The Track and Field Wildcats sent three relay teams and nine individuals to the Regional Meet last week at the Amherst Steele High School. The Cats scored 49 points at the Regional Meet, earning third just behind Brunswick with 51 but well behind Regional Champions Avon. The Cats will now be sending all three relay teams and two individuals on to the State Meet at Hilliard Darby on June 4th and 5th.
Starting on Wednesday was the 4x800m final. As this relay team has done many times this season, the Wildcats earned a win and 10 points to set the tone in the first boys' event. Aidan Monroe, the pop-off leg, took a hard cut to lane one after the 300m stagger with a slight lead, then maintained his spot leading the whole region of teams, splitting a mind-shattering PR of 1:57.4 off 56.0 and 61.4 laps. He handed off in the lead by half a step.
Joseph Maloney took off on the second leg, jumping about two stride lead by 200m in and split 56.2 for his first lap. He fought an Ashland athlete running on his shoulder for the next 400m and split 62.1 for the second 400m to finish a much-needed 1:58.3 leg. Joseph handed off just a half step behind. Through two fast legs, the Cats had faced constant pressure while having to do the hard work of leading, but with such a balanced four legs as the Wildcats, the boys were able to pull away from all the other teams in the last 1600m.
Alex Paliga ran third for the Wildcats and retook the lead from Ashland while running a conservative 59.0 first lap. Alex's even-paced running led to Avon's stud Jett Wieber taking over the race around the 600m mark, almost exactly like the District race. Still, Alex's incredible last 100m wiped away Jett's 5-meter lead and Alex handed off, tied for first, to Peter Fitzpatrick for the anchor. After a 56.1 first lap, the Cats were now in second, with Avon just ahead and St. Edward and Ashland grouping around Peter.
Peter made his pass at 450m, and a pack of four runners had now formed within half a second of each other at 300m left in this regional final. Peter then blasted off with 200m to go and won the race for the Wildcats by 1.34 seconds in 7:52.19-a, a huge team-best for this season. Incredibly gutsy racing won the Cats their first 4x800m regional title since 2015, a feat that even the 2016 state champion Cats had missed! (although the 2016 team did run 7:46.26 for 2nd).
The next event for the Wildcats was the 4x100m preliminary for Friday's final; the Wildcats again absolutely dominated the field in their heat. The cats won by a half-second to qualify for Friday! Anthony Santagata had a clean start and smooth handoff to Eric Shyne, who glided down the backstretch before laying the baton, nicknamed the invisatick, to Edwin Abiakl, who came through as always on the third leg and gave Jack McCarthy about a 10m gap for his final leg. Jack torched down the homestretch and finished the prelim in 42.68, the fastest qualifying time between the two heats.
Ben Showman was up next on Wednesday and ran 50.45 to qualify for Friday's final! Ben ran an extreme and well-paced race, coming back from 7m back at 300m to finish only .09 seconds off winning his prelim!
Damon Frabotta next ran his 300m hurdle prelim in 41.20, finishing 6th in his heat and unfortunately not qualifying for the finals. However, Damon finished an incredible junior season of personal progression with a strong time-a personal best in the Regional Meet.
Jack McCarthy followed by earning second in his 200m prelim in a time of 22.24, a massive PR of .37 seconds, and moved on to Friday's Finals.
Lastly, from the track, the 4x400m relay of Ben Showman, Max Muresan, Edwin Abiakl, and Jack McCarthy finished first in their prelim. Ben Showman again had a solid last 150m to come from behind and handoff even with a few other teams, but Max Muresan followed with a bold first 200m and an even more potent next 200m to hand off with a 10m lead to Edwin Abiakl in 1:42. Edwin maintained the lead against many teams' strongest runners and handed off to Jack McCarthy in 2:33, now a full third seconds ahead. Jack McCarthy finished the victory (in his third race of the day) and the Cats' prelim in 3:24.01, seeding the Cats third for Friday's finals, only behind Medina and Westlake's times in the other heat by less than a second.
In the field, Eric Shyne lept to a 21-03 mark in the long jump and missed the qualifying 4th place by just 2.5 inches. Eric finished his season at the long jump with a PR in the regional meet but still had a chance in Friday's finals to move on in the 4x100m. Nick Velotta also missed qualification, hitting a 46-11.75 mark in the shot put, missing qualification by just under three feet. Nick set a PR in both shot put and discus at the District Meet and just missed his shot put PR by under a foot at Regionals. Great seasons from the field to Eric and Nick.
Friday afternoon in Amherst was just miserable! Of course, the rain and wind beat down before and during the meet, but the more significant issue was the wind by the time races came around. For example, in the 200m dash, the runners ran into a -4.3 meter/second headwind on the home stretch. Although there was no wind measurement taken during the 3200m run, I can tell you that the conditions had only gotten worse by the second last event of the night.
Coming off his 4:211 600m District performance, Joseph Maloney entered the Regional Final, ready to roll. Through 400m, Joseph had trailed Evan Jarold in second after a blistering 63 seconds. Joseph followed his tactic of settling in the pack for the next two laps and came through 800m in 8th place at a time of 2:12. Unfortunately, Joseph was just lost in the group and could not maintain contact with the leaders over the next 800m.
