On a busy night for Saint Ignatius athletics, the Mat Cats earned two decisive victories.
The Saint Ignatius varsity gold wrestling team defeated the Walsh Jesuit Warriors, 57-24, and the Bedford Bearcats, 77-6.
In a night defined by depth, the Wildcats overcame injuries to secure two wins to advance to 2-0 in dual matches.
“We had a lot of guys who didn’t wrestle today, either due to illness or injury. A lot of our backups wrestled, and wrestled well,” said head coach Mark Sullivan. “It was good experience for them, it was good to see everyone out there competing at this level.”
One wrestler who did not compete tonight, but deserves kudos, is DJ Huff.
The senior recently earned a full-ride academic scholarship to Northwestern University by virtue of his outstanding academic achievements. Sullivan raved about his senior captain.
“We’re very proud of him. DJ worked very diligently in the classroom, a lot of things people don’t know, except us,” Sullivan said. “He’s always bringing books to tournaments and reading. He’s always doing the extra things that give him the ability to get a 4.28 GPA, along with test scores that allowed him to get a full ride. It’s a great honor, and we’re proud to have him on the team.”
With that, here’s a breakdown of Friday night’s wrestling:
Saint Ignatius vs. Bedford
The Wildcats’ first match of the day was at 160 pounds vs. Bedford, after the Bearcats forfeited at 152. Sam Clark represented the Wildcats in the match.
Clark battled fiercely, fighting through an injury. Clark dueled a fierce opponent, who held the upper hand he majority of the match. Clark fought through all the way to the end, losing via pin with just 13 seconds left in the contest.
Andrew Chime fired out of the gate at 170. The sophomore roared to a 5-0 lead by the end of the first, scoring a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the opening period. Chime kept on rolling into the second period, tallying an escape. Chime finished off his opponent at the end of the second, winning via tech fall, 15-0.
Josh Dinya then picked up a forfeit win at 182 before Patrick Clink squared off against Quentin Swift at 195. Clink wasted no time in grabbing the upper hand. The freshman tallied a pin just 49 seconds into the contest for his first victory in Sullivan Gym.
The Wildcats then received two wins via forfeit in quick succession – Caden Campolieti at 220 and Seamus McCarthy at 285. Heading into the second portion of the match, the Wildcats held a 35-6 lead.
“It is a unique year. We have some upperweights who are seniors who came out, who haven’t wrestled before or who haven’t wrestled in a while,” Sullivan said. “They are extremely physical, strong, and have had success in other sports. We also have a good group of young upperweights who get to develop with these guys. It’s a fun year, you get to see some young guys in the upperweights – that could be the strength of our team in the next few years, and these older guys are just having fun with the sport.”
The Mat Cats stretched the lead as the lightweights began sparring at 106. Johnny Novak sported a 10-0 lead in the early going, and finalized a pin with 27 seconds left in the first.
The good times kept rolling at 113. Grayson McLellan pinned his foe in the first period. The same result occurred at 120, with Jack Bush taking care of business. Matthew Whipkey made quick work of his opponent again at 126.
The 132-pound match nearly took the full time, with sophomore Calum Campolieti taking the mat for the Wildcats. Campolieti utilized nice moves throughout, but did not secure a pin until the third. As Whipkey remarked after the match, Campolieti borrowed his move to earn the six points for the Wildcats.
The last two Bedford opponents also failed to avoid pins. Sam Infante secured a win via pin at 138 and Patrick McGraw ended the match with a pin at 145. At the end of the contest, the Wildcats enjoyed a wide 77-6 margin of victory.
Saint Ignatius vs. Walsh Jesuit
The match vs. the Warriors started out on a tough note, but was looking good by the end of the teams’ heavyweight battles.
The match began with two Wildcats’ forfeits, both due to injuries. The two defeats granted Walsh Jesuit an easy 12-0 lead.
The Warriors stretched the advantage further. Andrew Chime battled hard throughout the contest, but Michael Leonard tallied a pin with 6.2 seconds left in the second. The win brought Walsh Jesuit’s fans and wrestlers to their feet.
The momentum turned at 195. After Josh Dinya accepted a win via forfeit at 182, Carter Zimmerman faced off against Tyrin Rodgers at 195. Zimmerman used a great move to pin his foe in impressive fashion, decisively defeating his opponent.
“It was a good match,” Zimmerman said. “He tried to toss me first, so we went out of bounds. He took a sloppy shot, so I got him on a ‘cowcatcher’ and I pinned him right after that. I’m trying to get more mat time, I’m working on me techniques and to make my shots better, and to get more experience. My goal is to continue to get better. This is a developmental year. I’m looking to help the team in any way I can.”
Following Zimmerman’s win, Campolieti tied the contest with a triumph at 220. The senior faced off with Nolan Flanigan, who challenged him early on. Campolieti tabbed a takedown, but was called for an illegal headlock, stopping a chance at an early pin. Campolieti wasn’t fazed, as the senior secured the win later in the period, earning his first victory at Sullivan Gym.
The Wildcats snatched the lead, 24-18, entering the final round thanks to a win via forfeit. Tommy Eichenberg, who recently committed to The Ohio State University, claimed his first wrestling victory.
“Tommy Eichenberg is undefeated at 1-0. He’s dying to get an active match,” Sullivan said. “It’s been fun to have Tommy on the team. We didn’t know he would be so competitive on the wrestling mat. His competitiveness is infectious to the rest of the kids on the team, that a kid of his stature on the football field is here. He’s so dedicated to working hard, it’s infectious.”
To start the lightweight action, Johnny Novak faced a stout opponent in Jack Schmidt at 106. The contest took the full time, with stoppage time for injury making the match take longer. In the end, Novak took care of business, with an 11-1 major decision victory.
Following a Grayson McLellan win via forfeit at 113, Jack Bush faced a foe at 120. Bush captured a victory on a nice pin, the second of the evening for the sophomore. Matthew Whipkey nearly did the same at 126, but took home a 16-1 win by tech fall.
Calum Campolieti took a loss via pin, the last defeat of the day for the Wildcats. Patrick McGraw and Evan Arko finished the evening with back-to-back pins in impressive fashion.
Following tonight’s pair of wins, the varsity gold team is idle for the rest of the weekend. The Mat Cats will host St. Edward for a dual match on Thursday at home at Sullivan Gym, the final match before Christmas for the Cats.