OHIO CITY, Oh - On February 2, Saint Ignatius High School celebrated 12 student-athletes taking the next step in their athletic careers. These men have put in a tremendous amount of work to get to where they are today, heading to the next level. Although National Signing Day honors the achievements of these student-athletes, it is also a celebration of the guidance of parents and guardians who have sacrificed for their son.
Let’s meet the Wildcats who signed their letter of intent to become student-athletes at the next level. Twelve student-athletes are heading to 11 universities/colleges and seven sports represented for National Signing Day in 2022.
Billy Adams - Ohio University (Baseball)
For extraordinary infielders in Ohio High School Baseball, look no further than Billy Adams. In his junior season with the Baseball Cats, Adams earned a starting role at the shortstop position.
Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor could put any worries aside for his defense, knowing that the infield is in good hands with Adams. Adams is a defensive monster in the infield that separates him from most high school baseball players.
Adams posted a 96% fielder rating in his junior season. While Adams is terrific playing shortstop, he is also one of the more efficient hitters in Ohio. Adams posted a batting average of .361 a season ago and was a hitting machine for the Cats. Adams led the team with 25 singles on the year while knocking in 11 runs as there was a stretch where oppositions could not get Adams out.
With his dynamic ability on the baseball diamond, Adams committed to continuing his academic and athletic career at Ohio University. Adams was officially committed before touching the field for his junior season.
Due to the pandemic, last season was the first year on varsity for Adams as he looks to grow even more for his senior season. With Opening Day just around the corner for the Wildcats, Adams hopes to help lead the Cats back to a State Championship in 2022.
Gino DeVengencie - Canisius College (Lacrosse)
Gino DeVengencie started playing Lacrosse after his first year at Saint Ignatius High School. DeVengencie’s new found passion has earned him a scholarship to continue his academic and athletic career at Canisius College. The future Golden Griffen will be playing Division I level Lacrosse next spring.
DeVengencie will be reuniting with a couple of Saint Ignatius alumni at Canisius as former teammate Adam Ormstead ‘21 is a Golden Griffen, along with Nate Conry ‘19.
DeVengencie’s Lacrosse career began a bit delayed; he didn’t begin playing until his sophomore year, which was canceled due to COVID-19. DeVengencie’s first appearance on the Lacrosse field wearing the Blue and Gold came his junior season in 2021.
Through his hard work and dedication, DeVengencie earned a Division I scholarship to continue his passion as DeVengencie recovered 32 ground balls for the Wildcats in 2021.
The coaches for the Lacrosse Cats were blown away by the progression of DeVengencie in the last two seasons. Through a phenomenal off-season, this past summer playing club, DeVengencie looks to flourish on the field for the Wildcats in his senior year.
The 2021 season saw the Wildcats get to the OHSAA State Semifinal round in tournament play, leaving the Cats hungry for another chance.
Zeb Eldridge - Colgate University (Football)
For Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle ‘69, special teams always play a significant role in football games. Zeb Eldridge is a premier example of how important special teams are for football. The senior handled all the kicking duties in the 2021 season and showcased a cannon of a leg on the field. Eldridge is one of the most well-rounded kickers in all of high school football.
Coach Kyle was never afraid of attempting a long-distance field goal with Eldridge as his kicker. Eldridge demonstrated his power and accuracy in week five vs. Archbishop Hoban, giving the Cats a late lead in the fourth quarter on a 48-yard field goal.
He is even more dangerous when it comes to punting. Arguably one of Eldridge’s best performances came against Archbishop Moeller, where he would average 46.5 yards per punt on ten kicks. He would pin the Crusaders inside their 20 yard-line two times that sparked the Wildcats defense.
Eldridge is rated a 5-star kicker and a 5-star punter by the Kohls Showcase Camp. He was ranked a 5-star punter in his senior year after competing in the showcase in July 2021.
After his senior season, Eldridge was named as a Northeast Lakes All-District Division I First-Team Kicker. Eldridge’s attention to detail on special teams has earned him a Division I scholarship to continue as a student-athlete at Colgate University.
Collin Folds - Bellarmine University (Soccer)
In his junior season with the Wildcats, Collin Folds played the center-mid position. In his senior season, Folds moved to center back. Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ‘85 describes that position as “the team’s quarterback. We score a lot of goals, but we also don’t give up a lot of goals and credit goes to him and that defense.”
Folds has always been a team player and, in his varsity career, has never missed a game as he appeared in all 44 games, starting 43 of those and logging 2,841 minutes on the pitch.
The two-year letter award winner had quite the career for the Saint Ignatius Soccer Cats as he walks away with two State Championships and two National Championships. In his senior year, folds was an All-Ohio athlete and an Honorable Mention All-Greater Cleveland.
Folds was a defensive star for the Wildcats and, in the 2021 season, was a part of a team achievement, only allowing seven goals to the opposition in a year that the Wildcats went undefeated for the third straight season.
