Elkhart Central boys tennis transitioning from Whittaker to Wiskotoni

Ex-coach says he’s ’feeling great.’ Plus, a capsule look at all area boys tennis teams as the 2014 season nears.

Posted on Aug. 14, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.

Coaching giant Dave Whittaker still has a presence at Elkhart Central boys tennis practices, even if he’s not actually in attendance.

“Every so often, I’ll yell out Whitt’s name because I have to do all the paperwork now,” new Blue Blazer head coach and longtime assistant Ric Wiskotoni said this week, “and the kids will be like, ‘Whitt? Where?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m just cursing him.’”

Such moments aside, Wiskotoni says the transition is “going well” both for himself and the players, and speaking of going well, the former coach has been doing well, too.

“I’m feeling great,” Whittaker said Thursday, Aug. 14. “Much, much better.”

Elkhart Central’s all-time varsity leader in coaching wins for any combination of sports at 528, Whittaker suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery in March.

Though he did later consider returning, Whittaker ultimately made his retirement from both his boys and girls tennis head coaching positions official after 48 combined seasons.

Wiskotoni was tabbed July 17 to replace him in both roles.

“Oh my gosh, yes,” Whittaker said of whether he endorsed his assistant of 22 years as his successor. “I’ve never seen Ric want something so much as this, and he’ll do a great job.”

Nevertheless, Whittaker said his choice to retire as a coach — he remains a teacher at West Side Middle School — was “not at all” contingent on Wiskotoni getting the job.

“(Wife) Debbi and I talked about it, and I just didn’t need the stress anymore,” Whittaker said. “Teaching and coming home and having a normal routine sounds good instead of eating at 9 o’clock every night. It’s just something that wasn’t necessary anymore.”

Whittaker said he’s lost about 30 pounds since his surgery and is biking regularly — though he has been battling a problematic chain on his new bicycle lately.

The ex-coach said he may drop in on a few matches this fall “just to watch,” and Wiskotoni said he hopes his longtime boss does so.

If Whittaker does, he’ll find plenty of familiar faces.

The Blue Blazers return all seven lettermen from their 9-13 team of a year ago. They’ve also added a couple veterans via the transfer route in Adam DeShone (No. 1 doubles at Jimtown last fall) and Ben Weaver (No. 3 singles at Edwardsburg).

Eric Burton, who had a winning record at No. 1 singles, is the favorite to handle that spot again.



Coach: Matt Miller (131-76 in 11 seasons at Bethany).

Assistants: Seth Krabill, Daniel Buschert.

2013 record: 15-5.

Lettermen lost: 3.

Returning lettermen: 4. Seniors — Jesse Amstutz, Sol Brenneman, Hans Miller, Landon Weldy.

Others: Senior — Ryan Duckworth. Junior — Ethan Lapp. Sophomores — Jacob Gonsalves, Simon Hurst, Jackson King, Byeong Min Lim, Bryce Miller, Lane Miller, Brandon Nguyen, Daniel Robles. Freshmen — Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes, Dustin Miller, Joel Yoder, Jonathon Yousey.

Opener: Aug. 18 at Jimtown.

Noting: Jesse Amstutz moves from 2 singles to 1 singles with the graduation of Abe Thorne. Amstutz went 15-5 last fall, his results exactly mirroring the team’s decision in each match.



Coach: Todd Denton (85-27 in 6 seasons at Concord).

Assistants: Matt Reverman, Andre Ziebold, Trevor Warren.

2013 record: 15-5 (6-1 NLC, round-robin tri--champ; Concord Sectional champ; Concord Regional champ).

Lettermen lost: 6.

Returning lettermen: 5. Seniors — Aaron Allen, Spencer Jaenichen. Juniors — Mitch Boyer, Riley Huffer. Sophomore — Nathan Hermon.

Others: Juniors — Braden Fish, My’kell McGee. Sophomores — Gideon Butler, Alex Dias, Jake Lovette, Tate Nicoson, Brandon Pletcher. Freshmen — Will Boyer, Broc Johnson, Jacob Shetterly.

Opener: Aug. 20 at Bremen.

Noting: Freshman Will Boyer is a top contender to take over at No. 1 after the Minutemen graduated all three singles starters.



Coach: Ric Wiskotoni (first season).

Assistants: Drew Bond, Austin Sellers.

