On May 17, Saint Ignatius High School celebrated 21 student-athletes taking the next step in their athletic careers. Each of these men has put in a tremendous amount of work to get to where they are today, heading to the next level. Let’s meet the Wildcats who signed their letter of intent to become student-athletes at the next level. 21 student-athletes were heading to 17 universities/colleges and eight sports represented for Spring Signing Day by the numbers.
Devar Anderson - California University of Pennsylvania (Soccer)
Devar Anderson played the dual role on the 2020 National Championship Soccer Cats as he was an excellent attacker and an even better defender for the coach Mike McLaughlin ’85.
Coach McLaughlin mentions a memory he’ll have of Anderson is when he scored the game-winning goal against St. Xavier in 2020. Anderson played with great focus and energy and brought that same mindset to practices and training that helped the younger soccer Cats.
With that high energy and intense play from Anderson, there is an excellent fit for him at the next level at California University of Pennsylvania. Anderson has left his mark with the Saint Ignatius soccer program and his focus and will to win will help him reach even bigger heights at the college level.
Brian Bonifas- Marietta College (Rowing)
If there is one word that can describe Brian Bonifas, it is enthusiasm. Bonifas brings the energy every day at practice and races for Saint Ignatius Rowing. He is a responsible leader for the program, assisting the younger guys to reach new heights.
Bonifas was a Crew member for all four years at Saint Ignatius. In those four years, Bonifas was a part of a 2018 first-place finish at the Midwest Championship and a fifth-place finish at the National Championship. He was also a member of two second-place finishes at the Midwest Championships, an incredible feat for Saint Ignatius Rowing.
Bonifas is a runner-up for the Bob Valerian Leadership Award. Coach Connor Walters ’09 praises Bonifas’ leadership and never gets discouraged while keeping a positive atmosphere around his teammates.
Bonifas joins an up-and-coming Marietta Pioneers Rowing team in the fall. The program is ready to make some noise in the coming years, and Bonifas will be crucial for Marietta’s rise.
Noah Brazytis - Ohio Wesleyan University (Baseball)
They call third base the hot corner for a reason and Noah Brazytis has specialized in being a stand-out defensive infielder for the Baseball Cats in the 2021 spring season. Brazytis has been a four-year member of the Saint Ignatius baseball program while maintaining a 3.89 GPA.
Brazytis plays the game of baseball with a relaxed focus. His coaches and teammates notice the mindset he brings to the diamond day in and day out. Coach Ganor has noted Brazytis’s great character and the passion he brings to baseball, which has helped the team tremendously in his senior season.
Brazytis will become a Battling Bishop in the fall as he will continue his academic and baseball career at Ohio Wesleyan University. The Saint Ignatius baseball program is excited to see Brazytis do great things at the next level.
Andrew Chime - Butler University (Football)
The 6’0’ defensive back for Saint Ignatius will continue his academic and athletic career with the Butler Bulldogs. Andrew Chime will be playing college football at the Division I level as he joins the Big East Conference.
Chime is a three-year varsity letter award winner in football under legendary Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle ’69. Chime mentioned that he would miss running onto the field with his teammates at Byers Field before games.
Along with being a fierce competitor on the football field, Chime was a key piece for coach Mark Sullivan’s Mat Cats. Chime was a three-year varsity letter winner for wrestling. He was a State Sectional placer and a State District Wrestling qualifier.
Chime has an excellent future ahead of him on and off the field at Butler University. With the experiences of Saint Ignatius athletics, Chime will be a perfect fit for the Bulldogs.
Gip Conroy - Williams College (Baseball)
After losing the 2020 season due to the pandemic was a tough pill to swallow for all spring student-athletes, Gip Conroy stayed positive through the adversity. He became a leader as a captain for the Baseball Cats. Conroy all season long has brought the energy for the Wildcats.
Conroy has been a four-year member of the baseball program and a two-time varsity letter. While playing on the diamond, Conroy has been even more impressive academically. Conroy is a National Honor Society member and has achieved a 4.4 GPA. Conroy is the definition of what it means to be a student-athlete.
Conroy is a leader who leads by example, and the middle infielder has been an integral part of the 2021 Baseball Cats, who are currently seeking to repeat as state champions.
Williams College is a perfect fit for Conroy to continue his academic and athletic career. Conroy will play for the Ephs in Massacheustes come next spring and the Saint Ignatius community is excited to watch the success unfold for Conroy at the next level.
Aidan Conway - University of Cincinnati (Football)
Aidan Conway is the definition of a leader and is a man of character on and off the field at Wildcat High. Conway was named the Wirtz Athlete of the Year by his peers in 2021 because of his dedication to leadership with hockey and football and excellence with his academics.
