilliard Davidson, coming through 400m in an impressive 55.4 seconds. Davidson and Lakota made the pass along with Mason as Mayer split 66.4 for his second 400m, still running an impressive 2:01.8 and passing Davidson right before the second exchange.
Maloney took over in fourth and battled with RJ Sagrilla of Davidson for 500 meters straight. As Lakota West and Hoover quickly pulled away from Mason in third and the rest of the field, Maloney pulled away from Sagrilla and split 57.0 for his first 400m, followed by a 64.1 second 400m for a 2:01.1 total 800m. Maloney caught Mason with 50m to go in his leg and handed the baton to Fitzpatrick for the anchor in third.
Lakota and Hoover had a great battle for the win, with Lakota running the US #1 7:50.06, an astonishing average of 1:57.51 per runner, and beating IMG Academy’s mark. Fitzpatrick battled with runners from Davidson, Mason, St. Edward’s, and St. Xavier and was able to beat all but Connor Ackley, the best sophomore in the state, and finish fourth overall, the same place as the cross country team’s fall state championship performance. Fitzpatrick’s sensible splits of 59.5 and 61.1 got the job done in the 4x8.
The team was happy with their finish but certainly not completely satisfied without the state title, even if they were competing with the country’s best team. The senior squad looks poised to improve outdoors and hopes to chase the fastest Saint Ignatius mark of the last decade of 7:39.23 set by the 2016 state champion team.
Next, in the 4x200m relay were the following runners:
The runners got stuck in the outside lane eight of heat one. Kennedy and Hille ran a pair of 25-second splits. Pike ran 23.5, and Abiakle closed in 22.7. The young squad held their own very well, including a fantastic final leg by Abiakl to finish a seventh in their heat, good for 20th overall in the state in a near-season’s best of 1:37.49.
Matt Kelly ran the 3200 meters and wanted to set a personal best and maybe finish in the top 10. Kelly did not think that the race would be tactical and slow for the first half before getting real quick in the second half. The first half went according to plan, splitting 69, 71, 71, 71 for 4:42. Kelly needed a 4:47 second mile to break 9:30. Unfortunately, Kelly ran 73, 73, and 74 for the next 1200m, putting him at 7:22 for 2800m and needing a 67 second 400m to break 9:30. Kelly finished in 9:32.32 for a 13-second pr and 12th overall and was pumped. Like his teammates, Kelly is excited to train outdoor and get back to racing alongside Sean Uhran, without whom racing is just significantly less fun.
Nick Velotta was the only field event participant for the Wildcats. For his first time at a state championship, the senior competed in shot put. A personal best 43-4.75! On top of a great pr, Velotta earned 18th place in the state!
In just three weeks from Saturday, the Cats are scheduled to be in action outdoors at the Strongsville Invitational. Until then, runners will take advantage of the time without races to put in hard work.