Folds will continue his academic and athletic career at Bellarmine University next fall. The future Knight will be playing Division I soccer. The defensive player did score a goal in his varsity career that came in the OHSAA Tournament against Barberton in his senior season.
Patrick Miklus - St. Joseph’s University (Rowing)
The Crew program at Saint Ignatius High School continues to produce stand-out student-athletes. Senior captain Patrick Miklus has earned a Division I scholarship to Saint Joseph’s University to continue his rowing career.
The future Hawk brings a high level of determination and leadership to Head Rowing Coach Connor Walters ‘09 team. “Pat shows nothing but drive and a commitment to the team. He is a leader for our team; he always shows up and is a phenomenal rower; it’s hard to find a guy like Patrick.”
Patrick first learned of the Wildcat Navy during his eighth-grade Open House visit. When Miklus came to Wildcat High, he wanted to try something new. Miklus joined Crew and, through his hard work and dedication, will be heading to Saint Joseph’s University.
Miklus mentioned the friendships and brotherhood bond that is unique with the rowers of Saint Ignatius and how the camaraderie makes the Cats one of the best in the Midwest.
Miklus was named a team captain his senior year through a strong off-season. You can find Miklus in the Varsity 8+ boat this upcoming spring season. The Cats will look to hoist a National Championship as they have a strong core.
Gabriel Nard - Duke University (Baseball)
Gabriel Nard is built for the moment. That was showcased in Nard’s first season wearing the Blue and Gold as a Freshman. Nard got the starting nod in the OHSAA Division I State Championship game in 2019, where he pitched 4.2 innings allowing just one hit and two runs as the Wildcats would hoist their first State Championship since 2002.
Later in 2019, Nard committed to continue his student-athlete career at Duke University in his sophomore year. The Wildcats pitcher and infielder has unlimited potential as he is coming off a dominating junior year after losing his sophomore season to the pandemic. Nard made the most of his opportunities on the JV roster before Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor brought Nard onto the varsity squad for the 2019 playoff run.
Looking at the back of his Baseball Card in 2021, Nard had a record of 5-0 as he started on the mound in seven games. Nard’s pitching repertoire was lethal as he would post a 0.74 ERA while striking out 54 and allowing just eight runs in 10 appearances.
Nard is just as dangerous as a hitter as he posted an average of .309 in the 2021 season. Nard led the Wildcats in Runs Batted In with 23. Before departing Saint Ignatius, Nard heads into his senior season to finish his high school career how he started and win a State Championship.
Anthony Paskell - Rider University (Baseball)
The infielder/outfielder for Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor has made his mark on the baseball diamond for the Wildcats as he heads into his senior season.
As a junior, Anthony Paskell thrived in every opportunity given to him in his first season on the varsity roster. Like most of his teammates, Paskell’s sophomore season was lost due to the pandemic.
Paskell hit for a high average in 2021 as in 85 plate appearances, Paskell hit an average of .343. Paskell knocked in 16 runs. Along with being an efficient hitter, Paskell is as patient as they come at the plate. Paskell forced 12 walks on the season, waiting for his pitch to hit.
A highlight of Paskell’s season in 2021 was a home run to left field on the road at Gilmour Academy in a 4-2 win that demonstrated significant power with a bat in his hands.
Paskell continues his student-athlete career at the Division I level at Rider University. Rider University may sound familiar for the Saint Ignatius Baseball faithful as current Seattle Mariners pitcher Nick Margevicius ‘14 was a Rider commit.
Before he heads to Rider, look out for Paskell on the Baseball Diamond this spring for the Wildcats. His junior season was just a preview of Paskell’s potential for his senior season. The Baseball Cats have their eyes on the program’s third State Championship as they enter the 2022 season.
Luciano Pechota - The Ohio State University (Soccer)
Luciano Pechota wraps up his soccer career at Saint Ignatius as one of the most decorated student-athletes to come through the program.
Pechota was named the High School Boys Player of the Year by United Soccer Coaches. in the 2021 season. He was a two-time All-American, a two-time Ohio Player of the Year, an Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year, and a three-time State and National Champion.
Pechota scored 14 goals in his senior season, assisting on seven and accounting for 35 points. He finishes his career wearing the Blue and Gold, totaling 33 goals, with 25 assists and accounting for 91 total points.
As Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ‘85 said before the season when Pechota committed to The Ohio State University, “He is one of the hardest-working kids who has ever played in this program. He is a wonderful leader and hard worker and for kids who want to be something special, follow what Luciano has done; put the time and effort in, you can be special.”
Pechota will be continuing his student-athlete career with the Buckeyes and join former teammate and goalkeeper Peter Van Euwen ‘20.
The captain of the 2021 Soccer Cats has left his mark within the program and contributed to building the standard of Saint Ignatius Soccer.