Conway was a four-year letter award winner for the Saint Ignatius Hockey program and was a 2-time State Champion during his four-year career as a Wildcat under Head Hockey Coach Pat O’Rourke ’90. While on the hockey team, Conway was a two-time captain, two-time Defensive MVP and was the winner of the Fr. Styles Coaches Cup.
In the fall, Aidan was a member of the Saint Ignatius Football program, where he was a stand-out linebacker for the Wildcats. Aidan was named 3rd team All-Ohio in 2021 by the OHSAA for his outstanding play his senior year.
As coach O’Rourke says, “Aidan was One of the finest young men I’ve ever coached. Humble, hard-working, well-rounded and unfailingly polite.”
Conway will walk on at the University of Cincinnati to play Division I football next fall for the Bearcats. The leadership of Conway will be missed at Saint Ignatius.
Aidan Cooney - University of Rochester (Baseball)
After the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, Saint Ignatius baseball made its return in the 2021 season. Aidan Cooney worked his way into the rotation, being a dominant pitcher for the Wildcats.
Cooney has been a critical part of the 2021 season While maintaining a 4.38 GPA in the classroom. He has had success as a starter and a reliever out of the pen for Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor.
The 6’2’ right-handed hurler will be joining the University of Rochester in the fall. The Yellow Jackets are a top competitor in the University Athletic Association in Division III. Cooney will be an excellent addition to the Rochester baseball program.
Cooney will be missed at Wildcat High and noted his favorite memory while playing Saint Ignatius baseball was the walk-off win vs. St. Edward at Brookside Reservation in the 2021 regular season.
Nate Day - IUPUI (Tennis)
Since stepping on the tennis courts for Head Tennis Coach Bobbe Bennett and Saint Ignatius, there was a feeling that Nate Day would be a unique talent. Not only on the tennis courts but as a man for others on campus. That is why Day was a #34 Jim Skerl ’74 recipient his senior year.
Day was a varsity letter award winner for three years and although he lost his junior season to the pandemic, he came back even more vital for his senior year. In 2018, Day was an OHSAA State Doubles Qualifier and winning the Coaches Cup.
In 2019, he became an OHSAA State Singles Qualifier and was named MVP. The decorated Tennis Cat isn’t finished yet as he looks to add to his trophy case with Districts coming soon. To top it all off, Day has achieved a 4.1 GPA in the classroom.
Day notes his favorite memory was when he qualified for States his freshman year and took in that experience at such a young age.
From a Wildcat to a Jaguar, Day will be going to IUPUI next fall to major in business while continuing his tennis career. The leadership and talent of Day will be missed at Saint Ignatius, but the community is excited to see what Day does at the next level.
Jacob Eiermann - Washington and Jefferson College (Baseball)
The catcher position is one of the more difficult positions to learn while being one of the most important. Jacob Eiermann made that transition seem effortless as he has been a terrific player behind the dish for the Baseball Cats. Eiermann is a two-year letterman for the program, meanwhile being successful in the classroom with a 4.28 GPA.
When you can beat your rivals, it makes the sport that much more enjoyable; as Eiermann notes, his favorite memory with the team was the walk-off winner vs. St. Edward in his senior season.
As coach Ganor puts it, “he’s a true student of the game.” Eiermann is always motivated to learn a different position and do whatever it takes to help the team win. With his positive energy, Eiermann will succeed at the next level.
Eiermann joins current teammate Mcrey Socha at Washington and Jefferson next fall. The Presidents are an admirable force in Division III, and they have a solid student-athlete coming their way.
Owen Gerba - John Carroll University (Baseball)
Ultimate team player is what perfectly describes Owen Gerba. Gerba is the kind of player that will do whatever it takes to help his team win. Gerba is a southpaw pitcher with shades of Darren O’Day with his submarine style of pitching.
Gerba is also a Co-President of the SIBN. He was the voice of Wildcat Hockey in the winter and called Saint Ignatius football games in the fall.
In the spring, Gerba can be found on the mound, coming out of the pen for coach Ganor. For his senior season, Gerba was the #34 Jim Skerl ’74 recipient as he is a true man for others on and off the field, in and out of the broadcast booth.
The Jesuit experience will continue for Gerba in the fall as he will become a Blue Streak at John Carroll. Gerba’s positive attitude and man for others mentality will lead to great success for him at the next level at John Carroll.
Emmett Hanna - Boston College (Football)
Battling through adversity is a part of playing high school athletics and Emmett Hanna has done just that. Due to the pandemic, college scouts were unable to come to games in the fall season. Hanna worked even more challenging to stand out to colleges and he did just that with Boston College
As a member of the Saint Ignatius football program, Hanna would play both sides of the football, mainly as a defensive back who would cover the opposition’s best west receiver.
After Hanna’s junior season, he grew exponentially on the field physically and mentally. While being a force on the football field, Hanna was great academically.
