~ CHEROKEE ALUMNI NEWS, 2018 - 2019 ~

This page provides updates on the running/field accomplishments of our athletes who have graduated from Cherokee High School. Please send additional Alumni information to Coach Shaklee.


The seasons follow in chronological order. Click on the desired season or on the "most recent entry:"

Summer and Cross Country, 2018
Winter/Indoor, 2018 - 2019
. . . most recent entry

Summer and Cross Country, 2018

-- On July 4, 2017, several of our Alums continued a tradition at the unofficial alumni run/reunion at the Marlton Mayor's Cup 5K. To review, the event has become something of a Cherokee event as Chiefs have won the race seven times over its ten year history: Marc Pelerin '00 in 2009; Kevin Schickling '08 in 2010; Ty Somers '11 in 2011; Shawn Wilson '13 in 2012, 2014 and 2015; and Matt Mueller '02 in 2016! In 2011, an impressive record was set by James Gathoga of Toms River (15:34) but Cherokee's Shawn Wilson has the second-fastest time of 15:56 set in 2014! This year, we saw a number of our "Alumni Regulars," including Matt Mueller '02 who, despite training for the NY City Marathon, showed-up with the hope of having enough speed to repeat, but he fell off the torrid pace set by Cherokee Junior, Chris Spisak and ended-up 8th behind two other Alums and four current Cherokee runners! In addition to Matt, our Alums included 2nd place finisher, Mike Zurzolo '17 and Greg Malloy '10; Matt Smith '18, Evan Stone '09, Mike Candy '05, Shawn Wilson '13, Joey Thompson '17, Matt Powell '16, and probably some others that we missed! (Actually, we missed Joey Thompson '17 but we caught his face on the video and his name in the results!)

Details at: SJ Timing. Also, there's a YouTube video at YouTube.

Mayors 5K Mayors 5K Mayors 5K Mayors 5K Mayors 5K
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-- On July 4, 2018, Alum Marc Pelerin '00, raced the Haddon Height Firecracker 5K finishing 9th in 18:31. We heard he's training hard so he can lead the Boys A Group at RunningWorks Camp this summer! GO MARC! Results at: Run Sign Up.

-- During the week of August 13th, 2018, several Cherokee Alums including Mike Zurzolo '17 and Nick Falk '17 worked as counselors at the RunningWorks CC Camp! Besides the mundane job of trying to tire-out their groups of teenage runners, they also made a surprise appearance in the Camp's Talent Show! In what could have been a Not-So-Far-Off-Broadway musical number, they wowed the audience but failed to get the needed votes to win the show! Maybe next year?!

RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp

-- On August 26, 2018, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of The College of New Jersey, participated in a Cross Country 5K time-trial and both made the team! GO MIKE! GO MATT!

-- On September 1, 2018, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, opened his college career at the cleverly-named Stony Brook University Cross Country Season Opener. Justin texted Coach Shaklee saying (slightly edited), "We just had our first race today. It was a 6K and I placed 7th. I ran around 18:30 so it was pretty good. It was on our home course and I think I came through the 5K around 15:15-15:20 so it was a good start." We agree! Direct Athletics has Justin in 6th -- the 4th SBU finisher -- in 18:32.8 (Pace: 4:59). GO JUSTIN! BTW, SBU has Junior Kyle Kelly in 4th and Freshman Aiden Smyth in 11th, so he probably feels right at home! Details at: Direct Athletics

-- On September 1, 2018. Alum Brandon Marks '18 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (our reporter thinks colleges/universities/institutes should not be allowed to devise names that even graduate students at other institutions can't spell!), opened his college running career in a dual-meet against The College of St. Rose, grandly named the St. Rose Invitational. Brandon reported to Coach Shaklee that the meet was being run at threshold pace. Brandon finished the 8K course at The Crossings in Colonie, N.Y with 5 others in a RPI pack in a liesurly 29:24 (pace 5:55), 33rd place. GO BRANDON! Details at: RPI Results.

-- On September 1, 2018. Alums Nick Falk '17, Mike Zurzolo '17 and Matt Smith '18, all of TCNJ, participated in the 4K intra-squad Blue/Gold Alumni Invitational at Green Lane Fields in Ewing. Nick finished 2nd in 13:59.20 (5:38 pace); Mike finished 5th in 14:00.0 (5:38 pace); and Matt in 24th at 15:34.80 (6:16 pace)! This was the first college race for Nick and Matt! GO NICK! GO MIKE! GO MATT! Details at: TCNJ Athletics.

-- On September 13, 2018, Alums Nick Falk '17 and Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, appeared in a XC promo picture and we thought we'd share it with our followers!

