Cherokee Cross Country Pictures, 2009, Page I


Last year, following team Captains Alex Yersak, Ted Schickling and Steve McCarroll, Cherokee Cross Country returned to the front ranks among the top teams in the state! Another undefeated dual meet season, the American Division Champions for the 11th straight year; the Burlington County Champions for the 9th out of past 11 years; the Olympic Conference Champions; the Group IV Sectional Champions; and then the Group IV State Champions! All that was missing was a victory in the State Meet of Champions!

Without those Captains who graduated -- two of whom were the top runners on the squad -- and with the Conference, County and Sectional competition growing even stronger, it will be very difficult to repeat the success of last year. But don't say that to this year's group of returning starters and the rest of the team that worked hard all summer to maintain Cherokee's reputation throughout the state! Yes, no one will match the championship record set by Alex Yersak last year but, as a team, they fully expect to maintain their high ranking in the state!

Look for the Cherokee pack, led by a contingent of experienced seniors, including Chris Applegate, Sean Hartnett, Ryan McNair, Kyle Miller, and Marc Saccomanno; and several juniors, including Steven Burkholder, Matt McCarroll and Kyle Smith, as they challenge New Jersey's best in 2008!

To become champions, the distance team knows that training is a year-long activity: Cross Country is followed by Winter Track, and that is followed by Spring Track. Accepting that idea, as so many Cherokee runners have in the past, the team began its Cross Country training only a few weeks after the Spring Track Season ended. Through weight training and team runs, they built the physical foundation and the fraternal bonds so necessary for a sustained campaign throughout the season.

RunningWorks Cross Country Camp

In late August, for the tenth year in a row, over a dozen members of Cherokee's Cross Country team attended the extraordinary RunningWorks Cross Country Camp in Canadensis, Pennsylvania. There, when they weren't perched on "their rock," they participated in a week-long program of training with top coaches and athletes from the Northeastern United States, and learned from Olympic great Marcus O'Sullivan and special guest speaker, Villanovan and NCAA Champion Frances Koons.

The following pictures are of Cherokee coaches and athletes at camp. Some of the guys are not shown but you'll get to see them in the days that follow. For a wider selection of pictures, including some more of Cherokee runners, from both the Blair and Canadensis camps, see RunningWorks Cross Country Camp Pictures, 2008.

If using Microsoft Explorer, hover over the thumbnail picture for a description, click for a larger version.

Kyle 'Aquaman' Miller Checking-in Ryan McNair drilling Matt McCarroll with his running group Chris Applegate returns Sean Hartnett strides back to camp
Steve Burkholder returns to camp Marc Saccomanno paces Dave Welsh Frank Devine drilling Ryan Bobb drilling Adam Henriksen drilling Group caught off 'their rock'
On the sacred rock Frank Devine at Threshold Run Ryan Bobb doing threshold Evan Stone at Threshold Ryan Bobb at Threshold Josh Ungerleider at threshold
Evan Stone at threshold Ryan McNair with Mikias Gelagle Chris Applegate and Steve Burkholder Steve Burkholder Coach Cal surveying the field Coach Shaklee demonstrating a different push-up
Bobb, Ungerlieder and Devine in their group Applegate and Burk protect the rear Marc Saccomanno drilling Kyle Smith drilling Chris Applegate drilling Sean Hartnett drilling
Chris Applegate drilling Kyle Smith drills Mike Czuba hangs out Frank Devine stretches Josh Ungerleider actually catches this one! Evan Stone with his group

The Season Begins

Cherokee Challenge: Preparations

Planning for the up-coming Cherokee Challenge has been going on since the last one ended! But recently, with the meet fast approaching, all of this has intensified. Last week, for example, the parents met to discuss their roles in preparing for and running the meet, and various responsibilities were distributed. One such responsibility is the preparation of the course: trails have to be cleared and marked, grass has to be cut, holes have to be filled, marking posts have to be installed, etc. So, on Sunday, September 14th, a day of record-breaking heat and humidity, Coach Shaklee and a crack team of fathers -- women and children stand back! -- showed up with tools in hand to get the job done! Here are a few pictures of that team in action!

Saccomanno supervises Shaklee (hidden), McCarroll, Henriksen, Morgan Now what? McCarroll, Shaklee, Henriksen, Morgan Henriksen, Shaklee, McCarroll,Saccomanno and Morgan lock it up Saccomanno, Ahern, and McCarroll check a trail Foley aligns course markers Hartnett gets ready to install marker
Ahern, McCarroll, Foley align markers Saccomanno installs while McNair aligns the marker Henriksen and Hartnett lead a group through the course McCarroll, Ahern, Saccomanno, Foley, Hartnett, McNair, Henriksen. Missing:  

Thanks to all for your help . . . especially those whose picture we missed!