As Coach Chuck Kyle ’69 says, “He is going to have great opportunities at Boston College.” The Jesuit experience will continue at the Division I level for Hanna as he’ll walk on at BC next fall.
Alec LaSpina - University of Akron (Football)
Alec LaSpina is a gifted student-athlete for the Saint Ignatius football and lacrosse program. Unfortunately, an ankle injury sidelined LaSpina midway into the football season and the lacrosse season. That did not stop LaSpina from being a great team player and being a senior leader.
As a receiver on the football program, LaSpina made outstanding plays for the offense and special teams. Coach Chuck Kyle ’69 says, “He was a very reliable receiver and could always find a way to get open.”
LaSpina plays with such high energy that his coaches and teammates picked that up on the field for the Wildcats.
LaSpina will walk-on at the University of Akron next fall as the Zips witnessed a tremendous explosion and speed from the Wildcat receiver before the injury. He will bring that same great energy looking for an opportunity at UA.
John Panstares - IMG Academy (Baseball)
Coach Brad Ganor summarizes John Panstares the best when he says, “No one hustles harder.” Panstares is a true team player for the Wildcats and, no matter the situation, always finds a way to help his team.
After losing his junior season due to the pandemic, Panstares was ready to be a senior leader for the Baseball Cats. Panstares was named as one of the three captains for his senior year.
He has been a five-tool player for the Wildcats. Panstares is a terrific batter that can hit for power or go opposite field for a base hit. He is one of the quickest players on the team and is a nightmare for the opposition when he gets on the base paths. Defensively, Panstares has a cannon for an arm when he plays left or right field.
Panstares will continue his academic and baseball career at IMG Academy. The hustle of Panstares will be an excellent piece at IMG.
Jacob Rocky - Marietta College (Baseball)
Jacob Rocky has worked his way into being an Ace for the Baseball Cats. Rocky can paint the corner when need be to strike out an opposing batter or throw his fastball right by a hitter. The variety of pitches Rocky can use is remarkable and he has been a solid starter for coach Brad Ganor’s Wildcats.
Rocky is a two-year letterman for the Baseball Cats while maintaining a 3.80 GPA in the classroom. In his senior year, Rocky was awarded a scholarship from the WesTech Association Scholarship in front of his family, coaches and teammates.
Rocky has nearly been untouchable in his senior season as he achieved a complete game, one-hitter vs. Archbishop Hoban at Brookside.
Rocky notes that his favorite memory of playing Wildcat baseball is taking the field with his classmates playing the game that he loves.
Marietta College is receiving quite the pitcher next year as Rocky joins the Ohio Athletic Conference in Division III.
Luke Roggenburk- St. Bonaventure University (Baseball)
Luke Roggenburk is a multi-position athlete for coach Brad Ganor’s baseball Cats as he has seen time as a first baseman, right fielder and pitcher. Roggenburk in 2021 has proven that he is much more than a power hitter for the Wildcats but an excellent fielder and pitcher as he has gotten the Cats out of many jams on the mound.
Roggenburk has been a member of the baseball program for all four years while achieving a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. Roggenburk notes that his favorite memory with the Baseball Cats was when his long-time teammate Gabe Nard hit a walk-off against St. Xavier in the Ohio Jesuit Tournament of this year. The Wildcats are once again primed for a championship run as the spring season inches closer to the tournament.
Roggenburk will play Division I college baseball next year with the Bonnies in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Wildcats will miss the play of Roggenburk, but the future is bright for the senior leader.
Anthony Santagata - John Carroll University (Wrestling)
It was a historic season for the Saint Ignatius wrestling program. With the challenges of the pandemic, there were many question marks to the season. However, the Wildcats crushed the 2020-21 season, winning 18 dual meets, a program record. Anthony Santagata was a notable leader for the Mat Cats.
You run out of adjectives to describe the heart that Santagata brought on the mats for Saint Ignatius. A Jim Skerl ’74 #34 recipient, Santagata was a four-year letter winner and a two-year captain for Head Wrestling Coach Mark Sullivan. Santagata was also a District qualifier twice during his time at Wildcat High. He was a Sectional Champion as well.
Santagata totaled 68 takedowns, seven tech-falls/major decisions and 21 escapes in the 2020-21 season. Santagata’s favorite memory with the Mat Cats was breaking the dual meet win record with his teammates his senior season.
The Jesuit connection will continue at the next level for Santagata as he joins the Blue Streaks of John Carroll in the fall. The sky’s the limit and Santagata’s leading spirit will be missed at Saint Ignatius.
Mcrey Socha - Washington and Jefferson College (Baseball)
You may have heard the voice of Mcrey Socha in the winter as he was one of the voices of Saint Ignatius Basketball in the winter for the SIBN in a memorable season. Socha can also be found on the mound in the spring for the Baseball Cats as a southpaw hurler.
