OHIO CITY, Oh - On May 18, Saint Ignatius High School celebrated 24 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 today, heading to the next level. Let's meet the Wildcats who signed their letter of intent to become student-athletes in college. 24 student-athletes were head to 22 universities/colleges and seven sports were represented for Spring Signing Day.
Peter Chalhoub - Fordham University (Football)
Peter Chalhoub will be taking his talents up north to New York, as he will be continuing his football career in the Bronx. Chalhoub was the piece of the puzzle on a dangerous defensive line. His three-year varsity tenure was an impressive one. Despite a few injuries along the way, Chalhoub still maximized his potential and made for an entertaining and athletic prospect off the edge. Peter made for a great edge rusher with his formidable strength and his footwork and speed, both being unreasonably high for a man his size, which was bound to throw off opponents. Chalhoub was highlighted multiple times throughout the season with player-of-the-game interviews and impressive stats with tackles, pressures, and sacks. These qualities make Peter a great candidate for next-level football at the collegiate level. His versatility truly cements him as a top-quality player.
Patrick Clink - St. Bonaventure University (Rugby)
Patrick Clink is a dual-sport student-athlete between wrestling and rugby. He will be continuing his career at St. Bonaventure University on the rugby pitch. In his junior year, clink was a member of the B-side state Championship team and worked his way for a starting roster spot on Varsity A in his senior year. Clink finished his career on the wrestling mats with a 37-35 record. Through his time with the Mat Cats, Clink grew stronger and perfected his craft, making him an excellent flanker for Head Rugby Coach Dan Arbeznik's team. Clink is a four-year rugby player and a member of a program seeking its eighth State Championship and will be competing for a National Championship before heading to New York to become a Bonnie in the fall.
Jonathan Effertz - Ave Maria University (Basketball)
Jonathan Effertz is the perfect example for any youngster to follow. Effertz is a four-year letterman for the Basketball Cats but has also heavily inspired younger students and impacted the Saint Ignatius community through his actions over the last four years. Effertz set a record with nine three-pointers in one game this season, which was quite impressive and he led his team to the OHSAA State Final Four game the last two seasons, neither done in Saint Ignatius basketball history. This year, Jonathan led Kairos 241, was a member of the National Honors Society and was also an Ignatian Companion. Jonathan is a mural of how every student-athlete should act and treat others, just as he does each day. He will continue his career at Ave Maria University in Division II college basketball down in Florida.
Connor Groman - Marietta College (Baseball)
Connor Groman will take his academic and athletic abilities to the next level at Marietta College, a Division III baseball team, as he will be a part of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). Connor performs both in the classroom and on the ballfield. His favorite memory in the Blue and Gold was batting 3-for-4 in the game against St. Edward, where the Wildcats went on to win 11-3. Gromen has been a consistent utility player for Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor's Wildcats in his senior season. Gromen carries an on-base percentage of .340 and has collected nine RBIs. Gromen waits for his pitch, drawing eight walks this season and finding any way to get on base. Gromen is as reliable as they come in the outfield, with a fielding percentage of 93%, anchoring the outfield when called upon for the Baseball Cats. Gromen will bring great energy to an already outstanding program in the OAC at Marietta.
Brian Keane - University of Toledo (Football)
Brian Keane will be continuing his academic and athletic career at the University of Toledo. The 6'5' right tackle will be playing college football at the Division I level as he joins the Mid-American Conference. Keane was a three-time varsity letter award winner for the Wildcats and started for the Blue and Gold this year. Keane helped to shore up an excellent offensive line for the Wildcats as he started all 13 games in 2021. After dealing with injuries throughout the season, Keane and the O-Line hit their stride in the postseason as the Wildcats ran for over 600 yards in three games. Following his senior season, the Our Lady of Angels graduate was named third-team All-Ohio in 2021 by the OHSAA. The leadership and stability provided by Keane at the right tackle position will be missed at Saint Ignatius.
Matt Kelly - Johns Hopkins University (Cross Country and Track)
Matt Kelly has been a staple in the Saint Ignatius Cross Country program for several years. The St. Raphael graduate was named a team captain this past fall for the 2021 season. It was a season in which the Cat Pack captured their fourth consecutive District Championship and finished fifth in the State Championship meet. During his tenure with the Cross Country Cats, Kelly was a six-time state championship qualifier, a part of three teams that finished top 10 in the state, and was awarded the honor of being cross country academic All-Ohio on three occasions. Kelly can be found tearing up cross-country racecourses throughout much of the fall. However, he takes on a different role in the winter and spring months. Kelly is a Co-President of the Saint Ignatius Broadcast Network, providing color commentary during the basketball season before becoming the play-by-play voice of Wildcat Lacrosse. This fall, Kelly will be heading to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The future Blue Jay will be missed by several athletic teams and extracurricular programs at Saint Ignatius next year.
