A Page -- Nov. 25, 2010

With 80 percent of defending state 

championship team returning, St. 

Ignatius ice men have to be one of 

the favorites to claim top state honors

November 25, 2010

By Michael Watts

Saint Ignatius Beat Reporter-Student/Writer – Studentathletecleveland.com

CLEVELAND (OHIO CITY) -- Repeating a state championship season is never easy, but the Saint Ignatius Wildcats’ hockey team is ready to give “whatever it takes.” 

After a record breaking state championship season last winter, the Wildcats take to the ice for the first time of the new campaign tomorrow night for the Ohio Jesuit Cup in the Kent State University Ice Arena.

Saint Ignatius will start the season with 16 of its 21 players having seen the varsity ice for the Wildcats last season as they seek to better their record of 31-7-3 from a year ago. With one of the most competitive schedules in the state, the team will certainly need to use its experience to make another run in the playoffs.


The Wildcats lost two players on their top line and their top defensive pairing, but this does not appear to be a major issue to this point. Leading the team on the ice will be captains Paddy Spellacy, Kevin Joseph, and Pete Bobulsky.

Offensively, there is little worry that this team will be as potent as it was a season ago.  With junior Paddy Spellacy leading the way, the offense looks to thrive again.  Spellacy shattered all of Saint Ignatius’ single-season offensive records, posting 43 goals, 35 assists, and 78 points in ’09-‘10.  Michael Abood has made a move from defense to wing to play on the first line with Spellacy as he looks to improve on his strong offensive performance from last season (6 G, 15 A).  The second wing spot remains open with a couple players competing for time.

While it is clear that the Wildcats have a potent first line, their depth will provide plenty of mismatches this season.  Liam Geither will return as a second line winger following his incredible post season performance last spring (including a school-record tying, five-assist performance against Brooklyn, and a game-winning tally against Padua in overtime).

After a five goal season including a game winning score against Saint Edward and a lamp lighter in the OHSAA State Championship game, Colton Riemenschneider will see time on the second line at wing.  Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the team will be second line center Miles McQuinn.  McQuinn played with the Cleveland Barons organization last season, racking up 37 points in 35 games. 

The Wildcats will have another talented group of defensemen guarding the cage this season, led by senior Pete Bobulsky and junior Will Smith. Bobulsky earned the team’s Coaches Cup after playing injured through the Wildcats’ postseason run a season ago.

Smith was injured last year as well, though he managed three goals from the blue line.  Other defensemen earning time include Andrew Steed, Jacques DeVilliers, Joey Malone, and Alex McNulty. Wildcat center Kevin Joseph will act as a shut-down player for the team; he will be expected to take the opposing team’s top player on most nights.

In between the pipes the Wildcats maintain a great deal of experience. Senior Josh Potts got the starting nod in the final four games of the OHSAA State Tournament, allowing just one goal per game while posting a .958 save percentage.  He finished the season with 5 shutouts, a 1.43 GAA and a 14-2-2 record.

Potts is a second year player who has “matured incredibly over the past three years,” according to Coach Patrick O’Rourke. Third year varsity junior Matt Kovesdy returns with 21 career varsity victories and a 1.95 GAA. Kovesdy had a .908 save percentage last season and started 22 games, posting 6 shutouts of his own. Kovesdy excelled in league play, posting a 6-0-1 record.

Returning on the bench is Pat O’Rourke ‘90, entering his seventh year as Saint Ignatius’ head coach.  As varsity head coach, O’Rourke (133-77-5) has won three Red North Division titles, one OHSAA State Championship, and eight tournament titles. With the team’s third win of the season, he will pass Scott Pick as the leader for most coaching wins in Saint Ignatius hockey history.

O’Rourke will be assisted by Paul Chase ‘96, Joe Geither, and Keith Abood at the varsity level this season. 

The Wildcats will face a challenging schedule as they attempt to become the first team to repeat as state champions since Saint Edward in 2004-05.  The Jesuit Cup features games against Walsh Jesuit and Toledo Saint John Jesuit in the opening weekend. 

The ‘Cats will see arch-rival Saint Edward at the Monster Cup at Quicken Loans Arena on December 11. A rematch with Sylvania Northview in the Saint Ignatius Christmas Tournament and a game at The Pond against University School will highlight the holiday season.

The team will return to the Meadville Tournament over Martin Luther King Day weekend before winding the regular season down with six Red North division games.