TCNJ, team promo, 2018

-- On September 15, 2018, Alum Mike Iannotta '18 of TCNJ, opened his college XC career at the Bill Fritz invitational at Dream Park, a new course developed by Rowan University in Gloucester, NJ. Running the 8K, Mike finished in 134th/245 in 30:28.8 (pace 6:08). GO MIKE! Details at: Direct Athletics.

-- On September 15, 2018, Alum John Conn '18 of Rowan University, opened his college XC career at the Bill Fritz Invitational on Rowan's new course at Dream Park, Gloucester, NJ. Running the 8K, John finished in 88th/245 in 29:12.4 (pace 5:53). GO JOHN! Details at: Direct Athletics.

-- On September 15, 2018, Alum Brandon Marks '18 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute competed in the 8K Yellowjacket XC Invitational at The University of Rochester where he clocked 28:30.4 (pace 5:45) and finished in 59th/215. Details at: Leone Timing.

-- On September 21, 2018, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, competed in the Varsity 8K at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown, an event sponsored by Boston College. Justin finished 112th/210 in the race, clocking 9:55 at 3.1k, 16:18 at 5k, and finishing in 25:53 (5:13 pace). Justin told Coach Shaklee that he was running with two others on the team when he fell near the 4K mark and was unable to catch his teammates before the finish. Still, he was OK with the race. Details at: Millennium Running.

Our crack team of investigators located a picture on the SBU site that "features" Justin in action! ; < ) GO JUSTIN!

Kelly, Stony Brook Kelly, Stony Brook

-- On September 22, 2018, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, competed in the Osprey XC Open at Stockton University. In the 8K race, with 14 teams competing and 112 runners, Mike finished in 32nd place in 29.23.43 (5:55 pace) and Matt (racing his first 8K) finished close behind in 38th place in 29:54.77 (6:01 pace). Both reported to Coach Shaklee that they learned a lot from the experience! Details at: TCNJ Athletics.

-- On September 28, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, competed in the 8K 10th Annual Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in Madison, Wisc. The team won in 2016 and 2017, and this year, NAU had four runners finish in the top eight spots on the way to recording the lowest score ever at Nuttycombe, racking up just 46 points as a team! Jack finished 7th on the team in 121st place, clocking 24:36.5 (pace 4:57). Jack remarked to his father that in a high school race, going out in 4:45 would drop the entire field but, in this race, no one dropped off! The team will compete again on the same course at the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals on October 13th. Details at: UW Badgers. This picture was found on FloTrack:

Jack at Wisconsin

-- On September 29, 2018. Alums Nick Falk '17 and Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA for the Paul Short Invitational. In the 8K Brown Race, Nick finished 86th/303 but 1st on his team in 26:30 (5:21 pace), and Mike finished 269th/303 in 27:57 (pace 5:38) and last on his team ( WT_ ?! ). Details at: Run High. This picture was featured on the TCNJ site but it is not from Paul Short. BTW, what's with the anchor tatoo? The closest he ever got to water was a rowboat on Marlton Lakes!

Falk at Paul Short

-- On September 29, 2018, Alum Brandon Marks '18 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, competed in the 8K Saratoga Cross Country Invitational hosted by RPI at Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, NY. Brandon clocked 28:12.0 (pace 5:41) and finished in 132nd/240. Details at: RPI Athletics.

-- On October 6, 2018, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, traveled to the NJ Institute of Technology's Highlander Challenge at Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ. Competing against 237 in the DIV 2/3 race, Mike finished 49th/239 in the Div 2/3 race while clocking 28:24 (pace 5:43); and Matt finished in 57th in 28:37 (pace 5:45). Their team finished 4th/31 teams. Details at: NJIT.

-- On October 13, 2018, Alum John Conn '18 of Rowan University, stayed at home and competed in the Rowan Inter-Regional Border Battle where he finished the 8K Open Race in 48th/214 while clocking 27.50.9 (pace: 5:37). Details at: Pioneer Timing.

-- On October 13, 2018. Alum Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT for the 8K Connecticut College Cross Country Invitational where he finished 287th/402 in 28:19.2 (5:42 pace). His team finished 16th/27 teams. Details at: Direct Athletics.

-- On October 13, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, returned to Madison, Wisconsin to compete in the 8K 2018 Wisconsin Cross Country Pre-Nationals at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Jack finished 24th/77 in the unseeded Grey race, clocking what must have been for him a disappointing 25.38 (pace: 5:10) -- he ran a little more than a minute faster on the same course a few weeks ago! Details at: Amazon.

-- On October 20, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to the Benedictine University in Mesa/Gilbert, Arizona for the 2nd Annual Redhawk Invitational. Jack captured his first collegiate XC win as he led the NAU Lumberjacks to a 1 through 5 sweep in the men's race. Jack completed the unusual 5.23-mile course (a little over 8K) in 25:52.3 (4:57 pace)! Official Results at: TFRRS.

