Cherokee Cross Country Pictures, 2007, Page IV

The early part of the Championship Season is over with Cherokee winning both the Burlington County Championship and the Olympic Conference Championship! Now the team faces its greatest challenges of the season as it competes at Sectionals, Groups, and the State Meet of Champions! And, if all goes well, they will then challenge the entire Northeast Region at Bowdoin Park in New York! GO CHEROKEE!

The New Jersey State Sectional Championship

On Saturday, November 3, 2007, Cherokee took the first step towards the State Meet of Champions when it competed against 17 other Group IV schools in the Southern section of the New Jersey Cross Country Sectional Championships at Delsea High School. While they were considered the pre-race favorites to win, the runners took nothing for granted and all planned to run PR's on the Delsea course!

Indeed, almost all of the Varsity squad ran PR's and garnered a 1st place victory for the team!

Senior star, Alex Yersak took 1st place in the race, running one of the fastest times of the day, and captured his third straight Sectional victory! As a three-time winner, Alex became the first South Jersey Group IV runner to accomplish this feat! Close behind him, in 2nd place, came Senior Ted Schickling, with Junior Chris Applegate in 6th, Sophomore Steve Burkholder in 15th, and Junior Sean Hartnett in 28th! Only 57 seconds separated Alex and Sean, the scoring portion of the team. But, had one of those guys faltered, the team victory was insured by Juniors Marc Saccomanno in 33rd and Ryan McNair in 38th!

In the past 10 years, Cherokee Cross Country established an incredible series of performances at the Sectional meet. Four straight titles between 1997 and 2000. Then six years of near-misses -- 2nd in 2001, 2nd in 2002, 3rd in 2003, 2nd in 2004, 2nd in 2005, 4th in 2006. And then back in 1st in 2007 . . . by the largest margin of victory since 1999! Cool! GO CHEROKEE!

The coaches selected Alex Yersak as the "Runner of the Meet," recognizing both his great race and his "three-peat" as Sectional Champion! GO Alex!

Complete results at: Lou Fraulo Racing Systems.

Start of GP IV race, 6 of 7 Start of race, 4 of 7 Alex Yersak at midpoint Ted Schickling at midpoint Chris Applegate at midpoint Steve Burkholder at midpoint
Marc Saccomanno at midpoint Ryan McNair coming out of second woods Sean Hartnett coming out of woods loop Sean Hartnett surrounded at about 1000m from finish Three Cherokee grouped at about 800m from finish Hanging out after the race

New Jersey State Freshmen/Junior Varsity Meet

On Wednesday, November 7, 2007, Cherokee traveled to Thompson Park in Jamesburg for the first annual New Jersey State Freshmen/Junior Varsity Meet where the team put on an impressive showing for the rest of the state! The JV squad, led by 1st place finisher, Matt McCarroll took 2nd place overall in a huge race that included 46 teams and 283 finishers! Matt ran a smart race as he covered moves made by others in the lead group, kept his composure, and made one big move in the last 200m for the win. His time would have placed him in the top 20 at the Central Jersey Group 4 Sectional Race on Saturday on the same course! He is, then, "the fastest 8th man in New Jersey" . . . "the # 1 JV runner in the state" . . . and Cherokee's "Runner of the Meet!" GO MATT!

Matt was closely followed by his brother, Steve McCarroll, who took 9th place; and then by Rob Roselli in 12th; Kyle Smith in 15th; and the last of the scorers, Ian Foley in 24th! Other runners included, Evan Stone in 29th; Doug Baals in 33rd; Josh Ungerleider in 58th; Frank Devine in 60th; Ryan Lutz in 120th; and Adam Henriksen in 197th.

In the Freshman race, Ryan Bobb took 53rd place overall in the 163 man event! Besides the 110 Freshmen he beat in this race, had he been in the JV race, he would have placed 144th, ahead of 139 other finishers!

Complete results at: Lou Fraulo Racing Systems.

Ryan Bobb at start Ryan Bobb at about 3/4 mile Ryan Bobb at finish JV start Matt McCarroll at about a mile Steve McCarroll at about a mile
Rob Roselli at about a mile Kyle Smith at about a mile Ian Foley and Josh Ungerleider at about a mile Doug Baal at about a mile Tyler Mauro at about a mile Frank Devine at about a mile
Ryan Lutz at about a mile Adam Henriksen at about a mile Matt McCarroll at the finish Steve McCarroll at the finish Rob Roselli at the finish Kyle Smith at the finish
Ian Foley at the finish Evan Stone at the finish Doug Baals at the finish Josh Ungerleider at the finish Frank Devine at the finish Tyler Mauro at the finish
Ryan Lutz at the finish Adam Henriksen at the finish

New Jersey State Group Championships

On Saturday, November 10, 2007, Cherokee's Varsity squad -- having won and qualified at the New Jersey State Sectional Championships the previous week -- traveled to the state's premier cross country course in Holmdel, New Jersey for the New Jersey State Group Championships. There, they competed against the top Group IV teams in the entire state, and once again they won 1st place laurels!

