Iona Prep Baseball, Lacrosse, Track & Field,
Volleyball Win Spring Titles
Iona Preparatory continued building upon its strong case to three-repeat as LoHud Sports’ Tom Whelan Private School of the Year, adding four more championships during the spring season, with additional games yet to be played.
The Gaels’ largest team, Track & Field got the spring ball rolling with a positively dominating performance at the Westchester County Championships on May 21, winning the day by 80 points, the largest margin of victory in the 70-year history of the event. For good measure, coach Jan Mitchell, who has been at Iona Prep since 1975 and was inducted into the Armory Hall of Fame this past December, saw his Ursuline School team also take the Westchester County Crown.
Then over Memorial Day weekend, Track & Field followed up its title performance with a third place finish at Catholic States that included gold medals by sophomore Jake Gherardi in the javelin and senior Chris Milillo in both the discus and shot put. The Gaels finished the outdoor season with the sophomores taking the State, Sectional and City Championships, and freshmen the latter two. The JV placed second at Catholic States.
The day after Memorial Day saw not one, but two title bouts—one on the lacrosse pitch against St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute of Buffalo, and one on the volleyball hardwood against St. John’s Prep.
Coach Rick Trizano’s Lacrosse team entered the championship game on the heels of its 12th Intersectional title, but it did not come easy; the Gaels had to surmount Archbishop Stepinac, which had bested Iona Prep in an earlier round of the playoffs, forcing the Maroon & Gold to re-emerge from the loser’s bracket. But that’s when the Gaels showed its championship pedigree, rattling off wins to take its third Intersectional title in four years with an 8-6 win over Stepinac.
The first period of the championship game against St. Joseph’s was competitive, but Iona Prep would pull away with a flurry of goals late in the second half and never looked back in a commanding 13-7 win. Sophomore Christian Tapia had three goals, freshman Tucker Hess contributed two goals and two assists, and seniors K.J. Delane and Jack Dougherty added two goals apiece. Ten days earlier, JV Lacrosse had won its 10th consecutive league championship.
At the same time Lacrosse was pulling away for a state title, things were looking grim inside the Matthew Heffernan Gymnasium, where the yet undefeated, defending City Champion Volleyball team was down 0-2 to St. John’s. While only his team knows what coach James Fitzpatrick ’13 said to the boys at that point, once again, Iona Prep’s championship pedigree showed through.
The Gaels took the next two sets, 25-19 and 25-17, and were up in the fifth and deciding set before a strong St. John’s rally. True to form, Iona Prep got a stop on what would have been match point for St. John’s, and senior middle blocker Ryan Sheridan did the rest, scoring the next four points–including the game-winning ace. He would finish with 11 kills on 24 attempts, with eight blocks for good measure. Fellow senior Ben Marley had 19 kills and 11 digs; junior Giulio Del Toro had 15 kills, 11 digs and three aces; senior Dan Pugliese had 12 digs and sophomore David Yang recorded 40 assists.
Most recently, Varsity Baseball pitched its way out of the loser’s bracket to defeat Monsignor Farrell not once, but twice to claim its first City Championship since 2016. The title game was particularly thrilling as coach Ryan Mahoney’s Gaels entered the bottom of the seventh inning—last licks for high school baseball—down 0-2. Senior Joseph Fama led off the inning with a bunt single, followed by sophomore pinch hitter Kyle Bailey with a base hit to the opposite field. After senior Cristian Rodriguez drew a nine-pitch walk, senior Zachary Levinson came through with a two-RBI double to tie the game. Sophomore Ryan Bailey was then hit by a pitch and senior Peter Fasciglione lined out to first, setting up senior Luke Nascimento’s walk-off single to deliver Iona Prep Baseball its fourth City Championship.
Equally as impressive, Varsity Volleyball also won the spring season Brother Gaffney Award as the team with the highest GPA, posting a 94.28. Lacrosse showed themselves to be scholar-athletes, as well, with a 90.64. The spring teams were particularly scholastic, as 12 of the 14 total teams—some 336 students—maintained a collective GPA over 90. It was a mark achieved during the fall and winter seasons, as well, and has become a hallmark of Iona Preparatory’s education for higher expectations.
And that was only the spring season. During the winter, Varsity B Basketball won its second City Championship in three years. On the mat, four junior wrestlers—Kevin McCarvill at 126 pounds, Sean Degl at 145, Max Watson at 152 and Capri Martin at 285—captured individual Catholic state titles, while coach Tom Straehle’s squad collectively won the Westchester County Wrestling team title. And who could forget the first Catholic State Championship in football program history? Considering Iona Prep’s collective achievements in and out of the classroom, 2021-2022 has been—by nearly every measure—the greatest athletic year in the school’s 105-year history.