-- On October 22, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, was chosen the NCAA Division I National Male Athlete of the Week by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association, the first NAU Lumberjack to be chosen for the award during the Cross Country season! The NAU website summarizes Jack's qualifications for the award at: NAU Athletics. The article is also copied on our website at: Athlete of the Week. Also, the original USTFCCCA article is at: USTFCCCA. Picture borrowed from the NAU website.

Jack racing

-- On October 27, 2018, Alums Nick Falk '17, Mike Zurzolo '17, Mike Iannotta '18, and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, and Jon Conn '18 of Rowan University competed in this season's nastiest weather -- cold, windy and rainy! -- at the ironically-named Dream Park, in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships and Coach Shaklee and the team's photographer joined the fun! Times were irrelevant because of the weather but Nick Falk impressed many of the on-lookers as he raced to a 3rd place finish -- 26:34.52 (pace 5:21) in the race! That said, everyone watching appreciated the extraordinary effort needed just to complete the race! Jon Conn finished in 36th, clocking an impressive 28:06.63 (5:40 pace); Mike Zurzolo took 63rd in 29:45.49 (6:00 pace); Matt Smith was right behind him in 64th, clocking 29:47.86 (6:00 pace); and Mike Iannotta finished in 72nd, clocking 30:19.99 (6:07 pace). There were 110 who finished the race! Complete results at: NJ.MileSplit. The final picture is from the TCNJ website.


-- On October 27, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to Sacramento, California for the 11-team, 8K Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championships. Jack finished 33rd/82 in the race (7th on the team) in 25:00.9 (5:02 pace) as the team won the conference championship for the 3rd year in a row! Further details at: Runner Space. Picture from NAU website.

NAU at Big Sky

-- On November 9, 2018, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to Provo, Utah for the Mountain Regionional Championships! The event was held at East Bay Golf Course in Provo, hosted by BYU. Jack finished the 17-team 10K race in 30:25.2 (4:54 pace), 6th on his team, in 41st place! The meet was not the usual run-away for NAU -- the coach held out two of his top-5 runners -- and The Lumberjacks (we call them "the Jacks" in honor of our Alum!) scored 42 points with BYU only 14 points behind with 56! Still, it was the 3rd straight NCAA Mountain Regional title for NAU and they advanced to Nationals next week! Details at: TFRRS. Picture from NAU website. The second edited version by our photographer is posted because, while he was very impressed by the original, he just wanted to play around!

Jack at Regionals

Jack at Regionals filtered

-- On November 10, 2018, Alum Nick Falk '17 of TCNJ, returned to Rowan's home course at Dream Park for the NCAA DIV III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships. Several weeks ago, Nick raced well (in strong winds, cold temperatures and pouring rain) on the same 8K course in the Conference Championships, finishing 1st and leading his team to victory but the same did not happen this time. The weather was rough -- windy and cold -- and the course was a mess, because it rained heavily the night before, but this time Nick finished 5th on his team, crossing the line in 28:04.1 (pace 5:39). The team finished a disappointing 13th out of 45 teams in the race. Details at: TCNJ Athletics.

Winter/Indoor Track, 2019

-- On December 1, 2019, the earliest that universities can participate in official indoor events, Alum Daulton Hopkins '16 of TCNJ, competed in the TCNJ Indoor Open at the New Balance T & F Center (AKA, The Armory) in New York City. Daulton raced the 60m Dash, clocking 7.30 and finishing 20th/60 overall; and the 300m Dash, clocking 37.03 and finishing 14th/66 overall. Details at: TCNJ Athletics. This picture accompanied the report on the TCNJ website: it may be current or a file picture.

Daulton Hopkins

-- On December 1, 2019, Alum Jordan Aughenbaugh '14 of Stockton University, traveled to the Ocean Breeze Complex on Staten Island, NY for the Fastrack Metro Season Opener. Jordan raced in the 500m Dash, clocking 1:12.01, finishing 2nd in his heat, 17th/30 overall; and the 4 X 400m Relay that clocked 3:43.28 and finished 7th in the heat, 14th/18 overall. Details at: Direct Athletics. We lifted this outdoor file picture from the Stockton site.

Jordan Aughenbaugh

-- On December 8, 2018. Alum Brandon Marks '18 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, opened both his first college Indoor season and the new Hutton Center at Utica College in the Utica College Pioneer Winter Classic! Brandon competed in the 3K, finishing 8th/19 overall in 9:16.05. Details at: Leone Timing.

-- On December 8, 2018, Alum Daulton Hopkins '16 of TCNJ, traveled to nearby Princeton University for their New Year's Invitational. Daulton competed in the 60m Dash where he finished 3rd in his heat, 22nd/34 overall in 7.33; and in the 200m Dash where he finished 1st in his heat, 13th/35 overall in 23.65. Details at: Leone Timing.

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