Friday, October 19, 2007 was dark and incredibly muggy for late October, with intermittent showers, but the Burlington County Championships at Mill Creek Park ran as scheduled! Cherokee entered the meet as the favorite and, despite some solid performances from some great county opponents, won the Championship race by 31 points over its closest opponent, South Jersey's 3rd ranked team, Moorestown High School! This was the 9th time in the last 11 years that Cherokee won the event!
Senior Alex Yersak won the race easily after his major opponent, Mike Sheehan of Holy Cross, dropped out because of a mid-race injury. This was a repeat victory for Alex as he won the event last year as well. Alex was followed closely by Senior Ted Schickling, who ran a strong 3rd in the race! The rest of the squad followed in a close pack with Steve Burkholder in 11th, Chris Applegate in 12th, Marc Saccomanno in 15th, Sean Hartnett in 16th, and Matt McCarroll in 18th!
In the Open "Class" Race, Cherokee dominated the top positions. In the Senior scoring, Steve McCarroll and Tyler Mauro took 1st and 2nd, with Ryan Lutz following in 7th! Among the Juniors, Ryan McNair took 1st in his class and won the overall title, with Rob Roselli in 2nd, Josh Ungerleider in 3rd, Evan Stone in 5th, Doug Baals in 11th, and Adam Henriksen in 23rd. In the Sophomore scoring, Kyle Smith, Ian Foley, and Frank Devine swept 1st through 3rd, with Mike Czuba in 12th. And among the Freshman, Ryan Bobb took 6th in his race! GO CHEROKEE!
The coaches selected Marc Saccomanno as the "Runner of the Meet." Marc had an excellent race and took the 5th scoring position on the team! GO MARC!
Complete results the Burlington County Coaches Association Website: Varsity Results and Open Results
On October 26, 2007, Cherokee once again traveled to Gloucester County College, this time for the Olympic Conference Championships, and once again, they showed that inclement weather is no excuse for not running well! Indeed, despite a wind and rain-swept course, with puddled and sometimes washed-out trails, the team stepped-up to win both the Varsity and the JV competition!
In the Varsity race, Alex Yersak pulled away from the field in the first mile and was never seriously challenged after that, winning his second Olympic Conference Championship title! Ted Schickling continued his great season with a strong 3rd place effort! Steve Burkholder ran another solid race with a impressive kick to finish in the top 10! And Marc Saccomanno had another outstanding effort in as many races to take 12th place overall and earn the final slot on the All-Conference Team! Close behind were Sean Hartnett in 16th, who held on for a strong finish despite pre-race stomach problems; and Ryan McNair in 27th, who fell at the final turn!
In the JV competition, the "showdown" between the brothers, Senior Steve McCarroll and Sophomore Matt McCarroll unfolded just as expected with the two running side-by-side throughout the race and only in the final 200m was it decided: Matt took 1st place, while Steve was forced to settle for 2nd! Somewhat overshadowed by this rivalry was the outstanding performance by the rest of the JV squad! Bob Roselli and Kyle Smith finished close behind the McCarrolls to take 3rd and 4th! And then, just behind them, Ian Foley, Josh Ungerleider, Evan Stone and Tyler Mauro took four of the next five places, and placed eight Cherokee runners in the top ten! Frank Devine followed in 15th; Doug Baals in 23rd, and Freshman Ryan Bobb in 57th, to complete the Cherokee tally in the 133-man race.
"Runner of the Meet" honors were shared by the dueling McCarroll Brothers who battled neck-and-neck throughout the demanding 3.2 mile course only to have the race decided by a few seconds at the tape! A classic race! GO STEVE! GO MATT!
Complete results at: Running Company.
On November 1, 2007, Cherokee traveled to Haddonfield for the Haddonfield Invitational, a meet viewed by many underclassmen as their "last chance" to race on a fast, flat course and set a season PR! But, it is also something else . . ..
For the past six years, to increase the incentive, the coaches divided the team with year-long bragging rights going to the winning coach and squad! And over those six years, Coach Shaklee's squads defeated the hapless runners of Coach Callinan all six times! Would the same thing happen in 2007?
There was a new factor as well: Coach Thompson entered the frey and demanded a squad of his own! Thus, the JV team was divided into three equal squads and the battle was joined!
There's no time for results now but check out the pictures below. Coach Shaklee looks concerned; Coach Callinan looks dumbfounded; and Coach Thompson looks dejected. Who won?!
It took days before the results of the meet were announced! "There's no conspiracy here," said Coach Shaklee, "the time just wasn't right." But the results suggest otherwise!
After six years of domination, Coach Shaklee and his squad of Steve McCarroll, Ian Foley and Frank Devine went down in defeat! In an upset, rookie Coach Jeff Thompson and his squad of Matt McCarroll, Josh Ungerleider and Evan Stone easily defeated Shaklee's squad and unlucky Coach Callinan's team of Rob Roselli, Kyle Smith, and Doug Baals. Final tally: Thompson, 11; Shaklee, 16; Callinan, 18!
Despite Coach Shaklee's claim that "We didn't lose . . . we came in 2nd. Cal's team lost!", a dynasty has fallen!
When questioned on his victory, Coach Thompson said, "It's no surprise. I knew I could out-coach those two old guys if given the opportunity! I expect, now, that I'll be named the team's Head Coach and then we'll finally win the Meet of Champions!" GO THOMPSON!
Even though his squad "failed to win," Coach Shaklee applauded every member of the team for their great performances! Indeed, everyone set a new 5K PR for the season! Among them was Frank Devine, named the "Runner of the Meet" for his outstanding PR, his first time under 18:00! GO FRANK!