(The Wildcats will have over a dozen games broadcasted live online this season.  The Saint Ignatius Broadcasting Network will cover over 60 Wildcats sporting events in the winter season including hockey games with Saint Edward, Sylvania Northview, Toledo Saint John Jesuit, and Walsh Jesuit and the entire postseason run.  The SIBN will also provide live coverage of every varsity basketball game.  All basketball home games will be both audio and video, while the hockey season will depend on Arena capability.  To listen to the games live, go to www.sibn.weebly.com)

Catch coverage of the entire hockey season here at Student/Athlete-Cleveland.com as well.

St. Edward back in state Football 

Final Four for first time since 2005; 

Coach Finotti can become only 

second, second-year Eagle coach to 

get them into the state title game but 

the first as sophomore head coach 


 Nov. 25, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


Site: www.studentathletecleveland.com

MASSILLON – With a win over Whitmer Saturday night here in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, St. Edward’s current group will become the fourth football team in school history to make it to a state championship football game.

If the Eagles, who are ranked 16th in the whole country, can make it into next week’s Big Dance here, it would also mark Rick Finotti as the fourth head coach to lead a St. Edward football team to a state title game. Although things are happening fast under Finotti, he would only tie for the fastest in getting the Eagles to the title game.

Mike Currence became the head coach at St. Ed in 1974 after serving in the same position at Westlake High the four previous seasons and also took the Eagles to the state title game in his second season. The Joe Portale-led team lost to Moeller in the 1975 state finals at a time when still only a dozen teams overall were making the playoffs.


The other two to get the Eagles into a title game were the late Al O’Neill (1986) and John Gibbons (2003). The 1986 team perhaps had the greatest misfortune in that starting quarterback Kevin Krueger became injured after the state semi final game and Brian Gilson’s first varsity start at quarterback had to come in the state title game. It might not have been that big of a factor since under O’Neill’s unique clock/ball/field domination offensive approach, three passes thrown by a quarterback in one game was considered “a lot.”

Coach Finotti

Nonetheless, Finotti’s turnaround is one of the greatest at both St. Ed and all of high school football here in the state. After sputtering for two seasons after the mysterious dismissal of Gibbons at the end of the 2006 season, the Eagles turned in a modest 4-6 record in his first season in 2009, but are now 13-0.

Currence at least inherited the second wave of the early Big Green Machine teams with the likes of Portale, former Ohio State Student/Athlete standout Tom Cousineau, Jr., and the flashy Joe Glending already in the program in 1974. Then the program was already in four-gear state power mode while the program in the three years following the loss to Harding at the Stadium in 2006 was shifted in “park” or at best “neutral.”

Unlike the other three coaches who were at least able to get St. Ed to the Big Dance, Finotti is hoping his Eagles can rip up the dance floor and come home with the “10.”

Ironically, Finotti’s Eagles are very similar to O’Neill’s teams at Eds in the 80s (and at Avon Lake in the ‘60s and ‘70s for that matter) in that the catalyst of the of the team’s success is right up front on the offensive line. The only difference is that this team features more passing, runs to the outside as much as inside and features two backs, Terrell Bates and Reggie Terrell, instead of one. Quarterback Kevin Burke is also a formidable runner (Gilson, incidentally, also possessed this trait his senior season in 1987).

At least one Eagle has rushed for 100 yards or more in 12 of 13 games this season.

Also the current offensive line’s size (averaging 290 pounds) is unmatched.

Although the school has won 40 state championships through all the sports it sponsors, St. Ed still has not gotten one yet in football, which is perhaps the most coveted of all and with 100-street-blocks-east rival St. Ignatius having 10 state grid crowns, it burns even more. So, to say the least, this is huge.

Whitmer comes into the game with only one loss, a one-TD setback to Ross, and comes into the game by route of a 14-10 win over St. John in an all-Toledo regional final.

Speaking of balances on offense, Whitmer mixes the run and pass well.

The Panthers have a rusher who still has an outside shot at a 2,000-yard season in RB Jody Webb, who leads all rushers with 1,550 yards and 17 TDs.

QB Alex Palacki has thrown for over 1,685 yards and 14 TDs. Three wide outs have each caught 20 or more passes this year. They include Alonzo Lucus (39 rec 406 yds 1 td) Jody Webb (22 rec 399 yds 6 td) Nigel Hayes (21 rec 299 yds ) and Nate Miranda  (16 rec 239 yrds).