For eleven straight years, Cherokee qualified for the State Group Championships -- probably unprecedented in the state -- and in 5 of those years, the Chiefs took 1st place! But the last victory was back in 2000 . . . ancient history to today's team . . . and they worked extraordinarily hard to reclaim Cherokee's 1st place position in the state!

This year, the coaches and runners thought they had "an outside chance" of winning the meet but they knew they were not the favorites. Added to this, Sean Hartnett, one of Cherokee's key runners, came down sick the day of the meet and, only thirty minutes before the race, the coaches turned to Matt McCarroll to step into Hartnett's spot! McCarroll was there to support the Varsity squad, not to be part of it, but he grabbed the opportunity and played an important role in the race!

In the beginning, the race did not go well for Cherokee. Indeed, at 1000m into the race, only one of Cherokee's seven runners was in the top 50! And at a mile and a half, other teams were clearly in front . . . but the Cherokee runners stayed focused through the rest of the race and picked off opponents one by one. Everyone who witnessed the finish saw all seven of Cherokee's runners fighting for every place right into the chute!

The team as a whole did incredibly well, with the scoring five averaging 16:53 after averaging 17:21 at the Shore Coaches Meet in October! Alex Yersak led the team again, matching his PR on the course and taking 7th! Kevin Schickling finished in 10th, while running an incredible 53 second PR on the course to become Cherokee's latest sub-17 performer at Holmdel and moving him to #11 on the list! Chris Applegate in 22nd, Steve Burkholder in 40th, with Ryan McNair right behind in 42nd . . . Matt McCarroll in 49th and Marc Saccomanno in 77th . . . almost all with PR's! GO CHEROKEE!

With all this going on, the coaches had a more difficult time than usual selecting the Runner of the Meet! But it went to Matt McCarroll who came prepared with uniform and spikes -- by the way, who brings their competition equipment when they're not scheduled to compete? And who poisoned Sean Hartnett's breakfast? Hey, just asking . . . -- for stepping in at the last minute and then running a 26 second PR on the course! Matt beat Old Bridge's 5th man and every other team's 4th man to protect the Cherokee victory! YIKES! GO MATT!

Complete results at: Lou Fraulo Racing Systems.

Alex Yersak at top of bowl Kevin Schickling at top of bowl Chris Applegate at top of bowl Steve Burkholder at top of bowl Matt McCarroll at top of bowl Ryan McNair at top of bowl
Marc Saccomanno at top of bowl Alex Yersak cresting the hill Kevin Schickling drives up the hill Chris Applegate on the hill Steve Burkholder on the hill Ryan McNair and Matt McCarroll on the hill
Marc Saccomanno on the hill Alex Yersak welcomes Kevin Schickling to the awards stand Awards stand, top 10 Awards stand, Cherokee team and coaches Awards stand, top 3 teams Chris Applegate and Matt McCarroll display the winner's trophy

New Jersey State Meet of Champions

On Saturday, November 17, 2007, Cherokee's Varsity squad -- having won and qualified at the New Jersey State Sectional Championships and the New Jersey State Group Championships -- once again traveled to the state's championship course in Holmdel, New Jersey for the New Jersey State Meet of Champions. But this time they were not as confident as before because two of their top performers, Alex Yersak and Kevin "Ted" Shickling, were sick during the previous week. Alex had some kind of allergy problem and Ted had the flu. Still, they and the rest of the Varsity runners lined up on the starting line with every intention of winning the meet! Unfortunately, that was not to be.

The guys ran strong but only one Ryan McNair was able to surpass his previous week's PR on the course, and, for that, he was selected as the Runner of the Meet! GO RYAN!

Besides that, as one wag said, "The highlight of the meet for Cherokee was that only one of the guys had to go to the hospital!" Sean Hartnett, suffering from an undetermined illness, collapsed on the course and received his first, and we hope his last, ambulance ride to the hospital! Seven hours and many tests later, the doctors were unable to identify the problem.

For eleven straight years, the Cherokee team qualfied for the Meet of Champions and, for eleven straight years, they finished in the top ten! This year, the race was rougher than most but the team finished 9th overall and kept the streak alive! GO CHEROKEE!

Complete results at: Lou Fraulo Racing Systems.

Alex Yersak about 1000m into the race Chris Applegate about 1000m into the race Ted Schickling about 1000m into the race Sean Hartnett about 1000m into the race Alex Yersak at 2.2 miles Chris Apllegate at 2.2 miles
Ted Schickling at 2.2. miles Matt McCarroll and Steve Burkholder at 2.2 miles Steve Burkholder at 2.2 miles Ryan McNair at 2.2 miles Support group of visiting Alums! Party cake celebrating Gp Championship!

Nike Team Nationals: The Northeast Regional Qualifier

The official Cross Country season ended after the New Jersey State Meet of Champions but members of the team, now constituted as the Cherokee Running Club competed on Saturday, November 24, 2007, in the regional qualifier for the Nike Team Nationals at Bowdoin Park, Wappinger Falls, New York. Sponsored by a large group of supportive parents, club members ran well on the unfamiliar course and finished 9th in a field of 22 elite teams!

The course itself was as challenging as New Jersey's Holmdel Park, and it was made even more so by the slick conditions on several parts of the course! The weather at race time -- sunny, high 30s, no wind -- was great for late November along the Hudson River in New York state! But ice on parts of the course overnight turned to slippery mud by the start of the championship race and made racing in those parts trecherous. Indeed, athletes flailed their arms on several downhill paths as they tried to maintain their footing, and Cherokee's Kevin Schickling was one of several runners who fell!

The competition was as tough as it should be in a championship race! Six ranked teams in the Northeast were involved, including, among others, top-ranked Brookline, Massachusetts; second-ranked Danbury, Connecticut; and the New Jersey State Champions Don Bosco Prep; New Jersey's # 2 team in the state, Christian Brothers Academy; and New Jersey's # 3 team in the state, Haddonfield. Despite Kevin Schickling's fall, which pretty much put him out of the race, Cherokee finished ahead of Christian Brothers and five other New Jersey teams!

Senior Alex Yersak was selected as the Runner of the Meet because he saved nothing in the race! Out close to the front in the first mile, he lost only a little to the competition by the end when he finished an impressive 17th in the race! Alex was followed by Chris Applegate in 45th; Steve Burkholder in 59th; Ryan McNair in 67th; Matt McCarroll in 68th; Kevin Schickling in 88th; and Marc Saccomanno in 122nd. NICE JOB CHEROKEE!

Complete results at: Dyestat.

Steve Burkholder at 600m Alex Yersak at 800m Chris Applegate at 800m Steve Burkholder and Ted Schickling at 800m Matt McCarroll at 800m Ryan McNair at 800m
Marc Saccomanno at 800m Race just short of mile mark Alex Yersak at mile Chris Aplegate and Ted Schickling at mile Ted Schickling at the mile Steve Burkholder at the mile
Ryan McNair at the mile Marc Saccomanno at the mile Alex Yersak in 11th with 1300m to go Alex Yersak with 1200m to go Chris Applegate with 1200m to go Steve Burkholder with 1200m to go
Ryan McNair with 1200m to go Matt McCarroll with 1200m to go Ted Schickling with 1200m to go Marc Saccomanno with 1200m to go Some of the families who brought the runners

Cherokee Cross Country Awards Dinner

On Sunday, December 2, 2007, following a long-standing tradition, Cherokee's Cross Country team held its annual awards dinner at the school. There the team, coaches, families and friends, as well as the school's Principal, Linda Rohrer and Athletic Director, Joseph Schramm, enjoyed a meal together, applauded the accomplishments of the team this season, and bid farewell to the graduating seniors. Highlights included the great meal provided by the parents and the Coaches' awards, including the Most Courageous, Most Improved, Most Valuable, and the Unsung Hero. Coach Shaklee's remarks are recounted in Coach's Message.

For parent John McNair's special video view of the team at the State Group 4 Championships, the Meet of Champions, and the Nike Team Nationals: click here.

Buffet table Buffet table View of tables View of tables Coach Shaklee Tom Yersak on the camera
Frosh-Soph group Juniors Seniors Olympic Conference All-Stars Graduating Seniors Coaches' Award Winners
Team unfolds State Championship banner Special 'Thank You' to Mrs. Devine Special 'Thank You' to Mrs. Yersak Captains thank Coach Thompson Cpt Steve McCarroll displays Coach Cal's special award Captains thank Coach Shaklee

Team Honors

Individual Honors/Awards

--- The following Coaches' Awards were announced:

--- The following awards were announced by the South Jersey Track Coaches Association, the Camden Courier-Post, the Burlington County Times, the Trenton Star-Ledger, the Ed Grant Newsletter, and the Olympic Conference:

Congratulations to everyone for a great year! GO CHEROKEE!

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