CANTON, Oh - On February 25 and 26, the Swimming and Diving Cats competed at the State Championship in Canton. Nine Wildcats qualified to compete at CT Branin Natatorium in Canton for the OHSAA Division I State Championship. The Aqua Cats would finish fourth overall as a team, combining for 160 points as the season comes to a close after a phenomenal year for the Saint Ignatius Swimming and Diving program.
The Cats won a State Championship in the 200-Yard Freestyle Relay with Micah Murtha, Sam Hessler, Jonathan Merimee and Daniel Argalious. In the event, the Cats would finish with an incredible time of 1:22.32 to place first.
It was an incredible season for dual-sport athlete Murtha, who will turn his attention to the baseball diamond for his senior year. The final two weekends, Murtha peaked in the 50-Yard Freestyle. At the District Meet at Bowling Green State University, Murtha broke a program record of 20.57, a record previously set by Nathan Christian ‘14. Murtha would break that program record twice at the State Meet. In the preliminaries, Murtha would finish in third with a time of 20.53. A day later, in the finals, Murtha would finish in second place with a time of 20.33 to break the program record in the event for a third straight time.
Brendan Kiskorna would also break a program record at the State Meet in the 200-Yard Freestyle. A record held by Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Steven Kemmerling ‘97. Kiskorna would break the record by one-tenth of a second with a time of 1:40.39 for a ninth-place finish at the State Meet. Kemmerling set that original record in the 1996-97 season.
In the diving portion of the State Meet, the Wildcat faithful had a glimpse of the future in that event with Jake Gilbride. As a freshman, Gilbride qualified for the State Meet after placing sixth at the District Meet at BGSU. Gilbride would make it past the first round and qualify for the semifinals of the One-Meter Diving event. Gilbride placed 17th with a total score of 397.85. With his first year coming to an end, the potential of Gilbride in the diving events will make him a top diver in the state in the coming years.
For the 200-Yard Medley Relay, a team of Erik Seicean, Max Santoro, Argalious and Hessler would finish with a time of 1:33.38 to place sixth. In the 100-Yard Freestyle, Murtha would place sixth with a time of 45.65. In the 500-Yard Freestyle, Kiskorna placed ninth with a time of 4:36.93. In the 100-Yard Backstroke, Seicean placed 13th with a time of 51.31. In the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay, Murtha, Josh Toothman, Tyler Williams and Kiskorna would place sixth with a time of 3:06.15.
Beavercreek would come out on top in the Division I State Championship with a team score of 211.5. This broke an incredible streak of 13 straight State Championships for St. Xavier, who would place second with a score of 207.5.
The Swimming and Diving season comes to an end after another unforgettable season. The Cats have built a powerhouse in Ohio as they look to take another step next season. In 2021-22, the Cats won their third straight District Title and next season, they will look for a fourth consecutive crown to match the 1992-95 dominance of four consecutive District Championships.
Head Swimming and Diving Coach Eric Dennis wraps up his second season at the helm at Saint Ignatius and will look to continue to build a winning tradition for the program as he heads into year number three.