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The Elk Country Catholic Lady Crusaders and Crusaders track and field squads will be anchored by 26 returning letter winners and a defending state champion. The Lady Crusaders will have 12 returning letter winners, including defending state champion Megan Dornisch in the shot put, while the Crusaders will have 14 returning letter winners.
Besides Dornisch on the Lady Crusaders side, Coach John Schneider will have senior letter winners Molly Eshbach, Emily Gregory, Tess Onink, Ellie Petrosky and Kate Singer returning, along with junior letter winners Abbi Petrosky and Maggie Sorg, and sophomore returnees Elizabeth Nicklas and Morgan Onink.
Returning letter winners for the boys will be seniors Jared Schaut, Josh Gebauer, Daniel Steudler, Harley Thompson and Andrew Wolfe, juniors Joe Georgino, Jacob Herbstritt, Joe Hoffman, Michael Jacob, Daniel Johnson, Caleb Lecker and Sam Moseberger, and sophomores Ryan Detsch and Robert Prokop.
"As we enter the 2011 season, on the experience side, we do bring a significant number of state meet participants and district qualifiers from 2010. Over the first few weeks this group has set some high goals for themselves and has been practicing in a manner consistent with their high goals," said Schneider. "The younger members of the team have been training hard as well. With the numbers lower this season we are going to rely on the ninth and 10th grade members more than we have in the past to step into some key positions early in the season.
"For the boys' team, I see our main strengths in the mid-distance and distance events, as well as the jumps, with individuals like Harley Thompson, Caleb Lecker, Dan Steudler and Jared Schaut all returning as state meet participants in 2010. We are going to have less experience in the sprints, hurdles and throws, but I believe that we will quickly improve in those areas as the season progresses. We are going to make an effort to put together some relay teams that can advance to the state meet and we have a good foundation returning in the 4 x 400.
"For the girls' team, we bring back state champion Megan Dornisch in the throws as she looks to defend her first-place shot put finish in 2011. We also have strong performers in the distance events, with Kennedy Weisner and Maggie Sorg leading the distance group. "Kennedy has had a strong winter coming off her second-place finish at cross-country states in the fall. Emily Gregory, Tess Onink and Abbi Petrosky all return as state meet participants in 2010 and will be strong performers in the mid-distance and hurdle events. Molly Eshbach returns in the jumps as a state meet participant in 2009 and along with Helen Danz, will serve as the veteran members of the jumps squad. As with the boys, we will be thin in a few events, but hopefully can fill some of the gaps with younger squad members as the season progresses.
"District 9 is always tough in the AA category and we have a big job ahead of us if we want to live up to the success we have had in the past few seasons. The young men and ladies on the team have had some great examples to follow in the young men and women who have been in our program for the past few seasons. With the lessons they have learned, some hard work and a little luck, we hope to have a strong season."
Other members of the Lady Crusaders squad this season are include sophomores Maura Keyes and Cassie Thompson, and freshmen Emily Bush, Emma Daghir, Rachel Glatt, Danielle Healy, Leah Kucenski, Megan McKenna, Maria Scacchitti, Marla Scacchitti and Kennedy Weisner.
Other members of the Crusader squad are seniors David Bojalad, Joe Cooney and Mitchel Haberberger, juniors Ben Cappiello, Ryan Jacobs,Kevin Kraus, Mike Lovenduski and Nick Skok, sophomores Mitchell Gahr and Jacob Whiteman, and freshmen Michael Dippold, Joey Ferragine, Andrew Gebauer, Ben Herbstritt, Dylan Hodgdon, Matt Jerko, Corey Koss, Adam Lovenduki, Brock Sherry and Nick Werner.
Assisting Schneider in the coaching department this season will be Wee J. Fernan, Mike Sherry, Ed Kornacki, Stan Kornacki, Sharon Weisner, Steve Dellaquila and Mike Werner.