On the historical side, the Eagles and Panthers have met three times, but this will be the first playoff meeting. In 2002, the Eagles scorched Whitmer by more than 50 points. It would be safe to say that this one will be closer than that debacle.

In addition to Burke throwing and running, both Terrells running, and the line smacking down all in sight to enable them to do it, the Eagles have also been using the tight end as of late.

TE Sam Grant has caught a pass in 6 of the last 7 games (10 rec 163yds 16.3 catch).

Defensively, the Eagles have held opponents under 100 yards rushing in six of the last nine games.

Kicker Mike DiNunzio has now made 63 out of 63 point after touchdown attempts this season.

This will be St. Ed’s first Final Four appearance since 2005, when it lost to Massillon in the sate semis.  The current group of seniors was in seventh grade at the time.





With most of its starting lineup 

returning, Fairview's boys' basketball 

team hopes to make a decent run at

it in its final season in the WSC

Nov. 25, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


Site: www.studentathletecleveland.com

FAIRVIEW PARK – If experience in leading roles has anything to do with it, Fairview’s boys’ basketball team should be one of the contenders in the West Shore Conference since four starters return for the Warriors, but if they could go out with just a winning season, they might consider the season and their short stint in the league a success.

This will be the final year for Fairview in the WSC as it will be joining the Patriot Athletic Conference, its third league in five years, next season. Word has it, although it has not been substantiated yet, is that the only reason the school left the Southwestern Conference, a league in which it was a doormat in many sports, to join the newly formed WSC and didn’t join the PAC at that time is because a pending retiring Fairview administrator was promised a “retirement” job with the then new league.

Anyway, politics aside, Fairview would like to go out of the WSC with a bang to set the table for a new era in which it is no longer the smallest (or one of the) schools in the league (in a quantitative sense only since school “size” is almost always determined by exclusively numbers -- total enrollment of students or students of one sex or the other).


The returning starters for the Warriors are Sean Faska (Sr., 2 letters, 6PPG, 243FGM), Jake Belko (Sr., 1 letter, 2PPG, 3.5RPG), Bashir Ahmed (Sr. 1 letter, 5PPG, 5.5RPG), and John Doherty (Jr. 1 letter, 6PPG, 1.5APG).

“We would like to finish our last season in the WSC strong,” said Warriors coach Pete Maienknecht, who is in his 3rd season as head coach here. “We want to be competitive and show great improvement from last season. Otherwise, we will continue to prepare for life in new conference and consider next year.”

As always (or at least since the early 1980s at the frontier of the “baby bust”), Fairview is short on numbers and will have to do it with the four aforementioned veteran starters and a few beyond that. Fairview does not have a lot of depth and will probably go eight deep on most nights. However, the Warriors do have some numbers but with a lot of greenness since the roster lists 8 players who are new to varsity this year.

Comprising that octet are John Miles, So., Cole Ziegler, Jr., Chris Marmatakis, Jr., Anthony Santos, Jr., Rory Juhn, Jr., Derrek Corea, Jr., Chris Tahsin, Jr., and Eric Lebon, Jr.

The Warriors (2-18 and 1-13 in the WSC last year) will be playing somewhat of a two-league schedule this season, using their non-conference dates to get familiar with their new alliances. They will be playing the usual WSC schedule and all of the non-conference games are against PAC schools in preparation for the new conference next season.

“We look at this as a year to hopefully get over the hump and finish around .500 or better,” said Maienknecht, who is in his 6th year overall as a head coach. “Our chemistry should be good with 4 starters returning. We are focusing on the process (as opposed to end result) and trying to improve each day. 

"We had a strong summer and showed great improvement; I am optimistic about this season. Realistically speaking, around .500 would be a good season this year if putting a ‘wins’ tab on it.”

However, the Warriors getting content with a .500 season is not reason enough to rule out a league championship since often high school Student/Athletes far exceed expectations.

“These kids know they can win; they proved that this summer session at team camps, etc.,” said Maienknecht, whose teams have posted a 12-30 record at FHS. “Our talent level is up from last year, and the returning players have improved greatly.”

The Warriors do not have much height with their largest player, a newcomer to the team, standing at 6 feet-2 inches.

”Rebounding could be an issue,” said Maienknecht, who previously coached in the Washington DC area. “This team should shoot the ball much better than last year. We defended well last year but just could not score with the ball.”

The only addition to the coaching staff is that ex-player Nelson Santos will work with the freshmen more than anything else.

