By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/22/21
Nick Elentrio has been getting his parents to drive him 50 minutes up and maybe 55 minutes back – depending on traffic – for 3 years from his South Jersey home in Mickleton to train in lacrosse with Blue Ox at Main Line Sports Center in Berwyn.
It’s simple. Training with Matt Mackrides and Blue Ox is worth the time and effort to the St. Augustine Prep and SouthShore 2023 midfielder.
“He’s a good teacher, if that makes sense,” said Elentrio. “He knows what he’s doing and is able to break it down in ways for learners to learn.”
Elentrio is hoping to land a starting spot this spring on a St. Augustine Prep squad that is expected to contend in the rugged New Jersey Non-Public race. He began training with Founder and Owner Mackrides at Blue Ox as an 8th grader and credits Mackrides for helping him emerge as a solid two-way middie.
Mackrides was a two-time scholastic All-American midfielder at Malvern Prep, a USILA Honorable Mention All-American and Scholar All-American at Penn State and a four-time MLL All-Star who was a member of two championship teams with the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Mackrides, a member of the Team USA U18 national champions in 2008 and a member of Team USA’s training Team (final 23 players) in 2014, is also an assistant coach at three-time defending Inter-Ac League champion Malvern Prep.
Mackrides runs group training with Blue Ox, which holds elite sessions in the Winter and Fall seasons. Currently, there are limited Winter Sessions open for High School and Middle School boys and girls, as well as Elite Defensive Training (e-mail Mackrides at email@example.com if interested). Click here for the Blue Ox website.
“He has helped me a lot, I would say tremendously,” Elentrio said. “Being a transition middie, he has taught me at the offensive and defensive side.
“I started with 1-on-1 training and as I grew older it was better to do (Blue Ox) group training. He shows us where we can improve and the next move for a skill or how to make the perfect shot; what to do in certain situations playing offense and defense.”
Why does Elentrio like working with Mackrides?
“He’s straight forward, he tells me what I should be doing he wants to see me succeed,” Elentrio said. “He works me hard.
“If I’m completely lost, he’s able to pick up where I need improvement and make drills to help me improve.”
Elentrio said Mackrides can individualize his instruction even when he’s working with two groups of different ages or abilities.
“We finished Open Training with 20 to 25 kids in two groups of high school and middle school and he’ll have two nets going and two lines,” said Elentrio. “We were doing hitch and roll and some off-handed stuff, for me personally. He’ll watch you and then tell you what you need to work on and watch another kid until he gets to everyone there.
“It’s very personalized, for being in a group. He’s seen me go through highs and lows. He’s seen me grow. He’ll take things I am already good at in mind, and keep building and building.”
Elentrio is excited for the spring season and prospects for the St. Augustine Prep squad.
“I think this is our year. We have a really good 2022 class and great leaders,” Elentrio said. “Even though a lot of kids in my class are still learning, I think we’ll shine.”