Alexander 'Xander' Katona, Poly graduate who planned to study ecology, dies at 21

He was an avid baseball fan, and Polytechnic has announced a Xander Katona Memorial Holiday Tournament, a base

Alexander Lee "Xander" Katona, a recent marine science graduate from the University of Miami who had plans to pursue trophic ecology, the study of food chains in ecosystems, died of cardiac arrest related an undiagnosed heart condition Nov. 8 in Gainesville, Fla.

The Hamilton resident was 21.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Joseph M. Katona, who owns a computer repair firm, and Shannon Thompson Katona, an educational worker. He attended Roland Park Elementary and Middle School and was a 2011 graduate of Polytechnic Institute, where he studied in the Ingenuity Project. He played squash and was the baseball team manager.

He was active in after-school activities and participated in the Odyssey Club and the school's "It's Academic" team.

After graduating from Polytechnic, he toured Europe with a school group.

"He minored in chemistry and the classics," said his mother, who works in the Polytechnic computer lab. "He was a well-rounded guy. He knew baseball inside and out."

He earned a partial scholarship to the University of Miami, where he graduated in May. At his death he was living in Miami, Fla. He had recently submitted a grant to the National Science Foundation to fund doctoral work in trophic ecology..

He was a devoted Orioles fan.

Polytechnic has announced plans for a Xander Katona Memorial Holiday Tournament, a baseball event, in April.

A life celebration is planned for April 3, 2016 at the family home.

In addition to his parents, survivors include two brothers, Andrew Katona of Fairfax, Va. and Matthew Katona of Melbourne, Fla.; and his grandmother, Babah Hanson of Big Fork, Mont.

—Jacques Kelly

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