*COACH BARKER’S OUTLOOK ON THE WILDCATS’ 2012 TENNIS SEASON, WHICH BEGINS WEDNESDAY AT LAKEWOOD, FOLLOWS THE RECAP ON MONDAY NIGHT’S WINTER SPORTS BANQUET.
*COACH BRAD GANOR’S VARSITY BASEBALL TEAM IS SCHEDULED TO OPEN THE 2012 SEASON TODAY (TUESDAY) AT MASSILLON JACKSON. SAINT IGNATIUS’ SCHEDULE HAS THE FIRST PITCH SLATED FOR 4:30 P.M. THE CORNER IS MAKING THE TRIP TO STARK COUNTY WITH THE ‘CATS AND WILL POST A GAME STORY ON TUESDAY NIGHT. FOR A PREVIEW ON THE NEW SEASON, SEE THE CORNER'S STORY THAT WAS POSTED ON TUESDAY MORNING, MARCH 20.
BY EDDIE DWYER
It was a night to recall the previous four-plus months, a night to honor many, a night to say thanks and, without question, a night to cherish.
On Monday evening in the Murphy Field House, Saint Ignatius High School’s administration and athletics department gathered with parents, other family members, coaches and friends to pay tribute to the Wildcats’ varsity student/athletes and their many accomplishments this winter.
Before dinner, Saint Ignatius Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick ’88 led off the 2012 Winter Sports Banquet by pointing out what a season to remember it truly was. Principal Peter H. Corrigan Jr. spoke of the relationship between academics and athletics, a special tie that leads to many, if not most of the Wildcats’ student/athletes carrying their highest grade-point averages while in season.
And Father Jack Murphy, whose spiritual devotion and guidance plays an invaluable role in the Wildcats’ success, gave a pre-dinner Invocation that stressed how thankful the Saint Ignatius family should be for the many blessings the winter season produced. Father Jack also gave thanks for the school’s administration, athletics department, coaching staffs, outstanding trainer Hank Gaughan, A.T.C., the Student Broadcasting Network and the parents for their tremendous support.
HERE IS A BRIEF BREAKDOWN ON THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE WINTER SPORTS TEAMS, FOLLOWED BY THE SPECIAL AWARDS THAT WERE PRESENTED BY THE RESPECTIVE COACHING STAFFS.
Coach Mark Sullivan’s wrestling program, led by its dynamic two-time undefeated state champion George DiCamillo ’12, continued its tremendous growth. With George bringing home the 120-pound state title as the only undefeated champion in Division 1, and garnering the top ranking in the nation at 120, and juniors Tommy Zeigler (113) and Jim Ferritto (106) finishing sixth and eighth, respectively, in the state, Saint Ignatius finished 12th among all of Ohio’s big schools at what was one of the most talent-rich state tournaments in recent years.
The Wildcats’ varsity hockey team put together a season that was nothing less than remarkable, as Coach Pat O’Rourke’s “Men of Ice” finished 39-1. The ‘Cats set an OHSAA record for victories in a season, won their first Baron Cup since 1992, captured another championship in the rugged Red North Division and advanced to the state-qualifying game for the fifth time since 2007. Coach O’Rourke’s gifted senior class helped account for 100 victories over the past three seasons combined, including the program’s second state championship in March 2010.
Coach Jeff Ridler’s swimming and diving team finished an impressive fifth at the annual state meet in Canton. Led by junior All-American Derek Hren, the team set numerous school records throughout the winter, including a 1:33.24 in the 200 medley relay, a 1:50.34 in the 200 IM by Hren, a 21.00 by sophomore Nathan Christian in the 50 freestyle, a 55.62 by Hren in the 100 breaststroke and a 327.15 by senior Keith Carmichael in the 1 meter diving. The 200 medley relay, which consisted of Christian, Hren, sophomore Peter Simcox and junior Charlie Pophal, received an automatic All-American Performance as did the gifted Hren in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
It was an emotional night for Wildcats head basketball coach Sean O’Toole, who said goodbye to a special senior class, a group of young men who led a Saint Ignatius team that, said Coach O’Toole, consisted of players who were great teammates and even greater representatives of the Jesuit Preparatory School on Cleveland’s near West Side.
The Wildcats put together another solid season under Coach O’Toole (66-26 in four seasons at his alma mater), as they finished 16-6, advanced to the district semifinals at the most demanding sectional/district in Ohio (Solon) and finished eighth in The Plain Dealer’s final Top 25 seven-county poll. Five of Saint Ignatius’ six losses came by five points or less and the six setbacks combined were by a total of 25 points. Among the Wildcats’ impressive victories were triumphs over the University of Detroit Jesuit and its three major-college recruits, regional qualifiers Benedictine and Canton McKinley, 2010-11 Division II state champ and 2012 regional qualifier St. Vincent-St. Mary, a Kenston team that finished 20-2 and recently crowned Division I state champion Pickerington High School Central, which finished 26-2.
