On November 5th, 2005, Cherokee looked forward to winning the South Jersey Group IV Championships at Delsea, NJ, but was forced to accept second place at the hands of a surging Washington Township squad! Still, two outstanding performances marked the day: Sophomore Alex Yersak and Senior Greg Bredeck took 1st and 2nd in the race and, everyone thought, practically assured the victory for Cherokee. However, a determined Washington Township team was able to place five men ahead of Cherokee's 3rd runner, Senior Will Andes (19th) and remind everyone once again that Cross Country is a team sport: all five guys have to score well in championship races! Junior Colin Cunningham (23rd) and Senior Rich Nelson (26th) finished the five-man scoring for Cherokee, while Senior Vin Marziano (37th) and Sophomore Kevin Schickling (52nd) finished 6th and 7th. There were 20 teams in the race but as it turned out, for Cherokee, only Washington Township really mattered: Washington Township -- 63 . . . Cherokee -- 71.
The coaches selected Alex Yersak and Greg Bredeck to share the "Runner of the Meet" honors. Both raced like first class champions, as the results demonstrate!
Complete NJSIAA Sectional results are available at: Scullion
On November 6th, 2005, Coach Shaklee took to the roads again in the 11th Annual Run the Bridge 10K, a challenging course back and forth on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and then another three miles or so along the waterfront in Camden, NJ.
Last year, the 10K race attracted over 700 runners, and this year they had twice that number! And last year, Coach Shaklee finished the race in 35:42, 12th overall and 2nd in his age group. This year, he was happy because he dropped his time, finishing in 34:53, but disappointed because he ended up 19th overall and 4th in his age group! Wow, tough race!
The coach's wife, Cricket Batz Shaklee also ran the race, but as part of a training run and not in competition.
Complete results at: L & M Sports
On November 12th, 2005, Cherokee ran the NJSIAA State Group IV Championships on the state's premier course at Holmdel Park and advanced to the Meet of Champions! The team finished fourth overall but, with a strong team average, qualified for one of two "wildcard" slots in the upcoming meet.
Senior Greg Bredeck led the Chiefs with a 12 second PR performance on the course, finishing 6th in 16:25; and Senior Rich Nelson took second on the team and 23rd overall, finishing with a huge 21 second PR in 16:48! Sophomore Alex Yersak immediately followed Nelson in 24th place overall, posting a 16:52, only a few seconds off his course PR. Senior Will Andes, also running an 8 second PR on the course, took 4th on the team and 57th overall, finishing in 17:33; and Senior Vin Marziano, nursing an injury all season, rounded out the team scorers, finishing in 59th with a 17:34. The sixth man on the team, Sophomore Kevin Schicking had an outstanding race, finishing in 61st overall with a huge 40 second PR on the course of 17:35! And Sophomore Colin Cunningham making his first run on the Holmdel course, finished in 72nd and established a course PR of 17:47. GO CHEROKEE!
The coaches selected Rich Nelson and Kevin Schickling as "Runners of the Meet" to recognize the huge PRs they posted in this race! GO RICH! GO TED!
Complete results at: Scullion
For those into statistics, this is the ninth straight year Cherokee has qualified for the Meet of Champions: taking 1st from 1997 to 2002, 2nd in 2001, 3rd in 2002, 4th (wildcard) in 2003, 3rd in 2004, and 4th (wildcard) in 2005! Additionally, Greg Bredeck's time placed him among Cherokee's All-Time performers and dropped the average of the All-Time Team to 16:03!
On November 13th, 2005, several of Cherokee's "Unsung Heroes" traveled to Malvern, Pennsylvania for the Race Against Arthritis 5K. These guys were the 8th, 9th and 10th men on the Varsity squad and, although it was unlikely that any of the top seven would be unable to compete in the State Championship series, they continued to train just in case they were needed. To maintain their "racers' edge," they competed in a Sunday morning roadrace 45 miles from their homes in the rolling hills northwest of Philadelphia.
Accompanied by Team Captain Vin Marziano, who served as cheerleader, Senior Matt Applegate, Junior Mike Medvec, and Sophomore Steve McCarroll competed in the race. They finished in 7th, 8th and 9th place overall but their times were not immediately available. Please see the pictures below for photographic evidence of their performances! Come on, pictures don't lie!
On November 19th, 2005, the Cherokee team arrived at Holmdel Park for the NJ State Meet of Champions hoping to add one more to its record-setting streak of eight consecutive years on the awards platform. To get there, however, they had to finish among the top six in the race, a daunting feat.