Ashton Montgomery - Kent State University (Football)
The offensive line is one of the essential factors in the equation of having a good football team. Ashton served on the Wildcat offensive line the last three seasons and has used his versatile size and athleticism to protect the pocket. He overcame cancer at a young age and is now a powerhouse every time he straps on the pads and gets on the line. The 6'3" 285 linemen was a part of an offense that saw an over 1,000-yard rusher in Marty Lenehan. Montgomery also assisted in helping the Wildcats achieve two 100+ yard rushers in a single game as Lenehan and Joey Georges went over the century mark vs. Mentor. This was the first time in program history that this feat was accomplished. This past January, he was invited to play in Polynesian Bowl down in Aloha Stadium with other top high school seniors in the country. This is quite an impressive accomplishment and with what Montgomery has done for the Wildcat football team, the future only holds for what he will do for the Golden Flashes.
Edward Musbach - John Carroll University (Football)
Edward Musbach's potential was shown in the final regular-season game of 2021 for the Football Cats. The senior had himself a day vs. Football North-Clarkson as he would haul in three catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Including a 42-yard touchdown reception to give the Wildcats early momentum. Musbach was a member of a heavy depth wide receiving core and worked his way into the offense for the Wildcats in 2021. Musbach beat opposing teams' secondaries with his speed and quickness off the snap and was shown in the late stages of the year for the Cats. Sticking with his Jesuit roots, Musbach will be continuing his academic and athletic career at John Carroll University, a Division III program that competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Musbach will have the opportunity to continue to grow at the collegiate level.
Victor Nard - Case Western Reserve University (Baseball)
Victor Nard made a significant jump from his junior year to his senior year and it has shown on the baseball diamond. The 6'4" left-handed pitcher is an intimidating force on the mound and will be continuing his academic and athletic career at Case Western Reserve University in the fall. Nard has been used as a reliever and starter for Head Baseball Coach Brad Ganor's Baseball Cats in his senior season. Nard has an incredible velocity on his fastball, but his breaking pitches make it challenging for the opposing batters. Nard is heading to a powerhouse Division III school at Case Western, where they compete in the Presidents Athletic Conference. Nard has worked hard to get to this point. With the chance to grow as a pitcher in college. Nard's best innings are yet to come with his frame and work ethic.
Noah Norris - Marian University (Rugby)
A first-year A-side member, Noah Norris worked his way to get where he is today for Head Rugby Coach Dan Arbeznik '00. A quiet leader on the pitch, Norris will be continuing his academic and athletic career at Marian College. Norris began playing rugby his sophomore year at Saint Ignatius High School. Through each season, Norris has developed his skills to help make Saint Ignatius Rugby a National powerhouse. In his junior year, Norris was a member of the B-Side State Championship season and has experience in critical moments on the pitch, knowing what it takes to win. Before heading to Marian College, Norris will be competing for a National Championship.
Joe Norris - Washington University in St. Louis (Football)
The secondary is in good hands when it comes to a student-athlete such as Joe Norris. After a 2020 season that saw problems in the secondary, Norris made the jump to becoming the starting defensive back for the Wildcats in 2021. Norris was a problem for opposing offenses, primarily covering the number one receiver for most teams. In one of the season's biggest games, the Cats hosted their Jesuit rival St. Xavier Bombers. St. Xavier came in as one of the best aerial attack offenses in the state. With the help of Norris, the Wildcats would hold the Bombers to just 218 passing yards, to an offense that was averaging nearly 400 yards of passing per game. Norris was all over the field, leading the Cats in tackles with eight. Norris will be continuing his academic and football career at Washington University in St. Louis, a Division III program in the University Athletic Association. Norris' skill set at defensive back will be missed, but he has left his mark on the underclassmen.
Alex Paliga - Xavier University (Cross Country and Track)
Alex Paliga will take his speed down to Xavier University as a Musketeer Track and Field Team member. Paliga has impressive speed and will compete at the Division I level. He was a two-time state runner in cross country and a one-time state runner in track and field as a Wildcat. His favorite memory was placing fourth at States running in the 4x800 race. Paliga is a member of the 4x800 m team for the Track and Field. That relay team is one of the best in Ohio and Paliga continues to improve his speed and anchoring in the 4x800 m event. In the final regular-season meet, Paliga hit a season-best 1:59 in the Euclid Relays. Paliga's technique on the track makes him such a valuable runner and he is only going to get better in college at Xavier University.
