Group States Championships: On November 13th, a cold and windy day on the state's championship course at Holmdel, Cherokee competed in the Group Championships. The team knew that if everyone ran well, they would win the Group IV race, but that was not to happen. Team Captain Sean McLaughlin reinjured his already damaged ankle in the first 800m of the race and limped through the course, and Senior Matt Dolan collapsed and lay unconscious for ten minutes only about 800m from the finish! Even so, with Tom Yersak finishing third (16:21.69 and now 4th on the Cherokee All-Time list at Holmdel!) and Greg Bredeck finishing fourth (16:29.20, now 6th on the Cherokee All-Time list at Holmdel!); and with Vin Marziano in 24th (16:59.61, places him 14th on the Cherokee All-Time list at Holmdel!), Paul McFadden in 32nd (17:10.38, now 19th on the Cherokee All-Time list at Holmdel!), and James Maneval in 42nd (17:22.12, previous time places him 16th on the list), the team took 3rd and won an invitation to the up-coming Meet of Champions! Full results at: Scullion.
On Sunday, November 14th, Kevin Callahan of the Courier-Post made this observation on Sean and his race: McLaughlin Gave All He Had
Hey, where's Marziano?!
The State Meet of Champions: On November 20th, another rainy day,
a Cherokee team toed the line in the state's premier meet for the 8th straight
year in a row , prepared to challenge the best for the grand prize. Despite
the weather, the race as a whole was one of the fastest in the state's history.
CBA and Morris Hills proved too much for the Cherokee squad, but the battle for
third was an intense one, made all the more difficult when #3 runner, Matt Dolan,
collapsed unconscious midway through the race. While Matt was rushed to the
hospital, the team fought hard only to lose the battle for third to both Old Bridge
(140 pts) and Toms River North (144) with a fifth place tally of 149!
As reported earlier, Matt Dolan collapsed last week in the Group States Championships and was taken to the hospital for an afternoon of tests. These, and additional tests taken throughout the week, convinced his doctors, parents and coaches that he was capable of competing in the MOC. Matt himself needed no convincing because he felt fine, and, as he had worked extraordinarily hard for a long time to compete in and help his team win the MOC, he was not going to be denied that opportunity!
Senior Tom Yersak took 10th overall and dropped 8 seconds from his PR, running an outstanding 16:13. This is the 5th fastest time ever run at Holmdel by a county athlete and it remains 4th on the Cherokee All-Time list at Holmdel, after Marc Pelerin, Keith Krieger, and Joe Halin. Junior Greg Bredeck took 22nd overall and dropped 3 seconds off his PR, posting another great time of 16:26, which tied for 5th on Cherokee All-Time list. And Junior Vin Marziano took 63rd, dropping another 4 seconds off his PR, and finishing in 16:55, tied for 12th on the Cherokee All-Time list. Senior Sean McLaughlin improved significantly over last week's time, finishing 76th in 17:04. Sean holds 9th place on the Cherokee All-Time list based on his previous posting of 16:33. Senior James Maneval finished as the team's 5th man in 81st place, posting a time of 17:09. A previous time of 17:00 places him 17th on the Cherokee All-Time list. And finally, Senior Paul McFadden finished in 101st place in 17:27. he too had a previous better of 17:10.38 which places him 19th on the Cherokee All-Time list.
The team finished 5th in the State, the 8th time in a row that Cherokee finished 6th or better at the State Meet of Champions! This suggests that Cherokee has been fortunate to have a series of great athletes, a supportive administration, and not to be forgotten, incredibly supportive parents over the years, but it also stands as a testament to the excellent coaching that has marked the program! Full results at: Scullion.
On Sunday, November 21st, Kevin Cranston of the Burlington County Times had this to say about Tom Yersak and his race: Yersak Confident . . ..
Footlocker Cross Country Championships: On November 27th, several Cherokee athletes participated in the 26th Annual Footlocker CC Championships at the legendary Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. Unlike previous years, the running conditions were almost perfect, with only a slight wind to complain about! In the Freshman race, Alex Yersak ran the 5K course in 18:14.8, finishing 20th in the race! He was the 3rd New Jersey -- and 1st South Jersey -- runner to finish the race! In the Championship Race that drew over 230 participants, Senior Tom Yersak, recently selected as the "SJ Runner of the Year" by the South Jersey Track Coaches Association and the Camden Courier-Post, posted a 16:34.6, finishing 61st in a race! Tom was the 6th New Jersey -- and the 1st South Jersey -- runner to finish the race! Tom was closely followed by Junior Greg Bredeck, just named the "Player of the Week" by the Camden Courier-Post, who finished in 71st place, the 9th New Jersey -- and the 3rd South Jersey -- runner to finish! Complete results at: Footlocker.
On December 2nd, at the South Jersey Track Coaches Association Fall Banquet, the team was
recognized for this season's accomplishments:
All-South Jersey Team: On November 21st, the South Jersey Track Coaches Association and sports writers from the Camden Courier-Post selected the All-South Jersey Cross Country Team. Senior Tom Yersak and Junior Greg Bredeck were named to the 1st team!
South Jersey Runner of the Year: Also on November 21st, the South Jersey Track Coaches Association and sports writers from the Camden Courier-Post named Senior Tom Yersak as the South Jersey Runner of the Year!
Courier-Post Cup: On November 29th, the Camden Courier-Post named Cherokee as South Jersey's # 1 cross country team! In doing so, the newspaper highlighted the extraordinary depth of the team as it held # 1 ranking throughout the season despite serious injuries to three of the five top runners on the team. Interestingly, the Chiefs have now won four Courier-Post Cups and have been either # 1 or # 2 in the final rankings since 1997. The complete article, written by Phil Brett of the Courier-Post can be found at: Depth proves to be key for Cherokee.
South Jersey Coach of the Year: On December 12th, the Camden Courier-Post
named Coach Steve Shaklee the "South Jersey Coach of the Year." They noted that Coach
Shaklee's team won, among other things, the Courier-Post Cup for the fourth time since 1997, the
Seeded Invitational at the Great American Cross Country Festival, the SJ Shootout, the Burlington
County Open, and an 8th straight American Division title! In addition, they mentioned Tom Yersak
as Coach Shaklee's third "SJ Runner of the Year" in four years (Marc Pelerin, Keith Kreiger and
South Jersey Player of the Year: Following the announcement made at the November
banquet of the South Jersey Track Coaches Association, the Camden Courier-Post named Tom
Yersak the "South Jersey Player of the Year," noting his All-State, All-Group, and All-South
The Camden Courier-Post articles naming the coach as the "South Jersey Coach of the year" and Tom Yersak as the "South Jersey Player of the Year" can be found at: Varsity All-Stars.
Also on December 12th, the Cherokee Cross Country team held its annual banquet where the team, coaches, parents and friends enjoyed a meal together, and Coaches Shaklee and Callinan recognized the extraordinary accomplishments of the team in 2004. Their remarks are documented in the Coaches Message.
This section is meant to briefly summarize those accomplishments.
The following awards were announced by Coaches Shaklee and Callinan:
The following awards were announced by the South Jersey Track Coaches Association, the Camden Courier-Post, the Newark Star-Ledger, the Burlington County Times, and the Olympic Conference: