Plenty of stars returning for more

With a couple of state medalists and district champion runners returning to their respective schools for this year’s cross country season, it looks to be another strong year for area boys teams.

Altoona, led by returning District 6 Class AAA champion Dominic Stroh and state medalist Brad Foust, will look to regain its district champion status for the sixth time in eight years.

Meanwhile, Bedford junior and District 6 Class AA champion William Kachman, who finished third at states last year, looks to lead his squad back to the top after finishing second in 2013.

Altoona’s Joe Uliano, a Mirror first-team selection a year ago, and Bedford’s Zane Baker, a returning state qualifier who finished fourth in the district meet a year ago, should help their school’s push for the team titles.

Returning Class A champion Central Cambria will move up to Class AA. It returns two strong junior runners in Mirror first-teamer Bryce Descavich, as well as Javaunte Neumann, who finished in third at the district meet last year.

Area teams feature two new coaches in Hollidaysburg’s Travis Singer and Northern Cambria’s Kevin Staruch, while second-year coaches in Bishop Carroll’s Jeremiah Grosser and Philipsburg-Osceola’s Heather Sagaities look to improve on last year’s marks.

Here is a capsule look at area teams in the Mirror coverage area.


Coach: Lee Baranik, 34th year

Career record: 205-32

Conference: None

Returning letterwinners: Brad Foust, sr.; Dominic Stroh, sr.; Jerrod Sunderland, sr.; Joe Uliano, jr.

Other returnees: Josh Henry, sr.; Dima Kunstbeck, sr.; Brett George, jr.; Cody Kelly, jr.; Kevin Smith, jr.; Andy Toth, jr.; Brady McCarthy, so.; Dillan Murphy, so.; Mike Stumpf, so.

Newcomers: Josh Brown, so.; Azare Mercer, so.; Shane Rhone, so.; Dylan Urban, so.; Josh Blake, fr.; Hayden Boutiller, fr.; Avery McGinnis, fr.; Greg Williams, fr.

Strengths: “Eight of our returning runners have varsity experience. Four of the eight were regular varsity runners during the 2013 season, and they are aware of other runners in the state as well as the courses they will compete on this season.”

Concerns: “Our major concern is our tough schedule which we like, but by the end of the season, it will wear down runners who have not put in a solid summer of training.”

Overall outlook: “We are very positive as we play to be a force in District 6, and one of our goals is to win the championship. Dominic Stroh was the district champion last season and Brad Foust was third. Brad also finished in the top 25 in the state in Hershey at the state championships. All of our returning lettermen should be threats in every race they run this season.”

Assistant coaches: Jim D’Angelo, Travis Etters, Justin Genovese, Todd Runk


Coach: Michele Fisher, eighth year

Career record: 61-49

Last year’s record: 14-6 (4-7 LHAC)

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: William Kachman, jr.; Zane Baker, jr.; Kyle Mehle, sr.; Logan Tew, so.; Kyle Pittman, sr.; George Zubak, sr.

Other returnees: Chris Koontz, sr., Jeffrey Yang, jr.; Matt Turner, jr.; Daniel Brett, jr.;

Newcomers: Matt Zubak, so.; Leon Yang, so,; Jacob Mehle, so.; David Kravats, so.

Overall outlook: “Returning state medalist William Kachman and state qualifier Zane Baker will lead the team. The team has experience with six returning letterwinners on the squad. The team has a goal of winning the District 6 team title this year.”

Assistant coaches: Matt Kline, Jeff Hamilton


Coach: Julie Roseborough, 21st year

Career record: 135-101

Last year’s record: 3-7

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning letterwinners: Isaac Mills, sr.; Aaron Mogle, sr.; Kyle Himes, sr.; Jon Killinger, jr.; Luke Hollingshead, jr.

Newcomers: Caleb Knisely, sr.; Hayden McClellan, jr.; Chris Henry, jr.; Brayton Coover, so.; Corey George, so.; Robert Van Kirk, fr.

Strengths: “We have several good experienced runners and some of the newcomers will help us.”

Concerns: “Our newcomers need some experience.”

Overall outlook: “We could have a good season.”

Assistant coaches: Chris Brown, Rhonda Mills

Bishop Carroll

Coach: Jeremiah Grosser, second year

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Kevin Blais, MItchell Hogue, Ryan Karlheim, Jimmy Wyland

Newcomers: Nate Berk, Nate Krug, Nick Moschgat, Michael Motchenbaugh, Edward Muriceak, Evan Rieg

Strengths: “We have a core group of athletes that are dedicated and hard-working.”

Concerns: “We do not have the numbers we need to have a competitive team. We are still a young team with no seniors.”

Overall outlook: “We have strong individual runners that will do well this year.”

Junior high coaches: Michelle Wetzel

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic

Coach: Joe Bilka, 17th year

Last year’s record: 0-10

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Mike Yahner, so.; Michael Elder, so.

Other returnees: Joey Stevens, fr.; Adam Spencer, fr.; Ryan Berger, fr.

Newcomers: William Guzic, sr.; Bryce Dunio, fr.; Matthew Foster, fr.; Blake Slobodnik, fr.

Strengths: “We have numbers this year that enable us to compete on a consistent basis and in some cases we will run some JVs.”

Concerns: “We are very young and we are freshman laden. It will be interesting to see how our young runners develop over the season.”

Overall outlook: “It should be a better season than last year and I expect to see improvement in all areas.”

Assistant coaches: Vicki Bilka

Junior high coaches: Joe Bilka, Vicki Bilka

Cambria Heights

Coach: John Kuskoski, 22nd year

Career record: 143-144

Last year’s record: 5-14 (2-8 LHAC)

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conferece

Returning starters: Michael Dautlick, sr.

