~ CHEROKEE ALUMNI NEWS, 2019 - 2020 ~

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, 2019
. . . most recent entry

Summer and Cross Country, 2019

-- On July 4, 2019, eleven 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 eight times over its eleven 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; Matt Mueller '02 in 2016, and Jack Shea '17 in 2019! 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, a slightly altered but new course was created and Jack Shea set the new record for the course of 16:01! This year, only one of our "Alumni Regulars" appeared, Matt Mueller '02! We saw Mike Candy '05 before the race but not in it; and neither Evan Stone '05 nor Marc Pelerin '00 showed; and where was Shawn Wilson '13? We looked forward to Drew Vascidy '12, now a teacher and coach at Cherokee, but he too was a "no show!" And yeah, we know, Coach Shaklee and Coach Thompson were "way too busy" . . . but, really, Shaklee's European adventure and Thompson's Homemoon were that special?!

Anyway, Cherokee Alums were still well represented as they took five of the top seven places in the race (two went to current Cherokee runners!), including the 1st Place record-setting (new course) race by Jack Shea '17! In addition to Jack, our Alums included 2nd place finisher, Brandon Marks '18; followed by Mike Iannotta '17 in 4th; Matt Smith '18 in 5th; Matt Mueller '02 in 7th; Mike Zurzolo '17 in 12th; Chris Zurzolo '17 in 25th; Joey Thompson '17 in 37th; Brendan Falzone '17 in 105th; and Matt Powell '17 in 109th; and Mike Candy '05, apparently running with his son, in 373!

Yeah, we probably missed someone but maybe next time they'll stop by and say "hello!"

Just for grins, kinda "Blast from the Past" race-start picture found on the main page of the race's website. Our photographer identified Marc Pelerin '00, Coach Shaklee '73, Matt McCarroll '09, Evan Stone '09, Mike Malloy '09, and that may be a young Shawn Wilson to Coach Shaklee's left. Probably 2009.

Marlton 5K Start, 2009

The 2019 race details at: SJ Timing. Also, there's a YouTube Video! Simple click the video link at the top left of the results page or go to: YouTube.

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-- On August 23, 2019, Alum Matt Smith '18 of The College of New Jersey competed in the team's annual 5K time trial and he finished 17th overall in 16:41, a slight PR. He reported to Coach Shaklee that it was evenly run and "probably the easiest a 5K has ever felt."

-- On August 31, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, opened his season at home in the 5-team Stony Brook University Cross Country Season Opener! Justin competed in the 6K race, finishing in 18:51 (5:04 pace) and taking 6th place! His team easily won the meet! Details at: TFRRS.

-- On August 31, 2019, Alums Mike Zurzolo '17, Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 all of TCNJ, raced in what is essentially TCNJ's annual time-trial (that also included Georgian Court) called the Blue/Gold Invitational! Mike Z finished the 4K course in 14th, clocking 13.23 (5:23 pace); Mike I finished in 21st, clocking 13:44 (5:32); and Matt finished in 22nd, clocking 13:51 (5:35)! Details at: TCNJ Athletics

-- On September 7, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, stayed at home again for the Stony Brook University Wolfie Cross Country Invitational! Justin competed in the 6-team 8K championship race, finishing in 5th place while clocking 25:58 (5:14 pace). His team easily won the event! The picture below came from the Stony Brook website, taken August 31, 2019. Details at: Stony Brook.

Kelly at Season Opener

-- On September 7, 2019, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, opened his 2019 season in the 39th Annual George Kyte Classic at Buffalo Park, Flagstaff, Arizona! Typically, this is a low-key "rust-buster" but this year was unusual because, besides the usual lollypop teams, one of the top distance teams in Japan, Tokai University, joined the competition! The Japanese were in Flagstaff for a month to train at altitude and they developed a working relationship with NAU. Their participation evolved out of this relationship with NAU. Now, everyone had to step-up to address this challenge! The final score showed NAU with 25 points followed by Tokai with 30. It was as hard as the score suggests! Jack raced the 4.5 mile course in 23:30 (5:13 pace), finishing in 18th overall! The pictures are from NAU. Official results at: WingFoot. LetsRun provided a great story on the event: HERE, and FloTrack has a very cool "Workout Wednesday" video featuring NAU that includes Jack!: FloTrack.

Early on in race

NAU and Japan Teams

Whoever runs NAU's Cross Country and Track "communications department" is a genius! Skim through their Twitter account and you'll appreciate the time spent showing "what a crappy place" ( ! ) NAU and Arizona are to live and train! For example, check out this team picture taken while at the Grand Canyon for training! Ho-hum.

NAU at Grand Canyon

-- On September 13, 2019, Alums Mike Zurzolo '17, Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 all of TCNJ, stayed at home for the TCNJ Cross Country Invitational, a 4-team, 6K event at Green Lane Fields. Mike Zurzolo placed 8th in 19.16 (5:10 pace); Matt Smith placed 21st in 20.07 (5:24); and Mike Iannotta placed 23rd in 20:26 (5:29 pace). Details at: TCNJ.

-- On September 14, 2019, Alum Joe Halin '00 was inducted into the Cherokee Athletic Hall of Fame as a significant figure on the Track and Cross Country teams! Joe played a major role in Cherokee's three-year winning streak as the Group IV State Champions, including, in his senior year, he became the individual Group IV Cross Country Champion! Joe is a well-known Cherokee graduate who set records at Applachian State University and continued to race well after his college graduation! Joe coached a few years at Moorestown High School before taking a full-time job at the Moorestown Running Company, and then, after marrying and having children, changed his career to nursing. Congratulations, Joe! The pictures on the site weren't great "back-in-the-day" but, if you go back over the Alums Pages in the first years of this website, you'll see Joe's name mentioned often! Coach Shaklee made the introduction at the event and his remarks are HERE! This picture from the Cherokee website shows Joe third from the left at the event.

Joe Halin at Cherokee HOF

-- On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association released its latest National Coaches' Poll and the Northern Arizona University XC team remained in the top spot in the Division I rankings for the 23rd consecutive week! NAU's Twitter page made the announcement accompanied by yet another picture featuring Jack! Really! Who's their photographer, Jack's aunt?

Jack racing

-- On September 20, 2019, TCNJ posted their 2019 Men's Team Photo and two of our athletes are missing! Nick Falk is at TCNJ but is not out for the team this year so that's at least understandable but Mike Iannotta is out for the team and is MIA! Always bad to be listed as "not pictured" on the team picture!

TCNJ Team Picture

-- On September 21, 2019, Alum Brandon Marks '18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) opened his 2019 season at the Fred Pavlich Invitational hosted by Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Brandon finished 3rd in the 8K race, clocking a big PR of 26.25.7 (pace 5:19)! His team won the 12-team race. Details at: Fulton Timing.

-- On September 21, 2019, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to Terra Haute, Indiana for the 2019 John McNichols Invitational. Jack finished 33rd/269 overall, 7th man on the 10-man team NAU entered, clocking 25:12.1 (5:04 pace). His team won the 21-team competition! Details at: Timing MD.

-- On September 21, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, traveled to Franklin Park in Boston for the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown. Justin finished in 85th/192 overall, in 25:52 (5:13 pace). His team took 3rd in the 21-team competition. TFRRS

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