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
-- 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.
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.
-- 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 pictures below came from the Stony Brook website: the first taken elsewhere on August 31, 2019; the second taken at this event. Details at: Stony Brook.
-- 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.
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.
-- 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.
-- 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?
-- 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!
-- 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
-- On September 21, 2019, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, traveled to Stockton University for the Osprey Open. Mike raced the 8K course in a PR 28.12.4 (pace 5:41) and finished 61st/210, while Matt completed the course in a PR 28.22.4 (pace 5:43) and finished 64th/210. The team placed 6th/21 teams. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On September 13, 2019, Alum Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to the Mike Woods Invitational at SUNY Geneseo. Mike raced the 8K in 28:45.8 (5:48 pace) to finish 122nd/314. His team finished 4th out of 24 teams. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On October 5, 2019, Alum Brandon Marks '18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) traveled to Kentucky for the Louisville Classic, an opportunity for the team to race the upcoming DIV III Nat's, where he raced the 8K Blue Race in 25:50 (5:12 pace) and finished 64th/516 overall. Details at: Record Timing.
-- On October 5, 2019, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, traveled to the Technology XC Challenge at Branch Brook Park in Newark. Mike raced the 8K course in 27:36 (5:33 pace), finishing 59th/276 overall; and Matt clocked 28:53 (5:49 pace), finishing 103rd. Details at: TCNJ.
-- On October 5, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, apparently didn't race with his team at the Paul Short but he appeared in the picture the university website attached to their story. Next he'll be shown in the 2019 World Cross Country Championships! GO JUSTIN!
-- On October 12, 2019, Alum Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to the Hoffman Cross Country Invitational at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. (BTW, Regionals will be run at this course.) Mike raced the 8K in 27.19.9 (pace 5:28) and finished in 79th/277 overall. Details at: RPI Athletics.
-- On September 18, 2019, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the Nuttycombe Invitational. Jack raced in the B 8000m race, finishing 33rd/103 overall in 25.12.6 (pace 5:04). His team won both the B and the A races, the 4th time in a row for the A squad! In case you haven't noticed, the team is scary good! Pictures grabbed from NAU sources. Details at: FloTrack.
-- On October 19, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, traveled to the Princeton CC Invitational at West Windsor Fields in Princeton, NJ. Justin's team won the event while Justin finished in 66th/240 overall, 10th on his team, in 25.14.9 (5:05 pace). Details at: TFRRS.
-- On October 19, 2019, Alum Brandon Marks '18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) traveled to the Connecticut College XC Invitational at Harkness State Park in Waterford, CT. Brandon raced the 8K in 26:22 (5:19 pace) and finished 124th/427 overall. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On October 19, 2019, Alums Mike Iannotta '18 and Matt Smith '18 of TCNJ, traveled to the St. Joseph's College XC Invitational at Sunken Meadow State Park, King's Park, NY. The race distance was an odd one: 4.97 miles. Mike covered the course in 29:25.7 (5:56 pace), finishing in 34th, while Matt did the same in 29:41.1 (5:59 pace), finishing in 39th. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On October 25, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, traveled to the 17th Annual Central Connecuticut Mini-Meet at the Stanley Quarter Park in New Britain. Justin finished this unusual 5K race in 7th/95 overall, clocking 15.05.8 (4:52 pace). Details at: CCSU.
-- On November 2, 2019, Alum Jack Shea '17 of Northern Arizona University, traveled to a freezing cold and snowy Boomerang Golf Course in Greeley, Colorado for the 11-team, 8K Big Sky Conference XC Championships, where his team won their 4th straight (and 29th overall) conference title! Jack took 5th on his team, 12th/84 overall in 27:26.6 (5:32 pace). For Northern Arizona, times were unimportant. As Coach Michael Smith said, "The true nature of cross country is this kind of racing in brutal conditions. This is what the purity of the sport is. We take times and throw them out the window and teach our runners to compete with each other and against themselves." Picture from NAU Twitter. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On November 2, 2019, Alums Mike Zurzolo '17, Matt Smith '18 and Mike Iannotta '18 of TCNJ, traveled to Stockton University in Galloway for the 7-team, 8K NJAC Conference Cross Country Championships. TCNJ took 3rd in the team scoring behind Ramapo and Rowan. Mike Zurpolo took 7th on his team, finishing in 22nd/104 overall in 26:00.7 (5:13 pace); Matt finished in 57th in 27:41.1 (5:33 pace); and Mike Iannotta finished in 61st in 27:47.6 (5:34 pace). Details at: RunnerSpace
-- On November 2, 2019, Alum Brandon Marks '18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) traveled to the Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, in New York State for the 9-team, 8K Liberty League Cross Country Championship. Brandon's team won the event, while Brandon finsihed in 33rd/115 overall in 27:06.4 (5:28 pace). Team picture is from the RPI website and it appears they should be the Lumberjacks and not the Engineers! Details at: TFRRS.