Double-Dual Meet: Cherry Hill HS East and Washington Township HS

On September 16, 2008, Cherokee officially began the season with an impressive double victory against Cherry Hill High School East and Washington Township High School! Focusing on "tightening the pack of scorers on the team," Cherokee took seven of the top eight places against both East and Washington Township, all finishing within 35 seconds of each other! Steve Burkholder led the team across the finish line, taking 2nd overall, and he was closely followed by Chris Applegate (3rd), Sean Hartnett (5th), Ryan McNair (6th), Kyle Smith (7th) and Matt McCarroll (8th)!

Additional highlights included three great finish-line battles: Chris Applegate's "friction with Fraction," an exciting last-second win against Washington Township's Xavier Fraction; Jeremy Morgan's equally exciting victory over another Washington Township athlete; or David Wallace's running down two opponents in the last 50 meters of his race! Also, Ryan McNair and Kyle Smith under 17 minutes for the first time in a 5K cross country race; and impressive performances by many of the Freshmen, especially Matt Venanzi, Aiden Lynch (both in the 18:40's!) and Billy Hornung!

The coaches selected Kyle Smith as the "Runner of the Meet" as he stepped into Varsity competition for the first time and scored, running sub-17:00 by 20 seconds! GO KYLE!

Kyle Smith, Runner of the Meet

Dual Meet Record: 2 - 0!

Here's a thought: "Runners" merely cover the course, "zoned out" to what's going on around them. "Racers" focus on what's going on around them: they battle over every inch, refusing to allow opponents to pull away, to pass, or even to stay abreast, without a fight! Some actually count the number of opponents they pass during a race and, when the final tally is made, quietly congratulate themselves on the contribution they made! Cross Country championships have been determined by a single person who passed an opponent, or refused to let an opponent pass, somewhere during the race. Be that kid who makes the difference!

Senior Chris Applegate holds off a charging Xavier Fraction at the line! Chris Applegate wins at the line! Freshman David Wallace passes two opponents near the finish line!

Freshman Jeremy Morgan makes his move near the finish line Freshman Jeremy Morgan moving on his opponent Freshman Jeremy Morgan passing Freshman Jeremy Morgan passing Freshman Jeremy Morgan has the upper hand at this point

Start Start Magnificent 7 and a few others! Ryan Bobb, Frank Devine, Josh Ungerleider, Adam Henriksen Bill Hornung, Mike Czuba, Matt Venanzi Matt Venanzi
Dave Wallace, Mike Palmieri, and Alex Walker Andrew Yang Kyle Cook and Matt Adams Jeremy Morgan Albert Ptaszenski Chris Applegate and Sean Hartnett
Ryan McNair Evan Stone Frank Devine Matt Venanzi Aiden Lynch Adam Henriksen
Bill Hornung Josh Ungerleider Ryan McNair Matt McCarroll Ryan Bobb Mike Palmieri
Mike Czuba Andrew Yang Dave Wallace Kyle Cook Albert Ptaszenski Matt Adams

Cherokee Challenge

On September 20, 2008, a beautiful Fall day in South Jersey, Cherokee hosted the 13th Annual Cross Country Cherokee Challenge! Everyone associated with the team, from the athletes, coaches and maintanence staff, to parents and friends, pitched-in and made it one of the best-run cross country meets of the year! In addition, with almost 2,000 runners competing in 10 races, the competition was stronger than ever!

Even without two of the team's top competitors, Marc Saccomanno and Kyle Smith, Cherokee managed to come away with eight medal winners led by junior, Steve Burkholder's 8th place finish in the junior race, the most competitive field of the day. Steve's time of 9:55 made him the 4th fastest Cherokee runner in the 13 year meet history. For his excellent performance at the Challenge and his equally strong race at Tuesday's meet against Cherry Hill East and Washington Township, Steve was selected as the Boys Cross Country "Athlete of the Week." GO STEVE!

Steve Burkholder

Matt McCarroll also ran a strong race to finish 14th among the juniors. Sean Hartnett, 16th, Chris Applegate, 17th and Ryan McNair, 27th were the top seniors; while Ryan Bobb in 33rd was the top sophomore. The freshman trio of Aiden Lynch, 11th, Matt Venanzi, 17th and Billy Hornung, 18th, ran very well to earn medals in their first Cherokee Challenge competition.

The coaches selected Aiden Lynch as the "Runner of the Meet" for his excellent race, in particular his outstanding last 800 in which he passed several runners! GO AIDEN!

Aiden Lynch

Perhaps more important than the runners on the team -- at least when you consider the successful operation of the meet -- were the parents! For weeks,they made all the plans for the concession stand and performed for a variety of pre-meet jobs. And, then, on meet day, they showed up early for last-minute preparations and stayed late, until the campus was back in perfect order! During the meet, they manned the course from the starting line to the finish, guiding runners throughout and then helping them when their races were over. They played the music, and, most important, they worked the concession stand that fed the starving masses! Many thanks to all of those who helped in so many ways to make the Cherokee Challenge a success! Here are only a few in action . . .!

