Family atmosphere works for Elkhart Christian boys cross country

Elkhart Christian Academy looks forward to the new season with six returning letterwinners.

Posted on Aug. 27, 2014 at 9:33 a.m.

Elkhart Christian cross country coach Peter Casaletto opens the 2014 season with six letterwinners returning and plenty of competition nipping at their heels.

So how can a small private school continue to produce top talent and deep rosters while may schools struggle to fill teams?

Casaletto says the family atmosphere at ECA is a big part of it.

"I know not everyone loves to run, so I try to make it a priority to have fun in our practices and I think kids really like that,’’ Casaletto said. “I get out their and run with them and we also do a lot of workouts that are not just running distances.’’

In addition to making his practices fun, Casaletto says a trip the teams makes prior to each season helps attract athletes and adds to the family atmosphere with the Eagles.

"Those trips are a real bonding time for the kids,’’ Casaletto said. ”We bring both  teams and we work hard, but everyone also learns a lot about each other and that helps get us through the rough patches in the season.’’

Entering his 22nd year of coaching, Casaletto has a strong team led by junior Austin Springer, senior Steve Weaver, sophomore classmates Kris Waycaster and Lucas Casaletto and freshman Lucas Magaldi.

After winning sectional and regional titles last fall, Northridge coach Ryan McClane will be rebuilding somewhat after losing three strong seniors. However, junior Conner Sandt and senior Nolan Rhodes return to lead the rebuilt Raiders.

One team with plenty of returning talent is NorthWood, where head coach Ryan Bell has four of his five runners returning from a Panther team that qualified for regional competition for the first time in 22 years last fall. Sophomore Caleb Darr is the top returnee.

Goshen also figures to be strong at sectional and regional competition, as coach Mike Wynn returns a strong and experienced team that advanced to the New Haven Semistate last fall.Shawn Graves, Gerardo Abad, Jaime Castillo, and Lane Graves give Wynn the depth to contend for titles.



Coach: Benjamin Hurst

Assistant coach: Krysten Parson

Returning letterwinners: Senior: Austin Hooley.

Newcomers: Senior: Austin Hooley. Freshmen: Ronit Goswami, Jonah Hochstetler, Stuart Krahn, Trevor Miller.

Next Meet: NorthWood Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30



Coach: Matt Nicoson (third season).

Assistant coach: Gregg Lee, Andrew Witkowski.

2013: 3-6.

Returning letterwinners: Senior: Dominic Proffitt.

Newcomers: Senior: Dylan Troyer. Juniors: Luis Ledezma. Sophomores: Brandon Alley, Tyler Schwartz, Ben Current, Jonathan Gomez, Noah Nisen, Salvador Escamilla. Freshmen: Garrett Roberts, Jared Nowak, Aaaron Lopez, Luis Ortiz, Nikolas Schaw. 

Next meet: NorthWood Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30



Coach:  Matt Cummins (first year). 

Returning lettermen: David Gaff, Evan Herr-Knispel, Nate Munet, Max Schleining, Kyle Tengelitsch, Hunter Niemzyk, Ethan Maack.

Next meet: Penn Hokum Karem Saturday, Aug. 30



Coach: Peter Casaletto (22nd season).

Assistant coach: Britney Burdis

Returning letterwinners: Senior: Steve Weaver. Juniors: Austin Springer, Mac White. Sophomores: Lucas Casaletto, Garrett McKee, Kris Waycaster. 

Newcomers: Senior: Gabe Helmuth. Juniors: Jake Kersey,Noah Hibshman, Johannes Menbere. Freshman: Jon Dean, Lucas Magaldi, Chase Milfi, Sam Newland, Cole Puster, Dain Wyngarden.

Next meet: NorthWood Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30



Coach: Adam Homo (10th year).

Assistant coach: Mitch Henderson, Barry Hines, Dana Homo.

2013: 5-4.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors: Spencer Dibley, Justin Sellers, Luke Spray. Juniors: Cory Edwards, Micah Gilbert, Juan Paez, Mytchell Sellers.