The 2021 season, similar to most of his teammates, was the first year for Socha on the varsity club. Although he has only played one year of varsity, Socha appears as an experienced vet on the mound with a nasty arsenal of pitches he can throw.
Socha notes his favorite memory was the trip to Cincinnati in his senior season, where the Wildcats played in the Barnhill Classic vs. Moeller and Lakota West.
Socha will be heading to Washington and Jefferson with current teammate Jacob Eiermann. The Presidents are a force in Division III Baseball and hail from the Presidents Athletic Conference and will be getting a terrific pitcher in Socha next season.
Zach Toothman - Case Western Reserve University (Swimming)
The Saint Ignatius swimming and diving program has emerged as a powerhouse out of the Northwest District the past couple of years and Zach Toothman played a heavy role in the success of the Aqua Cats.
Over his 4-year career on varsity, Toothman was well decorated. He was an All-American in the 200-yard Medley Relay. Toothman was a state qualifier in the 100-yard Breast and 200-yard Medley Relay.
Toothman is a Northwest District Record Member for the 200-yard Medley Relay. He owns a freshman program record at Saint Ignatius in the 200-yard Free Relay and 200-yard Medley Relay. Toothman is a four-time District Qualifier in the 100-yard breast and 200-yard IM.
Toothman says his favorite memory with the program is the team trip to Maryland and walking to the Cathedral with Coach Jim and his teammates.
The decorated swimmer will join a phenomenal program at Case Western Reserve in the fall. The Saint Ignatius community is excited to watch the growth of Toothman at the next level.
Will Yontek - Marietta College (Basketball)
It was a season to remember for the 2020-21 Basketball Cats for the first time in 20 years; the Wildcats made it to the Final Four. One of the stand-outs of that team was the 6’7” center Will Yontek. Yontek made a massive jump after his junior season and helped the Cats reach new heights.
Yontek was a #34 Jim Skerl ’74 recipient, as he emulated what it meant to be a Man For Others on and off the court. Yontek’s leadership was evident from the start, helping the other players throughout the season.
Yontek, in 2021 was named the Most Improved Player and was an All-District Honorable Mention after his impressive senior season being a monster in the paint.
Yontek notes that his favorite memories were the team trip to Miami his junior year and the Final Four run in his senior year that led to UD Arena in Dayton.
Yontek joins a basketball powerhouse in Division III with the Marietta Pioneers. The energy is electric at home games in Marietta and Yontek’s high-energy play will fit right in for the Pioneers this upcoming season.
Nick Zarbo - St. Charles CC, St. Louis (Baseball)
A characteristic about Nick Zarbo that makes him such a stand-out student-athlete is passion. The passion that Zarbo brings to baseball is quite evident and has helped the senior hurler succeed at the varsity level.
“Diligent worker” is the term coach Ganor uses for Zarbo. Zarbo always works on his craft at pitching to get himself better. Zarbo is a player that will try and help the team in any way to win as he has experience as a starter and reliever with the Baseball Cats.
Although he lost his junior season due to the pandemic, Zarbo came out strong as ever, being a part of a phenomenal pitching staff. Zarbo has an excellent skill set to use his fastball to get ahead of the count and great late-breaking stuff to get the opposition out.
Zarbo will continue his academic and athletic career at St. Charles Community College in St. Louis, Missouri. The passion Zarbo brings to the field will take him to new heights at the next level.
Noah Zebrak - Ohio Northern University (Soccer)
The Saint Ignatius Soccer Program has an elite group of talent, a part of that group is Noah Zebrak. Zebrak plays on the defensive side of the ball and plays with such passion and grit that helped the Wildcats achieve the 2020 State Championship.
Along with the State Championship, Zebrak was a member of the National Championship team in 2020. The Wildcats defeated New Albany 4-1 to claim the program’s 10th program title.
Zebrak, in his senior season, was named the Magis Award winner and was a 2nd team All-Greater Cleveland Selection after his outstanding play in 2020.
While being a terrific soccer player on the field, Zebrak was a stand-out student achieving a 4.18 GPA and was named to the OSSCA Academic All-Ohio team.
Zebrak will continue his soccer and academic career at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. The future Polar Bear will compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference for a terrific Division III soccer program. The high energy and great character of Zebrak will be missed at Wildcat High, but the future is bright for Zebrak heading to ONU.
The hard work and dedication from these young men will not be forgotten. More importantly, this is a celebration to the parents and family members who have sacrificed so much for their son to succeed at Saint Ignatius High School for the past four years. These young men are Ignatius Men Forever and have left their mark not only on the field but also in the classroom. The Saint Ignatius faculty and staff wish nothing but the best for the future for the senior student-athletes moving on to the next level.