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Recent Alumni Continue to Grow Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament

May 09, 2024
By Lake Catholic

Many area boys grow up playing baseball in their local recreation leagues. But all boys grow up and eventually age out of those leagues.

Some continue on to high school baseball, but for most, their baseball careers end. 

Four recent Lake Catholic graduates weren’t satisfied with their baseball days being over, so they decided to do something about it. Now, three years later, what they’ve started has become larger than they ever could have imagined.

On Saturday, July 27, Nick Regano, Nick Pellecchia, Andrew Zalar, and Jacob Minich, all from the class of 2023, will host The Third Annual Regano Wiffle Ball Tournament at Mentor Ridge Elementary School. 

“We all played rec baseball together and we didn’t want it to end,” said Regano, a finance major at Kent State. “So, we got a bunch of kids together one day to play wiffle ball. More and more kids wanted to play, and we ended up turning it into a tournament. That was the first year. We really didn’t know what we were doing. It was a mess. And here we are now, about to start our third tournament.”

The tournament is no joke. Gone are the days of just getting a group of kids to play wiffle ball in an open field. This tournament takes nine months of planning, has a five-page rulebook, has a concession stand, draws in family and friends who come to watch, awards prize money to the winners and runners-up, and now, most importantly to the guys who run it, a charity component. 

The first year they had 19 teams compete. Last year it grew to 32. They liked that number, so this year’s tournament is again capped at 32 teams. There are eight four-team divisions, with each team guaranteed to play three games. The top two teams in each division then advance to a single-elimination bracket to determine the champion. 
The championship team wins $1,000. The runners-up get their money back (there is a $15 per person entry fee).

Last year, all the proceeds from the concession stand were donated to JBS Strong, a childhood cancer foundation in honor of the late Jack Sawyer, a student at Mentor High School. 

“All the food and stuff are donated, so everything we make goes to the charity,” Regano said. “This year we reached out to Jack’s family to see if there was someone else, we could donate to. This year all our concession proceeds are going to Addie Strong.” 

Addie is a young girl from Mentor who has been diagnosed with medulloblastoma.

“We’re really trying to make the charity an integral part of this,” said Zalar, a finance major at Ohio State. “We hopefully will have more than $1,000 to give to them this year. We know it’s not a good look if we’re giving $1,000 to the winning team, but not that much to the charity. So we’re going to really push our concessions this year and try to raise as much money as we can.”

They already have a $500 commitment from the tournament sponsor, Regano Financial Services Inc.

To this point, the tournament has only brought in male competitors, but the organizers said that’s just a coincidence, and they aren’t opposed to having females compete. The ages range from 12/13-year-olds to guys in their 50s and 60s. Although most of the teams are comprised of high school and college-aged kids from all over the area, including players from Mentor High School, Kirtland, and NDCL. Pellecchia, a criminal justice major at Dayton, said that about 50-60% of the players are either current Lake Catholic students or alumni.

To put it on, the four talk at least once a week the entire year just about wiffle ball, before ramping up in June and July. They have to build and repair their strike zones. They also have to work with Ridge Elementary School to reserve the field for three days – one to set up, one to play, and one to clean up.

“The fields take a long time to get set up,” Pellecchia said. 

“We’ve learned a lot in two years,” Zalar said. “We have to turn our fields in a different direction. We were losing too many home run balls in the woods.”

“It’s to the point where I only ask for wiffle balls and other stuff for Christmas,” Regano said. “I’ll also go to Dick’s (Sporting Goods) in the winter to buy stuff because no one is playing wiffle ball then. So I know they’ll have a lot in stock.”

All the fences are just orange snow fences. Everyone must use the plain yellow bats provided. They use plenty of spray paint to draw the field and basepaths. They use real rubber bases and pitching rubber.

On game day, games are self-umpired, although they do look for volunteers to help ump the playoff games, especially since prize money is on the line.

“It’s a lot of fun, and it does get competitive, but nothing more than some trash-talking,” Pellecchia said. “We did think about last year being our last year doing it since we were all going off to college. We kind of used it as a last hurrah before we went off to college, but now it will serve as a reunion for a lot of us. So I’m glad that we decided to keep it going.”

 

Anyone looking for more information check out the tournament Instagram page at @reganowiffleballclassic. If you’re interested in signing up for this year’s tournament, you can do so by filling out this Google Form.

Tags: Alumni

Photography Teacher Freelances at Women’s Final Four

April 09, 2024
By Lake Catholic

First-year art teacher Carolina Kane keeps quite busy with her day job. But if that’s not enough, she also has her own photography business – Carolina Kane Photography.

A quick glance at her business’ website, you see senior and family portraits, weddings, fine art, editorial work, and much more. What you don’t see much of is sports.

That all changed this past weekend when she worked freelance for Cleveland Magazine and shot more than 2,000 pictures at the NCAA Women’s Division I Final Four at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Her photos can be found on the Cleveland Magazine website.

“It was so intense and filled with anxiety,” Carolina said. “There were so many people there and so much media. But it was such a cool experience.”

She was there for all three games – the national semifinals on Friday night and the championship game on Sunday – and moved all over the fieldhouse getting as many shots as possible. She said she was there at 5p on Friday (the first game started at 7p) and didn’t leave until about 1a on Saturday.

