Fastest athlete at Ignatius: Jared Stepka ‘16

by Patrick Millican ‘15

The fastest athlete at Ignatius does not inhabit the football field, nor does he blur by spectators during the hundred-meter dash. His uniform is bulky, intended to shoulder the blows of burly defensemen, but when he is sprinting, he flies.

If an objective, radar-gun toting spectator were to consider the full range of sports at Saint Ignatius, they would inevitably realize that in fact it’s a player on the varsity hockey team that holds the title School’s Fastest Athlete. And the consensus amongst hockey players and coaches is that number 9, Jared Stepka ‘16, claims the throne.

Stepka says that he’s always been rather fast, and it became apparent to him when he was younger that size wasn’t going to be his advantage.

“I realized that I wasn’t going to be the biggest or strongest player, so I had to use my speed as an advantage and keep working on it,” he says.

He cites his strong inner drive as a factor in convincing him to concentrate on his speed. “When I was younger I always had to win every sprint whether it was skating or running,” Stepka said.

Furthermore, Stepka’s quickness affects both his style of play and the way the team uses him to make plays.

“Instead of trying to beat guys by going through them,” he says, “I try to go around them and get into open ice where I have a better chance of beating them to the puck.”

Coach Pat O’Rourke says that the team tries to feed Stepka the puck for breakaways and plays him on power plays to generate an odd-man rush.

His teammates are well aware of just how fast Stepka is. According to Kevin Yarcusko ‘16, “Every time he touches the puck, he’s gone in a flash.”