He finished strong in harsh conditions but did not qualify for the state Meet in the 1600m. However, after an intense 4x800m on Wednesday and an insane PR the week before in the 1600m and 800m, Joseph is ready to focus all his attention on the 4x800m at the State Final and run well.
CHAMPIONS! Anthony Santagata, Eric Shyne, Edwin Abiakl, and Jack McCarthy continued their five-race win streak in the 4x100m Regional Final! Despite the wind and its effects on a few handoffs, the Cats ran a 43.18 to win by .02 seconds and earn another 10 points for the team! Santagata and Shyne started the first two legs with the wind. However, those boys flew before letting Edwin and Jack take on the wind and the incoming St. Ed's and Berea-Midpark teams having the fourth-best 100m runner in the region in Carlton Landingham to anchor for the Eagles. McCarthy held onto the lead and leaned for the win, 10 points, and state meet qualification.
Next up for the Cats in the finals was Ben Showman in the 400m, where he entered seeded 4th. Ben, the only underclassman in the race and only 1 of 2 in all the prelims, ran 51.88 in the final to finish 8th in the region! He completed his first individual high school track season incredibly well, winning a District Title as only a sophomore, and had another chance later to move on in the 4x4.
Saint Ignatius has an elite history in the 800m, with the all-time state record coming back in 2001 from Marc Sylvester in 1:48.93. This year, an influential group of Track Cats has chosen to specialize in this event, but Peter Fitzpatrick was the only Wildcat lined up in the Regional Final of the 800m.
Peter entered Friday's race seeded fifth with a time of 1:56.93 from the District Race and was faced by ten other runners who were seeded under 2 minutes. Peter took his race out slowly and was at the back of the pack at the break for the pole at 300m. He moved up to around the middle of the group to come through 400m in 57 seconds. With 200m to go, he was in 5th and with 150m left was on Medina's Cam Schontzler's shoulder. Peter then moved into fourth and entered a four-person war for third and fourth place qualifying spots, but over the last 100m had to fight the wind and incredible kicks from Schontzler and Perrysburg's Benjamin Keller. Peter finished 6th in a time of 1:59.16, just .78 seconds off qualifying. Peter had a fantastic season of solo and relay 800m and we look forward to his state 4x800m leg.
Next up, in the finals of the 200m dash, Jack McCarthy and the field faced a pounding 4.3m/s headwind on the home stretch. Jack lined up in lane six in his only individual event of the day, outside Findlay's Ben Ireland and St. Edward's Carlton Landingham. Jack powered through the conditions and qualified comfortably in second place! He finished a lengthy .81 seconds off the fifth-place finisher-wider than the fourth and sixth spots in the 800m! Landingham won the event. Jack had moved on in his second of two events but still had the 4x4 to go.
The last individual final was the 3200m final, run at 7 p.m. right when the wind picked up. Matt Kelly had the 10th fastest outdoor PR in the race and the eighth seed time from Districts. He was quite an underdog and took the race out hard from the gun. Kelly assumed the lead from Evan Jarold at 300m and led until the 1600m mark when Perrysburg's Marc Baroncini took first place. Kelly bid his time in second until 400m to go when Evan Bork from St. Edward took off (en route to a 63 final lap) and Matt fell to third place. A strong surge at the 300m to mark propelled Kelly to around 40m ahead of fifth place with 200m to go. With 100m to go in the Regional Final, Kelly's form broke down and his legs locked up and he sputtered for about 18 seconds before crossing the finish line in 9:36, a 10 second outdoor PR and in fourth place. He split 4:50 and 4:46, including an incredible last 800m of 2:20 and a :69 previous lap. Kelly and McCarthy moved on as the only individual qualifiers on the team.
In the 4x400m relay, Ben Showman, Max Muresan, Edwin Abiakl, and Jack McCarthy maintained their order of runners from the prelims. Once again, the first three boys ran aggressively, taking on the field and the conditions, but Jack McCarthy had a much closer race on his hands in the final 400m. Westlake's Austin Norris ran with McCarthy the whole leg and, in the last 100m, extended his stride to about 4m/step to take the title.
The Wildcats finished second and moved on to the State meet!
Friday, June 4th and Saturday, June 5th, the track team will travel to Hilliard Darby High School for the State Championship. On Friday at 2:15 p.m., the 4x800m team will run their final. At 4:05 p.m., the 4x100m will run a semifinal. At 5:30 p.m., McCarthy will run his 200m semifinal. At 5:55 p.m., the 4x400m will run their semifinal.
On Saturday, the 4x100m final takes off at 3:00 p.m., the 200m begins at 4:10 p.m., the 3200m starts at 4:30 p.m., and the 4x400m gets underway at 4:50 p.m.
Here is a list of runners for the Cats at the State Meet. The Wildcats have the most out of any Division I program competing at the State Meet this weekend at 11.
Edwin Abiakl 4x100R 4x400R
Peter Fitzpatrick 4x800R
Matt Kelly 3200m
Joe Maloney 4x800R
Jack McCarthy 4x100R 200 4x400R
Aidan Monroe 4x800R
Max Muresan 4x400R
Alex Paliga 4x800R
Anthony Santagata 4x100R
Ben Showman 4x400R
Eric Shyne 4x100R