For many high school distance athletes, the most difficult "season" of all is the summer season. There's no competition (except against your own mind and the weather) and there's no racing. All of that comes later, after the foundation is laid.
For Cherokee's Cross Country athletes, that foundation is about eight weeks of solid distance training, sometimes 60 or 70+ miles a week; and all of it to prepare for the more intensive work that must be done in the Fall.
This past summer, as always with teams that have traditions of excellence, the Cross Country runners worked hard, following the training schedules prepared by their coach. They trained individually and as a group building that physical foundation and the emotional bonds of friendship that would support them throughout the season.
The pictures below were taken during an August practice at Cherokee High School. (Click on each picture to enlarge.)
In late August, they attended the extraordinary RunningWorks Cross Country Camp in Canadensis, Pennsylvania, where they trained for six days with top coaches and athletes from the Northeastern United States, learned from special guest speakers, and continued to build solid foundations for the up-coming season.
The pictures below are of Cherokee athletes taken at camp. For some comments and a wider selection of pictures from camp, see RunningWorks Cross Country Camp Pictures, 2003.
On September 16th, the Cherokee squad met cross-district rival Shawnee High School in a dual meet at Gloucester County College, and Cherokee chalked up its first win of the season, 19 - 42. Coach Shaklee allowed Senior Captain Nick Freeman and Sophomore Greg Bredeck to train through this meet and placed the pressure on others in the top ranks of the team. Tom Yersak took first, closely followed by Mike Candy in 3rd, James Maneval in 4th, Paul McFadden in 5th, and Sean McLaughlin in 6th.
The coaches selected Paul McFadden as the "Runner of the Meet." Paul finished in 4th place, running the fastest 5k of his career: 17:46.
Click on the following pictures for larger versions:
On September 20th, the team sponsored and participated in the Eight Annual Cherokee Challenge. This year there were over 80 teams in competition, but "The Challenge" is meant to be a "light" introduction to a long and difficult season: the high school races are only 3200m; the athetes compete against others in their class only; and there is no team scoring. The idea is to lower the pressure and still let the athletes get their "competitive juices" flowing again.
That said, it was nice to see Sophomore Greg Bredeck win his race; and Junior Tom Yersak take second in the fastest race of the day! And congratulations to all Cherokee medal winners: Freshman Brendan Smith; Sophs Greg Bredeck, Will Andes, and Rich Nelson; Juniors Tom Yersak, Sean McLaughlin, James Maneval, Mike Candy, and Matt Dolan; and Senior Nick Freeman!
The coaches selected Tom Yersak as the "Runner of the Meet." In the Junior race, Tom ran the 4th fastest time of the day, only 7 seconds off the fastest time of the day.
-- Editor's Note: Not sure what happened to the Cherokee Challenge pics but the links will remain until a search is completed. --
The following are some of the pictures taken at "The Challenge," and others can be found at Cherokee Challenge Pictures :
On September 24th, the team met Eastern Regional High School at Gloucester County College and moved its Conference record to 2 - 0. This time, Coach Shaklee allowed Yersak, Candy, Maneval and McLaughlin to train through the meet while team Captain Nick Freeman and Sophomore star Greg Bredeck led the team to victory. The Chiefs ran well, taking the first six places (Freeman, Bredeck, McFadden, Andes, Dolan and Steve Brown) scoring the best possible 15 - 49.
The coaches selected Will Andes as the "Runner of the Meet," noting his 4th place finish and his 17:55 on Gloucester County's "B" course as the fastest 5k of his career.
On Thursday, September 25th, Cherokee's Boys and Girls teams traveled by bus to Raleigh, N.C. for the Great American Cross Country Festival. On Friday, they checked out the course and then watched former Cherokee runners Keith Krieger and Marc Pelerin compete for their college teams (click here for further information on the college competition).
On Saturday, the Boys finished 2nd against national competition in the Seeded Invitational Race. Tom Yersak (16:42.9) was the first Chief to cross the finish line, followed by Sean McLaughlin (17:03.39); James Maneval (17:11.71); Greg Bredeck (17:18.92); Nick Freeman (17:22.29); Mike Candy (17:56.25) and Paul McFadden (17:56.42).
The JV squad, led by Will Andes (18:20.44) and Matt Dolan (18:36.59), finished in 8th place.
The coaches selected James Maneval as the "Runner of the Meet." They noted enthusiastically that James "ran the best race of his career," finishing as the 3rd Cherokee runner on the team.
Click Great American CC Festival for all the meet results.
On September 30th, Cherokee met both Washington Township and Lenape in a "double-dual" at Gloucester County College and, although Coach Shaklee sat out four of his top seven (Yersak, McLaughlin, Maneval and McFadden), the team scored 20-43 against both opponents and raised their Conference record to 4-0. Bredeck, Candy and Freeman paced the others on the team and kept the slower runners out in front. And, although Washington Township took 1st place, and Lenape took 2nd, 3rd (Rich Nelson), 4th (Greg Bredeck), 5th (Nick Freeman), 6th (Mike Candy), 7th (Matt Dolan), 9th (Will Andes), and 10th (Steve Brown) were taken by the Cherokee runners!
The coaches selected Rich Nelson, as the "Runner of the Meet," pointing to his 3rd place finish and the huge "Personal Best" he achieved: Rich dropped his 5k time by over a minute in this race!