Indeed, judging from the results at the Group Championships the previous week -- where Cherokee finished 4th in Group IV but qualified for the Meet of Champions as a "wild card" entry -- the team had to run even better to keep their streak intact! And, run better, they did!
Senior Greg Bredeck again led the Chiefs! Last week, he set a PR performance on the course of 16:25 and, this week, he dropped that another 6 seconds, finishing in 16:19! Sophomore Alex Yersak followed by running just off his own course PR (16:43) in 16:49! Then, Senior Will Andes dropped a stunning 36 seconds off his previous best, finishing in 16:57! Senior Rich Nelson had a more difficult time of it, finishing off his PR performance of last week but still taking 4th for the team. And Junior Colin Cunningham, last week's 7th man, running only the second time on the course, dropped his PR of last week by an astonishing 19 seconds! Backing up these scorers were Sophomore Kevin Schickling who lost only 6 seconds from his outstanding PR set the previous week, and Senior Vin Marziano who, still nursing an injury, was unable to match his time of last week. Still -- and despite these few setbacks -- the team stepped-up when it had to and secured a place for Cherokee on the awards platform for the ninth year in a row!
The excitement at the end of the race was all the more intense because the coaches figured the team had to beat their SJ challengers, Sectional Champions Washington Township, if they were to finish among the top 6 teams in the race. But Washington Township packed 5 runners in before Cherokee's 4th man and the situation looked bleak. With Bredeck and Yersak taking big points early on, scored side-by-side against Washington Township's first two runners, Cherokee was up by 30 points. However, that lead dwindled as the rest of Township's pack came in: it was only 26 after the third men were counted; only 18 after the 4th men; and only 2 after the fifth men!
Even this is not the entire story! Yes, Cherokee took 6th by 2 points over Washington Township but Township was not the only threat! Indeed, Township had to settle for 8th! Cherokee finished in 6th with 188 points; Washington Township finished in 8th with 190 points . . . and Don Bosco finished in 7th with 189 points! Certainly this had to be the closest 6th place team battle in Meet of Champs history, and it attests to the importance of every runner on the team, right down to the seventh man!
The coaches named Will Andes the "Runner of the Meet" in recognition of his breakthrough performance! GO WILL!
As an aside, Greg Bredeck's PR performance lowered the All-Time Team Average once again: this time to 16:02! And, with a total time of 80:09, Cherokee now ranks 6th on the State's All-Time list behind North Hunterdon (78:34), CBA (79:18); Haddonfield (80:01), Paul VI (80:02), and Hunterdon Central (80:04)!
Kevin Cranston of the Courier-Post saw the results this way: Cherokee ends day in familiar position.
Complete results at: Scullion.
On November 23, 2005, the Camden Courier-Post named Cherokee the winner of "the Courier-Post Cup, emblematic of the No. 1 team in South Jersey . . . the Chiefs' second straight Cup and their fifth in the last nine years." For a complete explanation, see Kevin Cranston's article: Cherokee exceeded expectations. (Pictures removed.) Also, see the final Courier-Post Top 20 ranking at: Cherokee finishes in 1st. And, finally, read some of Kevin Cranston's thoughts on the "Race of the Year" and the "Toughest Runner" at: Top Performances, Surprises of the Season.
On December 1, 2005, at the South Jersey Track Coaches Association Fall Banquet, the team was awarded the Courier-Post Cup as South Jersey's # 1 cross country team! The presenter highlighted the unexpected achievements made by a so-called "rebuilding team," who, having graduated six of their top eight runners, seemed to lack the strength to repeat as winners of the Courier-Post Cup. However, following a pattern set by many previous Cherokee teams, this team proved that, through persistence and hard work, they could achieve success! As a result, the Chiefs have now won five Courier-Post Cups and have been either # 1 or # 2 in the final rankings since 1997.
At the same time, Senior Greg Bredeck and Sophomore Alex Yersak were named to the All-South Jersey Cross Country Team! This was the third time for Greg and the first time for Alex!
On December 5, 2005, the Burlington County Times named Greg Bredeck and Alex Yersak to the All-Burlington County Cross Country, First Team; and Will Andes and Rich Nelson to the All-Burlington County Cross Country, Second Team.. An edited version of Ed Moorhouse's article can be found at: All-Burlington County.
On December 4, 2005, 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 2005. 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 Burlington County Times, and the Olympic Conference: