For Cherokee, "Winter Track" is a time to prepare for the Spring season. Coaches focus on base and strength training for the distance athletes, and skills and conditioning for the sprinters, jumpers and throwers. Even so, the team participates in a number of meets -- some of which are not reported here -- for both experience and a change of pace.
William "Pop" Emrey Christmas City Relays
On December 27, 2007, many of Cherokee's sprinters and jumpers began the Winter Season against some tough competition in the William "Pop" Emrey Christmas City Relays at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. The highlight of the meet was Chris Steliga's winning performance in the Long Jump (22' 3") and 4th in the Triple Jump (41' 8.75")! Other nice performances included Steve Watson's 6th place in the Triple Jump (41' 3.50"); Eric Pontrello's 6th in the Pole Vault (12' 6"); Aaron DeCaires' 5th in the 55HH Trials (8.24) and another 5th in the Finals (8.22); and Sam Shapiro's 8th in the 55 Dash (6.82). Relay teams took 4th in the Sprint Medley (3:59.50); 6th in the 4 X 200m (1:38.36); and 6th in the 4 X 400 (4:16.78). Complete results at: Emrey T & F Association.
Haddonfield Invitational Relays
On January 4, 2007, Cherokee athletes traveled to Haddonfield's Memorial Field for the Haddonfield Invitational Relays. For the winter, conditions were beyond ideal, with little or no wind and temperatures near 60! Reported highlights included 1st place in three races: Chris Chen, Mike Schiafone, Mike Brocco, Aaron DeCaires in the Shuttle Hurdles Relay (33.3); Chris Steliga, Sam Shapiro, Kevin Merrigan, Steve Watson the 4 X 200m Relay (1:32.8); and Chris Steliga, Sam Shapiro, Steve Watson, Alex Yersak in the Sprint Medley Relay (3:48.6). In the Distance Medley Relay, Alex Yersak, Brian Schules, Joe Foley, Chris Applegate took 2nd place (11:35.8). Complete results at: SJ Track Coaches Association
Here are some pictures showing team members in action before the sun set! To review the pictures below, hover over the picture for a brief description; click on the picture to open a larger version.
Indian Hills Invitational
On January 8, 2007, the sprint squad took their first trip to the New York City Armory where they competed in the Indian Hills Invitational. The highlight of this meet was Chris Steliga's performance in the 200m Dash: his 1st place, 22.6 was good enough to qualify for the Indoor Nationals! Other top finishers included: Steve Watson's 1st in the Triple Jump (41' 6"); Kyle Magulick's 1st in the Shot Put (40' 4.50"); Eric Pontrello's 1st in the Pole Vault (13' 0"); Chris Chen's 2nd in the 55 HH (8.4); and Binah Moore's 2nd in the 55m Dash (6.7). Details on this and other meets are available at: NJ Runs, while the specific results from this meet are at Indian Hills at NJ Runs.
NJ State Track and Field Relay Championships
On January 14, 2007, Cherokee's top sprinters competed in the NJ State Track and Field Relay Championships at the Jersey City Armory. In their best performance of the day, Chris Steliga, Sam Shapiro, Kevin Merrigan and Steve Watson took 9th out of 49 teams (2nd among all South Jersey teams) in the 4 X 200m Relay (1:37.62). In the Shuttle Hurdles Relay, Chris Chen, Mike Schiafone, Mike Brocco and Aaron Decaires took 15th overall and 1st among South Jersey teams (33.28). In the Sprint Medley Relay, Chris Steliga, Sam Shapiro, Steve Watson and Alex Yersak took 20th (3:54.26); and in the 4 X 400m Relay, Aaron DeCaires, Mike Schiafone, Kevin Merriman and Mike Brocco took 27th (3:49.19). Complete results at: Morris County Track Association.
On January 20, 2007, many of Cherokee's athletes participated in the Lavino Relays at The Lawrenceville School. It was a great opportunity for the less experienced athletes because many of Cherokee's finest played limited roles or were held out entirely for the Conference Championships being held the following day. Highlights included 2nd in the 4 X 200m by Sam Shapiro, Chris Steliga, Kevin Merrigan and Steve Watson (1:33.5), and 8th in the Shuttle Hurdles by Chris Chen, Mike Schiafone, Mike Brocco and Aaron DeCaires (32.6). Limited results at: NJ Runs.
Taking indoor pictures of fast-moving athletes is a challenge for even the best photographers but here are some that were taken while the sun still shown through the skylight:
Pat Montferrat of NJ Runs povided these pictures from the meet:
Olympic Conference Winter Championships
On January 21, 2007, a contingent of Cherokee's team traveled to the new John Bennett Athletic Complex in Toms River, NJ for the Olympic Conference Championships. The team took 4th place overall. Highlights included 1st place finishes in the Pole Vault by Eric Pontrello (13' 0") and in the 3200m by Alex Yersak (9:53.19)! And close behind Yersak in the 3200m was Chris Applegate who took 2nd in 9:53.90! Hurdlers Aaron DeCaires, Chris Chen and Mike Schiafone ran tough, taking 4th (8.26), 6th (8.42) and 8th (8.60) place respectively! In the Shot Put, Kyle Magulick took 5th with a throw of 40' 11.75". Finally, while the 4 X 400 team of Aaron DeCaires, Mike Schiafone, Aaron Shapiro and Steve Watson only took 6th in race, the highlight here was the blistering 53.88 clocking by "short sprint specialist" Sam Shapiro! Complete results at: Bennett Athletic Complex at TR.
South Jersey Individual Championships
On January 26, 2007, members of the team competed in the South Jersey Individual Championships at the John Bennett Athletic Complex in Toms River, NJ. Once again, Eric Pontrello set the standard in the Vault, taking 1st place at 13' 0"! Other excellent performances came from Steve Burkholder (PR 10:29.57), Marc "16 laps" Saccomanno (15 second PR 10:36.91) and Matt McCarroll (PR 10:45.21) in the 3200m! In addition, Alex Yersak (PR 4:33.53) Kevin Schickling (PR 4:44.62) and Chris Applegate (PR 4:49.87) ran very well in the 1600m! Among the sprinters, Kevin Merrigan did well in both the 55m Dash (7.01) and the 200m (24.35), with Binah Moore (7.12) following in the 55m and William Iamurri (25.06) following in the 200m. Kyle Magulick (8.81) was the first Cherokee finisher in the 55m High Hurdles, while Christopher Ratkis (35' 5.25") was the first Cherokee finisher in the Shot Put. Complete results at: Bennett.
Toms River Field Invitational
On January 31, 2007, four of Cherokee's top performers traveled to the John Bennett Athletic Complex in Toms River, NJ for the Toms River Field Invitational. In the Pole Vault, Eric Pontrello took 3rd with a vault of 13', while in the Long Jump Chris Steliga placed 2nd with a jump of 20' 11", closely followed by Aaron DeCaires taking 5th in 19' 7.5" and Steve Watson taking 8th in 19' 4.25"! Complete results at: Bennett.