“It was a long day,” she said. “Two games to shoot, and then I was in the media room editing until early Saturday morning. But then all day Saturday editing some more.”

She worked with the writer from Cleveland Magazine, getting shots to accompany his news stories. Not only were her photos used in his articles, but she would work between games and at halftimes to send images to her art director for more formal social media posts.

She had a floor pass for Saturday night’s second semifinal between Connecticut and Iowa, headlined by two of the sport’s biggest stars, Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark, and was positioned right on the baseline.

“It was intense,” she said. “There I was in between ESPN’s still photographer and the Associated Press. And, on top of that, it was a great game.

“My dad kept letting me know every time he saw me on TV.”

After that late-night Friday and all-day editing Saturday, it was time to go back on Sunday for the championship game between Iowa and South Carolina. South Carolina won the national championship, 87-75.

She moved around the fieldhouse until it was time for the Gamecocks' trophy presentation when she joined the rest of the media on the floor right in front of the quickly constructed stage.

“It was such a great experience,” Carolina said. “I sent (Cleveland Magazine) 634 edited photos. It was a long weekend, but so worth it.

“I was so proud to be photographing such a high-profile women’s game. It was incredible that so many people were there to support women in sports. The energy in the room was electric and every basket was met with a roar from the crowd. I felt proud to be a woman photographer, supporting other great women, and showcasing our great city.

“And it gave me some ‘street-cred’ with the kids. A lot of them have come in today already telling me how cool it was that I got to be there for it.”
 

photo courtesy of Cleveland Magazine

Tags: Faculty

Senior Awarded Full Scholarship to Ohio State

March 20, 2024
By Lake Catholic

Most high schoolers have summer jobs for spending money throughout the year.

A lesser amount saves some of that money to use after high school and help pay for college.

For Lake Catholic senior Theresa Lazanich, she’s turned her summer job from the past two years as a caddie at Canterbury Country Club into four years’ worth of full tuition and room and board.

Theresa was named an Evans Scholarship winner at the end of January, and just this past week found out that she will use that scholarship at Ohio State University.

The Evans Scholarship is a full tuition and housing college scholarship for high-achieving caddies. According to the scholarship website, to qualify caddies must meet the requirements of having a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need, and outstanding character.

“I was super excited when I found out that I won the Evans Scholarship,” Theresa said. “And now that I know I’m going to my first-choice school (Ohio State), it’s even more exciting.

“I want to be a physician’s assistant, which will mean extra schooling. So that’s a huge financial commitment. And being the youngest of six kids, this is a huge help for me and my parents.”

Evans Scholars can be found at 24 universities nationwide. Their students live and work together in a community, earning a reputation for scholastic achievement and excellence in community service.

What’s different about Evans Scholars though is that they don’t have the final say on where they attend. Once she received the scholarship, Theresa had to submit a list of her top three school choices – that she had applied for and had been accepted to. Her top three were Ohio State, Marquette, and Miami University.

“I had the choice of Ohio schools or any private or possibly border state schools,” she said. “But I’m glad I got my No. 1 choice.”

Theresa has been around the game of golf since she was a kid, she said. As the youngest in her family, her parents would often take her to the course when they would play. That’s where she learned the game, first hit the ball, and became fond of the game that would become such a big part of her life.

“I started playing when I was really young, maybe eight or nine (years old),” she said. “I would play in leagues throughout the summers and have played all four years here at Lake Catholic.

“When I started playing here, I met a girl from Beaumont, who talked me into getting a job at Canterbury with her.”

So, for the past two summers, Theresa has been at the country club early in the morning and helped members and guests with their rounds of golf throughout. Eventually, it was there that the caddie master suggested she apply for the Evans Scholarship.

“There’s also a ton of members there who are Evans Scholars, so I had a lot of support when I applied,” she said.

All the while, she continued her successful high school career. She was a two-year captain for the Cougars while playing as the team’s No. 1 player. She was named First Team All-Crown Conference in both her junior and senior seasons.

It was after her senior season when she was named a finalist for the scholarship, and she began prepping for her interview at Moraine Country Club in the Dayton area.

“The four green coats (chairpersons) were there, along with 60 other Evans Scholars,” she said. “They all had read my essay and I had to just stand there for 20-25 minutes answering questions about it.”

And from there it was a waiting game – first to be named an Evans Scholar and then to find out she was heading to her first-choice school.

Not too bad for a summer job.

Lake Catholic Announces Hiring of Director of Enrollment Management

February 22, 2024
By Lake Catholic

Lake Catholic is pleased to announce the hiring of Diana Fogarty as the Director of Enrollment Management. 

“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Diana Fogarty as our Director of Enrollment Management,” Lake Catholic President John Morabeto said. "As we look to increase the number of students who receive an extraordinary Lake Catholic education, Diana provides the qualifications to execute the appropriate short- and long-term strategies."

Fogarty has worked at St. Joseph Academy in Rocky River for the past 14 years, most recently as the Director of Admission since 2019. 

In that role, she planned events including open houses, visit days, special events and testing; analyzed prospective student demographics and trends for increasing enrollment each year; processed student applications including transfer and international students; planned and executed summer camps; and much more.

Prior to her role as Director of Admission, Fogarty also served as Assistant Director of Admission (2014-2019) and Admissions Coordinator (2010-2014). 

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