Topher Reed - The Ohio State University (Golf)
Topher Reed accomplished what he set out to do when he first stepped foot on the campus of Saint Ignatius High School, win a State Championship and how fitting to achieve that feat on the home college course where Reed will continue his academic and athletic career.
Since 2002, the Golf program was held without a State Championship, which changed in 2021 as the Cats captured their third State Title in program history.
Coming into his senior season, Reed was already decorated with many awards and accomplishments. Still, there was one goal that stuck with Reed and that was to bring a State Championship home to Saint Ignatius.
Head Golf Coach PJ Myers ‘99 has known from a young age the potential of Reed, “I’ve known Topher since he was 8-9 years old. When you look at him, you can see that he has a different look in his eye than other people. A determination. When he wants something, nothing or no one is going to take that away from him.”
Reed’s name is decorated in the Golf record books at Saint Ignatius. In the 2021 season, Reed tied the lowest score for an 18-hole tournament by posting a 66. Reed was named to the first-team All-Ohio. He capped the season with an individual State Championship with a two-day score of 143.
The leadership of Topher Reed echoes throughout the Golf program as he attends The Ohio State University.
Ben Sommer - Columbia University (Rowing)
In the fall of Ben Sommer’s sophomore year, he was on the fourth Varsity 8+ boat. Sommer asked the coaches then what he could do to improve. Through putting in countless hours of training to the sport, Sommer is heading to one of the top college rowing programs in the country at Columbia University.
Head Rowing Coach Connor Walters ‘09 remembers Sommer’s sophomore year and how he never got down on himself. “He was in our fourth Varsity 8+, he was disappointed and asked what he could do to be better. We told him to focus on technique, continue time on the rowing machine and build power and he did it all at 100%.”
It has been a progression for Sommer over the years at Saint Ignatius to become the best rower he can be for the team. Setting personal goals each year has helped Sommer improve as a rower.
Sommer joins a rowing powerhouse and Ivy League program at Columbia University. The program has showcased a handful of National Champion rowers the past couple of seasons as Sommer looks to continue to build with their program.
Sommer was named a team captain at the beginning of his senior year for the fall Crew season. The Wildcat Navy is eager to get back on the water and compete for a Midwest and National Championship with the upcoming season approaching.
Drew Wynocker - University of Denver (Lacrosse)
What a season it was for Drew Wynocker a season ago for the Lacrosse Cats. Wynocker was prominent for the Wildcats in the 2021 season. As they advanced to the State Semifinal, he was a significant part of Saint Ignatius’ run in the OHSAA State Tournament.
Wynocker owns the Saint Ignatius Lacrosse record for most goals in a single game with nine goals. Wynocker also holds the record for most goals in a season with 73. Along with his 73 goals, Wynocker recorded 21 assists for 94 total points. While recovering 38 ground balls for the Wildcats. Wynocker can find new ways to score, but one of the unique traits Wynocker shows is his ability to get his teammates open for a goal.
With such a considerable season his junior year, he was named a US Lacrosse All-American, First Team All-Midwest and First Team All-Region. Wynocker was also selected to play in the Nike National All-Star game. Wynocker has earned a Division I scholarship to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Denver.
The 6’4” 210 lbs attacker looks to build off his junior season and has more in store before graduating from Saint Ignatius High School as Wynocker has one more goal in mind and that is to win the program’s first State Championship come this spring.
CJ Yarian- Hillsdale College (Basketball)
CJ Yarian comes with a unique skill set on the basketball court. He is a big man that can facilitate an offense. With his tremendous knowledge of the game, Yarian can work the passing lanes and get his teammates open while scoring himself.
Head Basketball Coach Cam Joyce first recognized Yarian’s skill set his sophomore year. As coach Joyce says, “I remember the first time I met him; he was this 6’6” skinny kid who could shoot. I noticed from the start he knew how to pass and understand the game.”
It was all about confidence for the now 6’10” center as he has worked his way to a college scholarship at Hillsdale College to continue his student-athletic career. In the 2021-22 season, Yarian is averaging nearly a double-double in points and rebounds for the Basketball Cats.
Yarian not only is a threat down in the post, but he also can shoot the three-ball, which helps spread the floor on offense for the Wildcats.
The Yarian name will continue to echo the halls of Hillsdale College as his older brother Austen ‘17 has played the last four seasons with the Chargers.
Yarian continues to grow his game throughout his senior season as a captain for the Wildcats. The senior center and the rest of the Wildcats are hoping to end the season back in Dayton to try and hoist an OHSAA State Championship.
These young men wearing the Blue and Gold will not be forgotten the hard work and dedication. 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 on the field and in the halls. The Saint Ignatius faculty and staff wish nothing but the best for the future for these senior student-athletes moving on to the next level. They will always have a home at Saint Ignatius High School.
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