2013 record: 9-13 (4-4 NIC).

Lettermen lost: 0.

Returning lettermen: 7. Seniors — Eric Burton, Scott Hanberg, Will Riblet. Juniors — Alex Booyer, Curtis Hill, Christian Lankford. Sophomore — Andrew Salmon.

Others: Senior — Ben Weaver (lettered at Edwardsburg). Juniors — Raleigh Ball, Nick Buitendorp, Adam DeShone (lettered at Jimtown), Joe Iavagnilio, Langston Johnson, Gabe Lindholm, Riley Norris, Ben Oakley, Manuel Sanchez, Matt Stutzman. Sophomores — Keith Hartzler, Jacob Stout. Freshmen — Michael Beveridge, Bryce Daub, Adam Moon, Jared Reid, Michael Wyse.

Opener: Aug. 20 at NorthWood.

Noting: The Blazers return their entire lineup from a year ago and have added two transfers in Adam DeShone and Ben Weaver.



Coach: Matt Grubb (0-15 in 1 season at Memorial).

Assistants: Christy Grubb, David Kovas, Joe Rallo.

2013 record: 0-15 (0-7 NLC).

Lettermen lost: 2.

Returning lettermen: 5. Juniors — Jon Bailey, Brenden Graber, Stephen Tefft. Sophomores — Justin Walter, Brett Wilson.

Others: Seniors — Dan Asbury, Nick Brewers, Nick Leon, Dallas Lundgren, Justin Zupsich. Juniors — Alec Mark, Eiler Almaraz. Sophomores — Travis Culp, Dylan Lundgren, Cole Maddux, Jaysen Miller, Khalek Sengsone, Anthony Simeri, Spencer Swift. Freshmen — Pierre Archie, Grant Mullet, Jordan Siddons.

Opener: Aug. 20 at SB Adams.

Noting: The Chargers return five starters, including all of their No. 1s.



Coach: Mike Filbrun (291-89 in 19 seasons at Fairfield).

Assistant: Lonney Filbrun.

2013 record: 17-4 (8-0 NECC, round-robin champ; Goshen Sectional champ).

Lettermen lost: 3.

Returning lettermen: 5. Seniors — Nathan Azzarito, Andrew Hoover, Landyn Nunemaker, Adam Yoder. Sophomore — Isaac Miller.

Others: Senior — Joe Line. Junior — Aaron Miller. Sophomores — Clayton Bender, Joey Gibson, Jesse Grimm, Joel Kropf, Aaron Skibbe, Mitchell Yoder. Freshmen — Jarin Bontrager, Jediah Corbin, Dylan Kaufman, Tucker Miller.

Opener: Aug. 21 vs. Bremen.

Noting: With the graduation of singles standout Austin Christner (24-2 at No. 1), Adam Yoder takes over the top slot. He was 22-4 as a junior at 2.



Coach: Daniel Love (49-48 in 6 seasons at Goshen).

Assistant: Mark Saner.

2013 record: 14-7 (3-4 NLC).

Lettermen lost: 2.

Returning lettermen: 7. Seniors — Zach Ganger, Zach Troyer, Andrew Vetter, Peter Vukovich. Juniors — Hudson Kay, Luke Rush. Sophomore — Logan Troyer.

Others: Juniors — Givanni Aguayo, Evan Beck, Corbin Harrison, Drake Hostetler, Dirk Oyer, Andrew Weddle. Sophomores — Hugh Birkey, Nathan Burns, Jacob Grewe, Evan Krabill, Oscar Peterson-Veatch, Bobby Sessa, Aidan Strite, Nathan Wertz. Freshman — Keenan Baker.

Opener: Aug. 18 at Mishawaka.

Noting: Hudson Kay returns at No. 1 singles for the Redskins.



Coach: Steve Fledderman (311-284 in 33 seasons at Jimtown).

Assistants: Todd Tharp, Austin Ward.

2013 record: 6-11 (4-2 NSC).

Lettermen lost: 3.

Returning lettermen: Seniors — Brock Johnson, Mikey Pawlak. Juniors — Ben Janowski, Isaac Pope, Hunter Price.

Others: Senior — Jesse Oakley. Junior — Addison Leiler. Sophomores — Matt DeCloedt, Jarod Hohls. Freshmen — Ben Clarke, Connor Corl, Eli DeLeon, Michael Gray, Holden Price.