Will Persiani - John Carroll University (Football)
Impressive form among this year's Wildcat football team, Will Persiani is the main subject of that conversation. Persiani operated the offensive line this year alongside his classmate Ashton Montgomery, Brian Keane and many others. Will helped boost the squad's morale and everyone else around him with his enigmatic presence and strength. Not only did Persiani's contributions help the team, but also the games themselves. Persiani gives a great dynamic during games, pocketing some of Ohio's finest edge rushers and defensive linemen. Much of the success in the run game can be attributed to Persiani and Co. In addition to his football talents, Persiani was a great leader and part of student life, especially in the student section. Persiani will be a great fit on the Blue Streaks' gridiron with his energy, passion, and sheer strength.
Jack Petrus - College of the Holy Cross (Rowing)
A coxswain does more than steer the boat through the racecourse and it can be one of the most challenging jobs on the team. The technical knowledge needed on the course itself, the weather, and the rowers in the boat is immense. In addition, the coxswain is responsible for motivation while on the water. Often, the coxswain can help provide the extra surge towards the finish line, even if he never touches an oar. After being a coxswain for the Wildcat Navy for the past four years, Jack Petrus knows all this too well. Petrus is a Midwest Champion in the Novice 4 boat and most recently led the Varsity 8 boat to a first-place finish in the Christy C. Wiegand Cup that contributed to the Wildcats capturing the Rustbelt Championship in April 2022. In addition, last fall, Petrus led the Western Reserve Rowing Association to a fourth-place finish in one of the largest and most respected regattas in the world, the Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts. There is no doubt that the College of the Holy Cross will be getting an incredible coxswain and a well-rounded person as Petrus recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Look out for Petrus to be at the helm of the Division I Holy Cross Rowing Team as he joins the Crusaders in the Patriot League.
Josip Rimac - Cleveland State University (Soccer)
When it comes to some of the biggest influences on last year's historical State and National Championship soccer team, Rimac is nothing short of the top. On and off the pitch, Prowess stacks his repertoire as the multi-dimensional winger will take his talents to the next level. Rimac finished his senior year breaking multiple records, including for the most assists in a game with seven. Rimac had an imposing stat line with a whopping 23 goals and 20 assists, earning the titles of an All-American and the First Team All-Ohio. The main component of his success was in the postseason of the Wildcats' historic season, including many crucial goals and playmaking. Most notably, his goal was to break the deadlock against the Centerville Elks in the 2021 OHSAA State Championship. Josip will be a clinical player in the Division I game for the Vikings, as his style poses a tremendous offensive threat with elite vision, ball control, and intelligence up and down the pitch. The best of it all must be his passion, as his fiery personality will be perfect for guidance among his teammates.
Owen Roark - Northwestern University (Rowing)
The Wildcat Navy continues to grow a Division I pipeline of rowers as Owen Roark will be continuing his academic and athletic career at Northwestern University. You can find Roark in the Varsity 8+ Boat during the Crew season and help guide the Cats to be the fastest racers they can be in the water. Roark perfectly represents a hard worker and takes care of what he can control in the boat. A quiet leader, Roark was a member of the Midwest Championship team in 2022, the first time the program has won the event since 2019. With his great intelligence and experience with the Crew Cats, he is one of a kind. With Crew, you have to be tough mentally and physically. Roark demonstrates that through every practice and regatta and will be a considerable help in building the program at Northwestern.
Dominic Rosson - University of Kentucky (Rugby)
Rugby runs in the veins of Dominic Rosson as he grew up playing the sport for the Rookie Rugby Program at Saint Ignatius while he attended St. Bernadette's when growing up. Now Rosson will continue his academic and rugby career at the University of Kentucky. Despite being a wing, Rosson has a fantastic passing ability on the Rugby pitch. In the off-season, Rosson focused on building his strength and speed up before his senior season; he was always in the weight room looking to better himself. With his fantastic core skills and experience, Rosson will be continuing at Kentucky, but not before competing for a National Championship for Saint Ignatius.
Harley Sherman - Notre Dame College (Rugby)
What a unique story that Harley Sherman brings to Saint Ignatius High School. Sherman and his family moved from Jesuit High School in Sacramento, California, to Cleveland last fall. Sherman is currently in the middle of his first and last semester at Saint Ignatius and has been a force for the Rugby Cats. Sherman has three younger siblings that Head Rugby Coach Dan Arbeznik '00 hopes to see join the program in the future. Sherman chose to play rugby and it has worked in his favor as he will be continuing his academic and athletic career at Notre Dame College. As the season nears its end, the Rugby Cats hope to be crowned State and National Champions. What a way to end your first semester at Saint Ignatius for Harley Sherman.