The story of the season for Coach John Kastanis’ bowling team, a.k.a. the “Alley Cats,” was definitely senior Ray Schaefer Jr. Ray advanced to the state’s district competition and had the high average of 214 in league play. The team’s MVP, Ray received the prestigious Joe Costanzo Award from his league for his overall performance, the support he displayed to his teammates and the sport of bowling, and the outstanding attitude he carried on a regular basis.
THE SPECIAL TEAM AWARDS
Outstanding Wrestler: George DiCamillo; Most Improved: Jim Ferritto and Anthony McLaughlin; Wildcat Award: Tommy Zeigler; Coaches Cup: T.J. Calton; State of Ohio Plaques: DiCamillo, Zeigler and Ferritto; Captain’s Plaque: DiCamillo.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
High Point: Senior Andrew Libertin (233.00), junior Derek Hren (437.50), sophomore Nathan Christian (360.50) and freshman Jack Hutchinson (82.50); Captains Award: Seniors Henry Chamberlain, Libertin and Zack Woznak; Most Valuable Swimmer: Hren; Most Valuable Diver: Senior Keith Carmichael; Coaches Cup: Junior Charlie Pophal; John B. Lewis Award: Freshman Aaron Shields; Most Improved: Junior Matt Friedl, freshman Jackson Norton, sophomore Keve Pigniczky, Shields and senior Wes Weber; Newcomer of the Year: Freshman Tristan Warder; All-Ohio Swimmer (awards from the state): Hren, Christian, Pophal, sophomore Peter Simcox and the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relay teams.
Most Valuable Players: Junior post Derek Sloan and senior point guard Jack Tupa; Most Valuable Offensive Player: Junior guard Francisco Santiago; Most Valuable Defensive Player: Senior forward Eric Williams; Most Improved Player: Junior post Alec Papesch; Sixth-Man Award: Senior guard Brian Joseph; Coaches Cup: Senior forward Jack Mahoney; Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award: Senior guard Mike Svetina; Captains Awards: Mahoney, Joseph and Tupa; Managers Recognition: Mike Berry (can tell you who the best players are on almost every team in the state) and Patrick Gibbons; Athletic Awards from the State: Sloan (second-team All-District and Honorable Mention All-Ohio), Papesch (third-team All-District) and Tupa and Santiago (Special Mention All-District); Academic Awards from the State: Seniors Max Connor, Reggie Gross, Williams, Tupa, Mahoney and Svetina, juniors Bryan Fisher, Papesch and Patrick Gibbons, who probably knows as much about Cavaliers history as Joe Tait.
Plus-Minus MVP: Senior Liam Geither (56 goals and 52 assists); Offensive MVPs: Geither, senior Paddy Spellacy, senior Mike Abood and junior Miles McQuinn; Defensive MVPs: Senior Matt Kovesdy and senior Will Smith; Most Improved: Senior Andrew Steed and senior Eamonn Walsh; Father Styles Coaches Cup: Senior Paul Zickes and senior Taylor Wolf; Captains Plaques: Senior Colton Riemenschneider, Abood, McQuinn, Smith and Geither, and the rare Four-Year Lettermen Recognition: Spellacy, Abood and Kovesdy.
MVP Award: Senior Ray Schaefer Jr.; Most Improved: Junior Andy Maykut; Coaches Cup: Senior Kevin Hulsmann; Four-Year Award Winners: Chris Dokler, Matt Eaton and Schaefer Jr.
*SAINT IGNATIUS’ 2012 VARSITY TENNIS PREVIEW, AS PRESENTED BY HEAD COACH JON BARKER.
I think we have a solid, young team and I'm very excited for the upcoming season. Returning this year are four starters from last year's squad: juniors Sean Frebes and Bobby Kirchner, and sophomores Yaw Boakye and Christian Zuber. In addition, senior Chad Burton is back after missing all of last season to knee surgery.
New on the team this year are freshmen Nate Griffin and Karl Fehn. Griffin is a strong singles player with tournament experience and Fehn plays a very solid doubles game. A slew of talented juniors including Nick Siciliano, Evan Frost, Jack Napoli and Jerry Zuber give us depth, and senior and Class President George Bashour rounds out the varsity squad.
In an effort to grow and become the best team we can be, we've set up probably the toughest regular-season schedule in recent Saint Ignatius history (possibly ever). Opponents include some of the toughest teams in the area (including University School, Walsh Jesuit, Hudson, Hawken, Westlake, Copley, Solon, Western Reserve, and CVCA), and we'll face some of the perennial state powerhouses, including St. Xavier and St. John's Jesuit, at the St. Edward Invitational.
I feel that we're a deep team and we have many options in terms of our lineup. While it's a nice problem to have, finding the best place for each team member to play is also a challenge. It's fun to have a young squad. The guys are very enthusiastic and open to trying anything. The amazing weather has allowed us to get outside and get the earliest jump on the season ever.
Jon Barker '87
Math Teacher/Tennis Coach