Newcomers: Seniors: Abraham Castro, Tanner Faus, Jason Linn, Cruz Medrano, Brock Rhoda, Kyle Richards, Kyle Wochiechowski. Juniors: Cory Edwards, Jarrett Lauer, Ryan Lawlor, Steven Mittadam, Shivam Nathu, Michael Thomas. Sophomores: Eric Martinez, Darious Moore, Coy Price. Freshmen: Braden Baer, Kyle Cart, Yair Meneses, Kevin Pineda, Diego Puga.

Next meet: Elkhart Central, Westview at Memorial Tuesday, Sep. 2.



Coach: Chris Howell

Assistant coach: Andy Williams

Upperclassmen: Seniors: Kelby Goudev, Daniel Hartzler, Will Kercher, Jami Mitcham: Juniors: Seth Hoffman, Mitch Holsopple, Mason Kintiah, Ethan Miller.

Underclassmen: Sophomores: Spencer Toriot, Landon Miller. Freshmen: Xander Lerch, Ethan Wesseler.

Next meet: Prairie Heights Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Mike Wynn (22nd year).

Assistant coach: Tara Sparks, Chris DuBois

2013: Regional and semisate qualifiers.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors: Gerardo Abad, Jaime Castillo, Joel Byler, Jose Ortiz, Shawn Graves. Junior: Erik Villegas. 

Next meet: Penn Hokum Karem Saturday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Joe Linville (21st season).

Assistant coach: Marty Moyer.

2013: 6-7.

Returning letterwinners: Seniors: Travis Holderread, Brooks Isenbarger. Juniors: Blane Bender, Dylan Dickson, Jake Gorbics, Brian Hernandez, Justin LePla, Nick Trevino, Jake Vicsik. Sophomores: Nick Chancellor, Ryan Holman.

Newcomers: Seniors: Keegan Mawhorter, Jay Franco. Junior: Clay Landis. Sophomore: Blake Landon.

Next meet: NorthWood Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Ryan McClane

Assistant coach: Andy Williams.

Upperclassmen: Seniors: Nolan Rhodes, Luke Riffell. Juniors: Riley Gorden, Conner Sandt, Mitchell Schrock.

Underclassmen: Sophomores: Justin Ayres, Ben Zuercher, Andy Kauffman, Corey Kirkpatrick, Blake Mawhorter, Joshua Middleton, Reese Reschly, Logan Riffell Nahtna Williams. Freshman: Austin Clark, Christian Kauffman, Jaimison King, Tyler Overmyer, Andrew Royer, Trevor Sallee.

Next meet: DeKalb Invitational Satursday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Justin Bell

Assistant coach: Adam Polhemus.

2013: Fourth in Elkhart Sectional.

Upperclassmen: Seniors: Garrett Flowers, Nick Skwarcan. Juniors: Ryne Venable, Ethan Silveus, Kendrick Steensma, Ryan Price, Teagan Stutsman, Marcus Hershberger, Zach Ferreira Nathaniel Williams, Michael Bowen, Mason Pippenger, Logan Berger, Conner Yoder, Kevin Schrock, Dylan Carter.

Underclassmen: Sophomores: Austin Shapland, Caleb Darr, Zac Smallwood, Jonathan Dauber, Noah Price, Emanuel Olvera, Kieran Schrock, Jobany Herrera. Freshmen: Colton Silveus, Cameron Hershberger, Cole Minder, Arron Smith, Nate Mikel, Bryce Clouse.

Next meet: NorthWood Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Doug Slabaugh.

Assistant coach: Staci Weisser, Jeid Stoffel, Dave Stookey.

2013: 7-3.

Returning letterwinners: Zach Cockrill, Jaxon Bame, Troy Carolus Sam Griner, Erick Diaz.

Newcomers: Brady Robinson, Stori Bright, Ronny Shortt, Tristin Ponsler.

Next meet: Prairie Heights Invitational Saturday, Aug. 30.



Coach: Les Hively

Assistant coach: Jon Cook.

Upperclassmen: Seniors: Daniel Flores, Matt Miller. Juniors: Brock Miller, Kyle Miller, Spencer Shank.

Underclassmen: Sophomores: Coby Knowles, Derek Miller. Freshman: Carson EAsh, Abe Jones, Mason Jones, Richmond Stolzfus, Matthew Yoder.

Next meet: Lakeland, Prairie Heights at Westview, Tuesday Sep. 2.


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