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The Mat Cats Send Mark Sullivan Out With a Win

By Joe Mertens '15, 02/22/22, 4:00PM EST


With a 51-27 victory over Strongsville Saturday night, the Wrestling Cats give coach Sullivan one last dual meet victory before retirement.

OHIO CITY, Oh - Head Wrestling Coach Mark Sullivan wrapped up his final Home Meet with a victory over the Strongsville Mustangs on Saturday, February 19. Sullivan came into the program as an assistant coach in the 2002-03 season and became the head coach in the 2004 season. Through his 20 years at Saint Ignatius, coach Sullivan has had 43 state qualifiers, 27 state placers, six state champions and a national champion. Since 2013, Sullivan has achieved a 116-31 dual match record. Sullivan finishes his final dual match with a 51-27 victory over Strongsville.

This was a special night for the Mat Cats, along with it being a celebration of coach Sullivan, it was Senior and Alumni Night. Six seniors were honored before the match on Saturday; Patrick Clink, Connor Gisztl, Sam Infante, Joey Novak, Timmy Putka and Mason Smart.

After the celebration of the seniors, a thank you video played inside Sullivan Gym with former wrestlers giving thanks to coach Sullivan. Those former wrestlers included George DiCamillo ‘12, Michael Drobnick ‘18, Jerome Robinson ‘10, DJ Huff ‘19 and many more. Coach Sullivan has made a lasting impression on hundreds of wrestlers who have come through Wildcat High.

The match began with the 106 weight class as Giovanni Duniec took on Strongsville’s TJ Clark. With just 21 seconds left in the first round of the match, Duniec won as Clark would tap-out giving the Cats an early 6-0 match advantage.

The first senior to hit the mat would be captain Joey Novak in the 120 weight class. After being pinned in the third round, Novak had a nice reversal on Gio Mucurio to pin him on the mat. In the final 30 seconds, Novak showed true grit to win his match 3-0. The Wildcats would go ahead 15-0 in the match. Novak heads into the Sectional meet with a 74-27 career record.

Connor Gizstl was next to wrestle at the 126 weight class. Gizstl got the Wildcat faithful inside Sullivan Gym on their feet as in the first round he would pin Strongsville’s Kenny Lambert. Gizstl put six more points on the board, giving the Cats a 21-6 match lead. Gizstl heads into the Sectional meet with a 58-29 career record.

The next senior was captain Timmy Putka in the 144 weight class against Cris Scarvelli. In the second round, Putka would force Scarvelli to tap out. Putka improves to 69-25 in his career and is primed for the Sectional meet for the Mat Cats.

A Thank You To Coach Sullivan

Captain Sam Infante would represent the 157 weight class and would get a tap-out as well in the first round against the Mustangs to increase the match score to 39-18 in favor of the Wildcats. Infante improves his career record to 68-40.

Patrick Clink would get a victory in his match against Christian Zaripheh in the 215 weight class. Clink would get a first round pin to secure the victory and improve his career record to 37-35 heading into the Sectional meet.

The Mat Cats finish the regular season with a 10-4 Dual Match record, winning their last six meets, peeking at the right moment as they head into Sectionals on Saturday, February 26 at 9 a.m. at Strongsville High School.

Coach Sullivan is looking to rack up a couple more State placers and potentially another State Champion before retiring from coaching, but ends his dual match career with a victory over Strongsville. The Wrestling program was in a difficult position in the early 2000s at Saint Ignatius, since Sullivan has taken the reins, he has built the wrestling program into a power house in Ohio. Sullivan’s 20 years of service to the school will not be forgotten and he has left a lasting legacy at Saint Ignatius High School.