-- On November 16, 2019, Alum Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY (where, you ask? It's conveniently located in the US northeast of Lake Ontario!) for the snowy and cold NCAA DIV III Atlantic Regional Cross Country Championships. Mike finished the 8K race in 62nd/300 overall, 4th on his team, clocking 26:28.9 (pace 5:20). His team finished 7th out of 42 teams. In passing, Alum Brandon Marks' '18 team, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), competed in the same race, finished 2nd and advanced to Nats! Brandon, himself, did not race but he cleverly made it to the awards stage! Details at: TCNJ Athletics.
-- On December 6, 2019, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, traveled to the Fastrack Season Opener at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staton Island, NY. Apparently, the coach hates him because he gave him the 5K to open his Indoor Season but Justin is listed as DNF so we'll have to do some research here! Details at: Ocean Breeze
-- On December 6, 2019, Alum Tyler Ortiz '19 of UNC Ashville, competed in many events at his first college meet (Baptism by fire?!) at the Appalachian State Open in Boone, NC! In the Long Jump, Ty cleared 5.69m (18' 8") and finished 13th/13 overall; in the 55m HH, he clocked 9.52 and finished 9th/11 overall; in the 300m Dash, he clocked 38.91 and finished 22nd/25 overall; and in the 4 X 300m Relay, Ty is listed in one place as being on the "D" team that clocked 2:33.06, 9th/11 overall, but his name does not appear on the official results. Whatever, it was a jam-packed initiation! GO TY! Details at: Sidearm.
-- On December 7, 2019, Alum Daulton Hopkins '16 of TCNJ, competed in the TCNJ Indoor Open at the New Balance T & F Center in New York City. Daulton competed in the 60m Dash, finishing 13th/23 overall in 7.31, and the 300m Dash, finishing 27th/43 overall in 39.03. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On December 14, 2019, Alum Lucciano Pizarro '19 of Penn State University, stayed at home and competed in the Blue & White Intrasquad Meet, his first appearance in a college event! Luch put the college Shot a decent 15.08m (49' 5.7") and finished a close 5th/5 overall! GO LUCH! Go PSU Sports. Lifted this mugshot from PSU to show how much he has changed . . . yeah, not a bit!
-- On December 14, 2019, Alum Tray Cabbagestalk '19 of the Indiana Institute of Technology, took a short trip to the near-by Turnstone Athletic Center for the Strive for Greatness Invitational. Tray competed (unattached) in the Triple Jump where he cleared 12.81m (42' 0.3") and finished 6th/10 overall. Details at: TFRRS. Another mugshot just to show we have the right guy!
-- On January 5, 2020, the Burlington County Track Coaches Association announced the Burlington County All-Decade Cross Country Team that included a few of Cherokee's finest! First and foremost is Shawn Wilson '13 selected as the Runner of the Decade, followed by Justin Kelly '18, Jack Shea '17, and Ethan Wechsler '20! Others on the team included Austin Gabay '20 and Mike Ungvarsky '17 of Cinnaminson; and Connor Herr '12 of Shawnee.
-- On January 10, 2020, Alum Justin Kelly '18 of Stony Brook University, traveled to the Fordham University's Lombardi Center Field House in New York City for the Robert Elkin Invitational. Justin raced the Mile on a 200m flat track, taking 5th/12 overall in 4:28.02. Details at: TFRRS.
-- On January 10, 2020, Alum Tyler Ortiz '19 of UNC Ashville, again competed in five events at his second college meet at the East Tennessee State Track and Field Invitational in Johnson City, TN! In the Long Jump, Ty cleared 5.22m (17' 1.5") and finished 17th/22 overall). He competed in four running events! In the Open 400m Dash, he clocked 54.91 and finished 41st/47 overall; in the 60m HH, he crossed the line in 9.93 and finished 19th/19 overall; in the 200m Dash, he clocked 24.42 and finished 62nd/73 overall; and in the D-team 4 X 400m Relay, the team clocked 3:36.59 and finished 16th/17 overall. Apparently, Ty didn't mention to his coach that he ran XC in high school or he would have been in the Mile and 3K! Details at: TFRRS.
-- On January 11, 2020, Alums Daulton Hopkins '16 and Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, returned to the Armory, New Balance T & F Center for the 2020 TCNJ Lions Indoor Invitational. Daulton raced the 60m Dash, clocking 7.32 and finishing 10th/21 overall. Mike raced the Mile in 4:21.30 and finished 4th/31 overall. He also raced the second leg of the 4 X 800m Relay that finished 5th/18 in 8:09.63. Picture of Mike from TCNJ website, probably a file photo because the last time we saw him he was bearded! Details at: TFRRS.
-- On January 17, 2020, Alum Mike Zurzolo '17 of TCNJ, traveled to the New Balance T & F Center in NY City for the Ramapo College Indoor Opener. Mike took 2nd in the 3K -- close behind his teammate, former Cherry Hill West's Robert Abrams -- crossing the line in 8:44.66 (4:42 pace). Details at: TFRRS.
-- On January 18, 2020, Alum Brandon Marks '18 of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), traveled to the Hutton Sports Center at Utica College for the Utica College Invitational. Brandon raced the Mile in 4:32.59, finishing in 18th/47 overall. The Mile looked like a workout for RPI as there were 12 from RPI in the event, with the winner in 4:15.96 and then 8 ahead of Brandon in the 4:20's. Details at: Leone Timing.
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