By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Logansport senior Alex Calisto is running cross country this fall with an eye on being a state title contender in the 800-meter run in track next spring.
Calisto is battling a plantar fasciitis injury this cross country season. He still managed to run a personal-best 17:30 at last Saturday’s Oak Hill Invitational at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion.
Calisto said he thought about sitting out awhile in cross country due to his injury but has chosen to push through with it.
“It hasn’t been getting much better,” he said. “I’ll take extra time off between seasons.”
He added his main goal in cross country is a team sectional title this fall. In 2011, the Berries won their first sectional title in boys cross country in 42 years.
The competitive distance running helps Calisto with his main sport of track.
Last spring Calisto burst onto the scene at the state finals, running a 1:55.06 to finish fifth in the 800. He smashed his personal-best time by 2.99 seconds.
“That was a fluke almost,” he said. “The crowd, the atmosphere ... it was almost a perfect day too.”
Calisto didn’t even run in the fast race on that day, as he blew away the field in the slower timed final. He ran in the first of two timed finals because he entered seeded 15th. The top 14 seeds ran in the second final.
The only non-senior to finish ahead of him was Lawrence North’s Joe Murphy (4th, 1:54.81) by a quarter of a second. Murphy is also a senior this school year.
Calisto has a goal of cutting two or three seconds off his time in the 800 next spring.
This summer Calisto said he did a lot of college-level workouts with former Berry teammate Daniel Arteaga. “They were tough and terrible,” Calisto said, “but they helped me.”
He added, “I’ve gotten a lot stronger and faster in the cross season.”
Calisto said he’s looking at attending either Notre Dame or Purdue for engineering. If he doesn’t get a track scholarship, he thinks his times are good enough for him to walk on.
The following is a question-and-answer session with Calisto.
Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?
A. Track. Track is centered around speed and strength, whereas cross country is oriented around pacing yourself. I like to give everything I have and finish a race exhausted.
Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?
A. I played soccer at the State Hospital all throughout preschool and elementary school. I started at 5 years old but I had future ambitions to become a star soccer player.
Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?
A. Yes, my uncle Stefan Calisto played baseball for LHS in 1996 when he pitched the team to the state finals.
Q. Have you ever played a sport that you were not successful at?
A. I tried swimming my sophomore year and my coach said I was an asset to the team, especially for it being my first year, but I never placed in meets and I knew swimming wasn’t for me.
Q. How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete since you first started playing?
A. I’ve learned how to truly suffer and break past my limits. Pain, no matter how extreme, is only temporary, and I believe mental toughness is the key factor to success..
Q. Who do you consider your biggest role model? Why?
A. Daniel Arteaga. Daniel ran cross and track as a senior when I was a freshman. He’s extremely talented but sadly was overshadowed by Kyle Overway’s success. Daniel trained me through last year’s track season and I attribute much of my success to him. He’s a great friend.
Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?
A. During my freshman year of track I was getting into minimalist running. I wore next to zero padding. I was having a great season and my 4x800 relay was about to break the school record. However, a stress fracture ended my season early and the record was broken without me. I was devastated, and since then I’ve taken an intelligent approach to running where I listen to my body and train accordingly. It was a tough lesson to learn but I value it greatly.
Q. What is something that not everyone knows about you?
A. I’m ranked first in my class.
Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?
A. After winning the NCC title, a few of my teammates put me on their backs and carried me all the way back to our campsite. It felt great knowing I earned that level of respect.
Q. What’s your favorite music, movie, TV show, etc.?
A. Music: Billy Joel. Movie: The Prestige. TV show: The Office. Book: 1984. Sports team: Minnesota Vikings.
Q. Who is the best athlete in your respective sport you’ve ever gone up against?
A. Whitney Jennings in a game of PIG, but actually Matt Dorsey from Lawrence Central who won state.
Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?
A. I plan on attending college and hopefully running on the track team.
Each week during the school year the Pharos-Tribune recognizes an athlete from one of five area high schools. The recipients are selected by each school’s athletic department.