Cathedral Prep has had a long legacy of producing great men, men of Prep. This vision of spirit, mind, and body is reflected by the school’s actions and attitudes to produce great members in the community. The Cathedral Prep Class of 2005 produced one of the greatest men of spirit, mind, and body, an avid Prep supporter and benefactor, Mr. Patrick Grab.
Grab, who goes by Pat for most people who know him, graduated from Cathedral Prep in 2005. During his time at Prep, he played on the tennis team all four years, playing both singles and doubles for the Ramblers. In his senior year, Grab was the number two singles player on the tennis team and was named the team captain. His high caliber play and consistent performance his senior year leading the Rambler tennis team did not go unnoticed, as he won the prestigious team MVP award.
After Grab finished his time at Prep he continued his athletic and academic journey at The College of Wooster in Ohio. Grab said that Prep helped him prepare for college. “Prep challenged me in many ways and really allowed me to flourish academically and athletically.”
While at Wooster he played tennis for the Fighting Scots and studied Art, Design and Business. Grab played singles and doubles and once again, his great play shined as he started all four years once again. His senior year at Wooster he played first singles and doubles. His solid play earned him the team MVP award and Second Team All-Conference Singles Honors. He finished his career with an impressive 90 wins in singles and doubles play.
To this day, Grab can’t find a way off the tennis court as he is still playing some of his best and most competitive tennis today. Known in the tennis community for his insane speed on the court and his will to win Grab is still a huge threat today. Prep junior Joe DeMarco, who plays first singles for the Ramblers said, “You always know Pat is going to give you his all. I’m shocked at the way he moves. I’ve found myself celebrating a great shot to only see it come right back.”
Grab plays annually in the Erie City Recreational Singles and Doubles Tournament held over the summer at Frontier Park. This is the highest level tournament held in the Erie area as the city’s best juniors and adults play for the title.
Over the years Grab has made this his bread and butter tournament, winning the singles title a record-tying five times, including both titles in 2014 and 2016 when he defeated Prep coach and former Penn State tennis player Pat
DeMarco and won the men’s open doubles with close friend Jared Skemp. “The game of tennis has been such an important part of my life. I’ve honestly gotten more out of this sport than I could have ever imagined,” Grab said. “Some of my best experiences and best friendships are a result of being on a tennis team.”
Since his graduation from Wooster, Grab has become a certified tennis professional with the Professional Tennis Registry and coaches at the Westwood Racquet Club. He has coached many of Erie’s best tennis players and has met some of the world’s greatest players, including Roger Federer and Andy Murray when worked in the locker room of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, and ATP 1000 events.
Grab has coached the Cathedral Prep tennis team since 2010. During his time he has coached two Doubles State Championship Teams, including last year’s gold medal team of Joe and Matt DeMarco.
Outside of tennis, Grab is a real estate agent at the Coldwell Banker Commercial Office and also runs his own web design business. Also an avid artist, Grab met Sam Querrey, an American professional tennis player after one of his pieces caught his attention. Grab was able to fly out to California to spend four days with Sam. He spent some time taking photographs that were later used for his drawings. “It was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” Grab said.
Grab now lives in Erie with his wife Emily and their young son Connor. Grab said Connor will continue in his footsteps. “Connor is destined to be a Rambler. I can’t wait for him to experience the greatest high school around!”
One of Grab’s greatest memories at Prep was being a “P-Flopper,” which was a group of “cheerleaders” that performed during the halftime of football and basketball games. They would run out onto the field using their athletic ability and coordination to spell out P-R-E-P with their bodies. Every halftime show was a different routine filled with props and themes.
Mrs. Slaby, one of the faculty advisers of the P-Floppers said, “Pat was an instrumental part of our team. My best year at Prep was being able to work with him and those guys. It’s something that I will never forget.”
Though his years at Prep are over Grab says he still attends many Prep events and is always encouraging anyone to attend Prep. “The school is a life changer. There are kids I talk to, who have thanked me for helping them choose Prep. This place is special.”
He said his time at Prep were some of the best years of his life. He still has many close friends and great memories that will last him a lifetime. “I am very fortunate to have gone to Prep and to be part of this incredible brotherhood.”
Alec Thomas is a former staff writer of The Rambler and a member of the Cathedral Prep Class of 2018.