By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Boys cross country preview capsules for the 2023 season:
Head Coach: Jim Schweickert, 13th year.
Coaching Staff: Greg Cicero.
2022 Record: Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division champions.
Returning Lettermen (6): Grayson Sanwald, sr.; Augie Schweickert, jr.; Kevin Vechery, jr.; Cadyn Wurm, jr.; Garrett Byers, soph.
Lettermen Lost (1): Henry Hoover.
General Outlook: “We return all but one runner from last year,” Schweickert said. “The team should be improved over last year, with a couple of First Team and Second Team (all-league) runners returning. Our team size is up a little to 11 runners. The new division alignments have made our division significantly more competitive. We can be competitive with many of those teams, with the exception of Hawken.”
Runners: Augie Schweickert is the Devils’ top returner, He placed third in the division last year and was a regional qualifier in the 800 meters last spring on the track team.
Kevin Vechery was eighth in the vision last year and is in “good shape from summer running,” according to Schweickert.
Hans Sebold is only in his second year running, but proved to be a strong contributor last year and placed 14th overall at the division.
Garrett Byers was a varsity runner as a freshman.
“He had a good summer of training and is in good shape and ready for big improvements.”
Josh Delaney did not run last year as a junior, because he was working his way back from a foot injury in track. He returns healthy this season.
Grayson Sanwald was 17th at the division meet last year, and personally, earned his Eagle Scout honors this summer.
Additional runners include Cadyn Wurm, Austin Wurm, Michael Fergus, Taylor Mars and Andrew Menteen.
Head Coach: Ed Conroy, 18th year.
Coaching Staff: Becky Scott.
2022 Record: 3rd at Metro Athletic Conference meet. Regional qualifiers in Boardman.
Returning Lettermen (6): Sean Silk, sr.; Carter Little, sr.; Parker Shutty, jr.; Billy Silk, sr.; Logan Pollard, jr.; Evan Pruszynski, soph.
Lettermen Lost (1): Ammon Hottensmith.
General Outlook: “This year’s team is loaded with experienced runners,” Conroy said. “The key is to be patient throughout the season and work together to be ready for the important races at the end of the season. The boys need to stay healthy and learn to race competitively as a team.”
Runners: The team is led by seniors Sean Silk and Carter Little.
“Sean was the only runner to place in the league last year, but I know this team can do great things if they put their minds to it.”
Silk, and Little were both key runners on the Falcons’ 2021 state-qualifying team.
Billy Silk has worked “extremely hard” and is expected to be a strong runner this season.
Other key runners include Parker Shutty, Lucas Pollard, Chip Wagner, Evan Pruszynski and Mason Prusha.
Head Coach: Matt Pfleger, 3rd year.
Coaching Staff: None.
2022 Record: 3rd at Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference.
Returning Lettermen (6): Cyrus Romecki, sr.; Nick Edic, jr.; Derek Blunk, soph.; Holden Kissell, soph.; Derik Stanley, soph.; Dakota Stanley, soph.
Lettermen Lost (4): Kyle Schaefer, Ben Garlic, Max May, Jack Rado.
General Outlook: “We are extremely young, with only two upperclassmen and nine underclassmen,” Pfleger said. “With that being said, I am extremely excited to see what the young men can do. With a great group of returning lettermen from last year and a group of talented freshmen, these young men should have a competitive season at the conference and district level.”
Runners: Cyrus Romecki and Nick Edic really “stepped up this off-season,” according to Pfleger, “leading this young group of runners.”
The G-Men did lose a solid group of seniors from 2022’s roster, but there are runners that are ready to step in and fill new spots.
“We have a very strong group of sophomore runners, who have improved greatly this summer.”
Derek Blunk, Derik Stanley, Holden Kissell and Dakota Stanley battle every day during workouts, according to Pfleger.
“I can’t wait to see what kind of times they post.”
Additionally, the G-Men have five freshmen that will provide a boost to the team.
“All five of them come in with their own strengths and definitely will help us a lot this season.”
The group of freshmen include Jaden Lansberry-Foreman, Aaron Evans, Abe Wohlever, Ryan Stonestreet and Cole Porter.
Head Coach: Matt Pazderak, 2nd year.
Coaching Staff: Kaylie Weigel, Ken Claypoole.
2022 Record: 7th at Suburban League American Division.
Returning Lettermen (7): Ethan Young, sr.; Carter Slack, jr.; Cor Asp, jr.; Diego Coutino Granados, jr.; Alex Simms, jr.; Carter Stevenson, soph.; Dean Foster, soph.
Lettermen Lost (1): Duncan Bryck.
General Outlook: “We are excited for the season,” Pazderak said. “We are looking forward to building on our successes and momentum from last season. We had many athletes put in training during the summer, and we have added a promising group of freshmen.”
Runners: Pazderak pointed to Ethan Young, Carter Slack, Diego Coutino Granados, Alex Simms, Carter Stevenson, Colt Jurovcik, Dean Foster as runners to watch.
Freshman Caleb Gilliland may also have an opportunity to contribute.
Head Coach: Diana Morris, 8th year.
Coaching Staff: Job Christiansen.
2022 Record: Portage Trail Conference champions and regional qualifiers.
Returning Lettermen (3): Ryan Keren, sr.; Dante Navarrete, jr.; Cam Brady, soph.
Lettermen Lost (4): Alejandro Navarrete, Daniel Carter, Aiden Roman, Jon Cumberlidge.
General Outlook: “The excitement is high right out of the gate,” Morris said. “With having five seniors last year, the boys are in a time of rebuild. We have three strong lettermen, with captain and senior Ryan Keren leading the charge.”
Runners: The Wildcats’ leading group includes Ryan Keren, Dante Navarrete, Cameron Brady, as well as sophomore Cole Barcus and Preston Pierce and freshman Jack Lane.
Head Coach: Ashley Williams, 10th year.
Coaching Staff: Emma Lunardi.
2022 Record: Not enough runners to place.
Returning Lettermen (2): Dakota Bishop, sr.; Ruben Simmons, jr.
Lettermen Lost (1): Ben Rainone.
General Outlook: “This season holds the promise of growth and team building,” Williams said.
Runners: Dakota Bishop and Ruben Simmons lead the Ravens this season.
“Both have demonstrated remarkable growth, showcasing enhanced endurance and a better understanding of racing strategy.”
Head Coach: Larry Bailey, 41st year.
Coaching Staff: Kyle Rodstrom.
2022 Record: 2nd at Portage Trail Conference meet.
Returning Lettermen (6): Luke Flowers, jr.; Nathan Lee, jr.; Dylan Wilfog, jr.; Jacob Sturm, soph.; Brady Brown, soph.; Wyatt Shenal, soph.
Lettermen Lost (1): Caleb Cutright.
General Outlook: “We should challenge Mogadore for the league title and possibly qualify to the regional meet,” Bailey said.
Runners: Luke Flowers, Brady Brown, Wyatt Shenal and Jacob Sturm both earned All-PTC honors last year, with Sturm, Shenal and Brown doing so as freshmen.
Dylan Wilfong, Nathan Lee and Brayden Dougherty are a new class of freshman that enter the high-school program with success — winners of the middle school PTC Super Dual meet.
Other key runners from the freshmen class include Isaac Simkanin, Jamie Lee, Tycho Smock, Nigel Wright and Anthony Pratt.
“Most of our freshmen will challenge for a varsity spot.”
Head Coach: Monica Kiskadden, 3rd year.
Coaching Staff: Julia Dillon, Kelli Simmons, Kate Campbell.
2022 Record: 3rd at Portage Trail Conference meet.
Returning Lettermen (4): Carter Evans, Brice Schoenbaechler, Dylan Evans, Logan Bruderly.
Lettermen Lost (4): Christian Schoblocher, Braydon Rader, Michael Simmons, Deian Longgood.
General Outlook: “We lost some integral lettermen from last year, but Carter Evans is a team leader,” Kiskadden said.
Runners: Evans spotlights the group.
“He continues to bring work ethic and leadership to each and every practice. He has fine-tuned his running program and has his sights on regionals and beyond.”
Dylan Evans continues to improve.
“He attended camp this year with Carter and learned he has what it takes to run with the head of the pack. He has the ability to show great leadership to our team of young runners. He is positive and always attacks the aches and pains of running with humor.”
Brice Schoenbaechler was the team’s Perseverance Award last season.
“He continues to show the individual drive needed in cross country. He attends Bio-Med and has a different schedule, so he has to run on his own and unlike many student-athletes, he does. Ankle issues have plagued his summer running, but we are hoping he will be race-ready by the end of August.”
Logan Bruderly is another runner that has continued to show improvement year in and year out, despite struggling through injuries last season.
“He approaches difficult runs with a smile and infectious laugh. He is healthy and ready to make a mark.”
Matt Fields, who is a co-captain on the Pirates’ soccer team, joins the cross country team after running with the group “for fun” last year.
“I have coached Matt in track since middle school, so I know the talent he brings to the team. He has the determination to be a top runner in our program, and we are excited to see how he performs.”
Hunter Nutter, a freshman, has quickly developed into a solid runner, according to Kiskadden.
“He listens and effectively adjusts.”
Head Coach: Jon Hannan, 10th year.
Coaching Staff: Angela Novotny, Larry Hoffman.
2022 Record: 4th at Metro Athletic Conference meet.
Returning Lettermen (5): Mario Puleo, sr.; Charles Ivory, jr.; Timothy Harkleroad, jr.; Hayden Brown, jr.; Marcus Peters, soph.
Lettermen Lost (4): Zach Vales, Kevin Murphey, Mike Rogowski, James Woods.
General Outlook: “Overall, we return five lettermen and are very young, yet experienced,” Hannan said. “We also have a few new runners that provide a positive hope for depth. I believe we will finish near the middle of the MAC like we did last year.
“We lose the best runner in school history with the graduation of Zach Vales, but we look to provide a solid core of boys that can run in the low 18s.”
Runners: Mario Puleo is the only senior on the team and captain.
“He is projected to be one of our top runners.”
Charles Ivory, along with Tim Harkleroad, Hayden Brown and Marcus Peters are all expected to be key contributors.
The Rockets also feature a group of promising newcomers, including sophomore Braden Hodge. Freshman Ares Miller, freshman Ty Zipprich, as well as Drew Miller, Frank Dottore and Chris Daniels.
Head Coach: Steve McDaniel, 35th year.
Coaching Staff: None.
2022 Record: Not enough runners to place.
Returning Lettermen (1): Jeremiah Willis.
Lettermen Lost: None.
Runners: Jeremiah Willis earned Honorable Mention All-Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference last season.
Newcomer James Blackburn, a sophomore, is also expected to make key contributions.