Opener: Aug. 18 vs. Bethany Christian.

Noting: Mikey Pawlak returns at No. 1 singles, where he was 11-11 a year ago



Coach: Evan Atkinson (43-36 in 5 seasons at Northridge).

Assistants: Brad Barker, Bruce Grevengoed.

2013 record: 5-11 (3-4 NLC).

Lettermen lost: 2.

Returning lettermen: 5. Seniors — Landon Arnold, Ted Field, Sam Hoover. Juniors — Aardarsh Patel, Austen Schmidt.

Others: Juniors — Jate Cross, Austin Melvin. Sophomores — James Dugle, Aman Patel, Luke Wogoman. Freshmen — Logan Corns, Eric Firstenberger, Alex Gingerich, Simon Grevengoed, Isaiah Zuercher.

Opener: Aug. 19 at Bethany Christian.

Noting: Landon Arnold, who played doubles last fall, is a leading contender to succeed graduated Josh Garfein at No. 1 singles.



Coach: Tif Schwartz (56-116 in 11 seasons at NorthWood).

Assistants: Zac McGowan, Stan Beehler, Adam Wachtman.

2013 record: 8-9 (2-5 NLC).

Lettermen lost: 6.

Returning lettermen: 5. Seniors — Devyn Maugel, Ryan Menzie, Nick Myers, Quinn Stillson, Caleb Yoder.

Others: Seniors — Spencer Abel, Cooper Clark, Sean Linhart, Evan Nix. Juniors — Brock Beehler, Nate Nunemaker, Jarrett Skaggs, Zach Snider. Sophomores — Matt Checkley, Court Clark, Chandler Gillam, Breyden Stankovich, Cameron Stillson. Freshmen — Drew Flickinger, Jarod Hoffman, Trevor Klotz, Brant Mast, Jacob Mestach, Nick Sherk, Brennan Yoder.

Opener: Aug. 19 at Jimtown.

Noting: Quinn Stillson and Caleb Yoder finished 20-4 at No. 1 doubles to go with NLC Tournament runner-up honors a year ago.



Coach: Eric Bowers (69-15 in 4 seasons at Penn).

Assistants: David Martin, Preston Swain, Aaron Horvath.

2013 record: 21-4 (8-0 NIC; Penn Sectional champ; Portage Regional champ; Culver Academy 2 champ).

Lettermen lost: 2.

Returning lettermen: 6. Seniors — Brendan Butler, Jacob Macri, Michael Wang. Junior — Tyler Styles. Sophomores — Stuart Feeley, Mason Lee.

Others: Seniors — Ben Collier, Justin Grocock, Justice Lawson. Juniors — Edward Atkinson, Thomas Gifford, Tim Porsche. Sophomore — Owen Kleppe.

Opener: Aug. 21 vs. Warsaw.

Noting: Two-time defending NIC MVP and all-state first-teamer Michael Wang returns at No. 1 singles after going 24-3 last fall. Four other starters also return for the semistate champs.



Coach: Vince Rhodes (8-8 in 1 season at Wawasee).

Assistant: Shane Staley.

2013 record: 8-8 (2-5 NLC).

Lettermen lost: 5.

Returning lettermen: 3. Seniors — Todd Hauser, Jake Hutchinson. Junior — Cal Heinisch.

Others: Seniors — Brayton Fritz, Leonard Kline, Tyler Rhodes, Derek Stutzman. Junior — Chase Jones. Sophomores — Cameron Brill, Tim Conway, Nate Haines, Austin Kline, Evan Krueger, Nathan Perek. Freshman — Dylan Staley.

Opener: Aug. 18 vs. Manchester.

Noting: The Warriors surged from 1-15 to 8-8 in Vince Rhodes’ first season.



Coach: Ryan Yoder (40-27 in 4 seasons at Westview).

Assistant: Alejandro Marin.

2013 record: 13-5 (6-2 NECC).

Lettermen lost: 4.

Returning lettermen: 4. Seniors — Taylor Eash, Stephen Gierek. Juniors — Zach Schrock, Andrew Yoder.

Others: Juniors — Benson Stoltzfus, Alex Stuzman. Sophomores — Jeryl Weaver, Trey Zabona.

Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Warsaw.

Noting: The Warriors, who improved from 4-11 in 2012 to 13-5 last season, must replace each of their No. 1s.



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