Matthew Sullivan - The Ohio State University (Rowing)
The Ohio State Rowing Team will be getting a great one in Matthew Sullivan. The Holy Trinity graduate will be joining the Big Ten Conference this fall as a Buckeye. Sullivan is one of five Saint Ignatius Rowing Team members competing at the Division I level in the fall. Sullivan has built up an impressive resume while with the Wildcat Navy. Sullivan is a Midwest Champion with the Novice 4 boat and has accumulated numerous medal finishes. Along with being a member of the 2022 Midwest Championship team. Sullivan's recognition goes beyond the water as he was given the #34 Jim Skerl '74 Award for the spring season. The future Buckeye is also a leader for the Labre Ministry, which reached 1000 consecutive weeks of serving the homeless population of Cleveland this past February. Sullivan's time at the Corner of W. 30th and Lorain will be remembered for his accomplishments on and off the water. Many will miss him as he will continue to be a Man for Others at The Ohio State University.
Collin Vollmer - MIT (Football)
Colin Vollmer was as reliable as they come on the football field. Vollmer spent most of the season as a backup in his junior season, but when he got his chance to play in his senior season, he made most of every opportunity. Vollmer was the second leading receiver for the Wildcat offense in 2021, hauling in 28 receptions for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Despite injuries plaguing the quarterback position, Vollmer was always dependable for Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle '69. Vollmer will continue his academic and football career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Division III program, in the fall. With his agility and ability to shake the secondary, Vollmer is bound to have success at the collegiate level.
Bobby Voth - Boston College (Rugby)
Looking down the line, Voth will be taking his rugby talents to the next level with his commitment to Boston College. Voth continues to make rugby a popular sport throughout the Saint Ignatius campus with his team's representation and charisma and leadership. Voth has proved himself to be a massive piece in recent years' teams, producing good offense from the back and introducing a lot of elusive qualities to his game, something not seen too often around the state. The most significant factor for Voth, however, must be his leg. Bobby has been the team's go-to man for conversions for quite some time now and has taken full advantage of the 50-22 rule newly introduced worldwide this season in the sport. He has used these skills to his benefit as he has been productive in last year's run to the National Championship and the ongoing run this year as the team will be going to Indiana for another hopeful National run. Bobby is very enthusiastic about continuing his journey in both rugby and academics. He will be tough to replace in the coming years.
Sean Ward - Dartmouth College (Football)
The three-sport Wildcat athlete Sean Ward has participated in and succeeded in football, bowling, and rugby for his senior year at Saint Ignatius and his previous seasons. During the football season, Ward is a tight end; in 2021, Ward accounted for 92 yards on 13 receptions and will be continuing his football career at Dartmouth College. For Bowling, Ward averaged a 178 and has been on the bowling team for all four years and was named MVP of the Bowling team in his senior year. Ward was also the recipient of the Jim Skerl '74 #34 award. Finally, Ward can be found on the Rugby pitch in the spring, competing for a National Championship. Along with being a three-sport athlete, Sean takes his academics very seriously, carrying a 3.65 GPA. Very impressive, especially after going home late every night of his high school career after practices, lifts and games and still succeeding in the classroom. Watch for Ward, a former S.E.P. champion and now a Division I tight end with lots of size and strength. Big things will be coming for Sean Ward.
Tommy Wasinski - John Carroll University (Football)
Tommy Wasinski was another one of the Defensive Linemen coming off that stacked line. Wasinski has made his mark on the team and his impressive varsity career and looks to continue this legacy at John Carroll University. Tommy has been a clinical player for the Wildcats, making his balance of speed and strength something to worry about in the minds of their opponents. His stats in pressures, sacks, and his velocity off the snap exemplify just the player he is and his great composure and mental toughness on and off the field. Wasinski is also a monster on the Rugby pitch. As he prepares to continue his football career, his mark on the game may not be what you would expect in the future. Wasinski plans to make the positional change to running back next season. Since the offseason, Tommy has been working hard to prepare himself. He has increased his speed and worked his body to pose a threat to the tailback spot. With his new experience in rugby during the season, the big man is as ready as ever to pursue his goals down the line.
Will Witalis - Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Football)
Versatility is the perfect word to describe Wildcats offensive lineman Will Witalis. The former St. Bernadette Bulldog was a four-position player throughout his time with the Saint Ignatius football program. Witalis began his tenure as a Wildcat at the left tackle position before shifting all across the line while on Varsity. Witalis started the final two games of the 2020 season at left guard, occasionally playing right tackle. In 2021, he started in nine out of 13 games at right guard. Witalis is affectionately known as "The General" by his teammates due to his hard-working nature and leadership by example. He perfectly exemplifies the next-man-up mentality that is always needed on the gridiron. Witalis will be heading to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this fall, where he will further his academic and athletic career as a Fightin' Engineer.
The hard work and dedication of these young men will not be forgotten. More importantly, this is a celebration for 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 classroom. The Saint Ignatius athletic department wishes nothing but the best for the future of the senior student-athletes moving on to the next level.
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