The Warriors are hoping to have a longer post season this year. Last Februry they lost to Cleveland Central Catholic in round one of the sectionals.

Academically, the Warriors are also sound.

“Most of our players are outstanding students that hold GPAs of over 3.0,” said Maienknecht.

With a hefty number of winning 

wrestlers returning, Olmsted Falls 

should be SWC, district power this 

season; Coach McGrain approaching 

win No. 300

Nov. 25, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor


Site: www.studentathletecleveland.com

OLMSTED FALLS – Led by Ohio Wrestling Hall of Famer Bill McGrain, Olmsted Falls should again be one of the top contenders to win the Southwestern Conference wrestling championship and along with that maximize the movement of its Student/Athletes along to the regional and state tournaments.

“A lot of our boys have been in the lineup for the past three years, and we are looking for them to take the next step this year,” said McGrain, now in his 26th season as the Bulldogs’ coach. “The kids have worked hard in the off-season and look ready to take on challenges of a solid schedule ahead of us.  We are pushing hard in practice and it is fun to watch these kids work hard every day.”


By the end of December, the Bulldogs should be able to get the 300th career win for coach McGrain, whose teams have compiled a lifetime record of 296-58-3.

Coach McGrain

The Bulldogs are returning from another impressive season. Last season they went 14-1 with a tourney championship at the Findlay Duals, a 7th–place showing at the Bill Dies Memorial and runner-up honors at the Hudson Duals.

(Left to right) Captains Adam Binggeli and Alan Binggeli and Sr P.J. Mueller 

The top returners for the Bulldogs are Nick Asadorian (Jr 5th District last season, State Alternate), Chase DuPratt (So. District Qual.) Alex Bevilacqua (Jr., District Qual), Adam Binggeli Sr., Alan Binggeli Sr., P.J. Mueller Sr., Jerimiah Roig Sr., Scott Ahern Jr., Kyle Kokitka Jr., Alex Bevilacqua Jr., Brian Slater Jr., Nick Sommer Jr., L.J. Yurick So., Clay Bolton So.,  Nick Andler Sr., Rich Rader So. Brandon Taylor So., and Sean Fallon So.

Jerimiah Roig                    Scott Ahern                         Alex Bevilacqua

Top that off with a key transfer David Rivera Jr., and it is quite evident that the Bulldogs have an experienced unit – one that has been winning.

Brian Slater                        Nick Sommer                   Clay Bolton 

Sean Fallon                         Rich Rader                      Brandon Taylor     

That’s not all tough. As always, McGrain is also loading at the back end of the experience train. Promising incoming freshmen are Austin Balnius, Carlos Cuellar, Dakota Estrada, Joe Gibson, Michael Hansinger, David Lance, Jordan Lee, Josh Milam, Basil Saadeh, and Adam Salti.

Coaches (l to r) Pellerite, Odon, Burkhard

McGrain, an NCAA national qualifier for Ashland in his active collegiate mat days, also has an all-star coaching staff with Sean Pellerite (16th Year, John Carroll University, NCAA All-American), Chris Odon-(13th year, Ohio University, State Qualifier), Bryce Burkhard (5th year, Ohio University,-3-Time State Qualifier, 4th in 1996) and Matt Drda (1st year).

Pre-School Sports accepting Tot 

Basketball registrations

Pre-School Sports is accepting registrations for its Tot Basketball now. All instruction will be held at The Avon Lake United Church of Christ, which is located at 32801 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake.

Class is designed for ages 3 – 4, 5 – 6, currently enrolled in preschool through Kindergarten.  Learn the basics of Indoor Soccer or Basketball!!  Physical fitness and FUN will be included.  Classes will be comprised of up to 20 children per 45 min class.  Parent volunteers are needed.  Registration being on a first come, first served basis.

The Saturdays of basketball I are January 15th – February 12th) and of Basketball II February 26th – March 26th.

It will be held only on Saturdays (Possibly Sundays if the school exceeds enrollment).

The choice (first come, first serve)  of times are 9am, 10am, 11am, 12am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm (1st Choice ______, 2nd Choice________) 

The cost is $50 per participant/per session with a $5 discount for 2 or more children registered with same family.  Make checks/money orders payable to:

Craig Collins

245 Parkview Drive

Avon Lake Ohio, 44012

There is a Late registration fee - $5.00 one week before the class is scheduled to start.

Register by calling (440) 933-3896 or (216) 402-2213 / emailing preschoolsports38@yahoo.com

The instructor is Craig Collins.