Other returnees: Michael McConnell, jr.; Michael Shuss, jr.

Strengths: “Great work ethic.”

Concerns: “Roster number, endangerment as a team.”

Overall outlook: “With added runners, this program could improve upon last year’s record.”

Assistant coaches: Kathryn Kuskoski, Deborah Link, Shannon Link

Junior high coaches: Kathryn Kuskoski, Deborah Link, Shannon Link


Coach: Ray Brooks, third year

Career record: 11-20

Last year’s record: 10-10

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Patrick Davis, sr.; Nathan Smith, sr.; Steven Bowman, sr; Tanner Grove, so.

Newcomers: Bryce Biddle, jr.; Brock Biddle, so.; Tanner Eckenrode, fr.

Strengths: “Good group of young men along with good work ethic.”

Concerns: “Numbers.”

Overall outlook: “Looking forward to a good season.”

Central Cambria

Coach: Randy Wilson, 15th year

Career Record: 134-24

Last year’s record: 11-1

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Dave Barnes, jr.; Bryce Descavich, jr.; Javaunte Neumann, jr.; Tommy Opdenhoff, jr.; Max Murin, so.; Mike Walwro, so.

Newcomers: Jonah Lambie, sr.; John Astolos, fr.; Vince Drapela, fr.; Alex Jeffers, fr.; Tyler Wilson, fr.

Strengths: “The hardest working and most close knit group of male athletes I’ve ever coached. They are focused and driven to become the District 6 Class AA champs.”

Concerns: “We move up from Class A to Class AA this year in District 6.”

Overall outlook: “We compete in the LHAC, which is an extremely competitive conference, meet in and meet out we will face tough competition. We are hoping our conference schedule will prepare the team for success at the District 6 meet.”

Assistant coaches: Tammy Nagel, Tim Miller


Coach: Travis Singer, first year

Career record: 0-0

Conference: None

Returning letterwinners: Marcus Pierce, sr.; Kyle Eberhart, sr.; David Snyder, jr.; Jack Ansley, jr.

Other returnees: Brian Walker, sr.; William Wasilko, jr.; Dillon Lance, so.

Newcomers: Colin Terchanik, sr.; Leiden Woodring, jr.; Andrew Sensenig, jr.; Andrew Rosamilia, jr.; Theo Diehl, so.; Nathan Stull, so.; Patrick McClain, so.; Gino Montano, so.; Jared Hollingshead, so.; Noah Frank, fr.; Zack Diandreth, fr.; Joey Corey, fr.

Strengths: “Though we may count on some first-year runners to contribute heavily, there is a lot of potential on this team. Each grade level shows promise and talent. David Snyder could surprise a lot of people this fall when the district meet arrives.”

Concerns: “A lack of varsity experience from some of our top runners may be a challenge early in the season, but as they get some races under their belts, I see this group developing a lot of depth 1-10.”

Overall outlook: “Our boys may end the season with the strongest varsity squad that Hollidaysburg has fielded in some time. The seniors are leading by example and the underclassmen have shown dedication and maturity. Our top runners can compete with just about anybody in the district.”

Assistant coaches: Deb Solomon, Geordie Edmiston, Bill Bravin, Cassie Preston

Northern Cambria

Coach: Kevin Staruch, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 0-3

Conference: Heritage Conference

Returning starters: C.J. Wiewiora, jr.

Newcomers: Andrew Nealen, fr.; Marty Krumenacker, fr.; Austin Noll, fr.

Strengths: “The team members have shown dedication to the sport and to their own success in the sport. I believe their willingness to outwork each other will contribute to a successful season”

Concerns: “Due to our small team, keeping everyone healthy and injury-free is my biggest concern.”

Overall outlook: “We should be competitive this year. Our group of runners have been working hard throughout the summer and show a lot of dedication.”

Penn Cambria

Coach: Todd Niebauer, eighth year

Last year’s record: 5-6

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Garrett Sutton, sr.; Nathan Brown, sr.; Brett Fabbri, sr.; Eric Japp, sr.; Jake Wilkinson, so.

Other returnees: Trey Shultz, sr.; Dane Myers, jr.

Newcomers: Dominic Lee, so.; Gavin Link, fr.; Bryce Niebauer, fr.; Neil Sutton, fr.

Strengths: “We have some great senior leaders and some veterans who will help the newcomers.”

Concerns: “Depth and lack of experience through the lineup.”

Overall outlook: “I always have high expectations and this year is not different. We will need to make some great strides and really buy in as a team, but we can be there at the end of the year.”

Assistant coaches: Kristen Talko, Lois Smith

Junior high coaches: Todd Niebauer, Kristen Talko, Lois Smith


Coach: Heather Sagaities, second year

Career record: 4-9

Last year’s record: 4-9

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Scott Yarger, sr.; Nathan Quick, sr.; Payton Moore, jr.; Michael Shimmel, jr.

Newcomers: Nick Patrick, jr.; Jacob Maines, jr.; Matthew Bordas, so.; Reuben Smart, fr.

Strengths: “I have high expectations for the boys team. We have a few strong leaders on the team that will bring out the best in the other boys.”

Concerns: “Some of the newer boys are very talented, but will need to learn the ropes of running a race in terms of pacing, strategy, etc..”

Overall outlook: “I expect to see significant improvements from last year.”

Assistant coaches: Kelly Dobo, Rob Thompson (volunteer)


Coach: Kristen England, third year (volunteer advisor)

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Roy Lynn, sr.; Noah Wheland, so.; Silas Dishong, so.

Newcomers: Trevor Butler, fr.

Strengths: “Returnees are very strong runners.”

Concerns: “Injuries are always a concern.”

Overall outlook: “Returnees are faster than last year and the newcomers are progressing well.”

Assistant coaches: April Wheland, Matthew Hoover