Parents Chef Saccomanno Mr. McCarroll clowns for the camera; Mrs. ignores him Mr. Candy and his friends, Woofer and Tweeter Parents
Parents Parents Parents Parents Parents

Here are some of the guys who ran:

Freshman Bill Hornung Freshman Aiden Lynch Freshman Matt Venanzi Freshman Andrew Moorhouse Freshman Dave Wallace Freshman Andrew Yang
Freshman Mark Moorhouse Freshman Matt Adams Freshman Albert Ptaszenski Freshman Jeremy Morgan Freshman Mark Morace Soph Ryan Bobb
Soph Kyle Cook Juniors Steve Burkholder and Matt McCarroll Junior Steve MCarroll Junior Mike Czuba Junior Mike Palmieri Junior Alex Walker
Junior Frank Devine Junior Josh Perez Senior Chris Applegate Seniors Sean McNair and Sean Hartnett Senior Sean Hartnett Senior Evan Stone
Senior Adam Henriksen Seniors Chris Applegate and Sean Hartnett Senior Ryan McNair Senior Adam Henriksen Truck team! Truck team!

Tim Frantz

One of us died this week. Not in runner's jargon . . . as in "tiring in a race" . . . but in real life. Tim Frantz died of a disease that wracked his body for years. We are all stronger from having witnessed his battle with cancer, but we are all devastated by his passing too.

As a middle school runner, Tim planned to run for Cherokee . . . with guys like Ted Schickling, Alex Yersak, and Steve McCarroll. But, when they entered the high school in 2004, he was already under treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. After numerous chemo sessions and operations to stop the spread, Tim couldn't run but he could be part of the team. So, in 2005, he came out for the team as a manager. He worked every meet, struggling on crutches to move around the course, cheering the runners, taking times, keeping the results sheet, and scoring the meet. Everyone could see it wasn't easy but he did it anyway, hoping that some day he would be a runner again.

But that day never came. Over the years, he ran many races against the cruel disease, against the watch as there were no other competitors, against hills much more difficult than Holmdel's bowl, and he won many of them. But this week, on September 21st, it was too much for him, and his racing ended.

We'll remember Tim as one of us, a fighter whose courage we admired, and . . . well . . . simply, a great kid!

Rest in peace, Tim.

~ This past summer, Tim left a brief reminder of what an extraordinary kid he was on YouTube ~

Tim Frantz and Coach Cal's check results at Conference Champs, Oct 28, 2005 Tim with team clowning around after win at Conferance Champs Manager Tim Frantz at Sectionals, Nov 5, 2005 Manager Tim Frantz at Group States, Nov 12, 2005

Dual Meet: Pennsauken High School

On September 24, 2008, Cherokee notched another dual meet victory against a young and inexperienced Pennsauken High School team! Knowing their weakened status, Coach Shaklee held out the top seven runners on the team for training while the remainder had the responsibility of winning the meet!

And win they did . . . in a very convincing fashion! Running on the more difficult "A" course at Gloucester County College, Cherokee swept the first 12 spots against Pennsauken and set many new PR's! Frank Devine won the race with an impressive sub-18:00 PR, closely followed by Aiden Lynch with his own 34 second PR! Josh Ungerleider took 3rd (59 seconds faster than his last race!); Josh Perez was 4th with a very nice first 5K as a Cherokee runner; Adam Henriksen took 5th (11 seconds faster than last week!); Bill Hornung finished 6th (19 seconds faster than last week!); Matt Venanzi took 7th; Mike Palmieri was 8th (9 seconds faster than last week!); Mike Czuba took 9th; Alex Walker was 10th (11 seconds faster than last week!); Dave Wallace was 11th; and Andrew Moorhouse finished in 12th!

Others deserving mention include Albert Ptaszenski, who ran 55 seconds faster than last week; Kyle Cook, who ran 47 seconds faster; and Jeremy Morgan, who dropped 9 seconds off last week's time!

The coaches selected Frank Devine as the "Runner of the Meet" partly because he won his first meet, but largely because of the way he did it: in the last mile he passed a bunch of runners and clocked his first sub-18:00 time! GO FRANK!

Frank Devine, ROM

Dual Meet Record: 3 - 0!

Group Start Group Start Bill Hornung, Aiden Lynch, Dave Wallace Josh Ungerleider and Frank Devine Adam Henriksen Bill Hornung and Josh Perez
Alex Walker and Mike Palmieri Kyle Cook and Andrew Moorhouse Mark Moorhouse Jeremy Morgan Matt Adams Matt Venanzi
Alex Walker Albert Ptaszenski Matt Adams Frank Devine Mike Palmieri Mike Czuba
Dave Wallace Andrew Moorhouse Kyle Cook Andrew Yang Mark Moorhouse Albert Ptaszenski

Ocean State Cross Country Invitational

Well, yes, now that you mention it, it did rain at the meet . . ..

Uh . . . yes, I guess it rained a lot.

But, come on, it wasn't that bad through most of the meet . . . except, perhaps, for the finish of the JV race and, of course, the entire Freshman race . . . now, that was insane!

The prospect of rain was no surprise. A tropical storm threatened but the Weather Channel predicted only "intermittent showers, some heavy at times in the afternoon." But the team ran in the rain before and no one drowned! Indeed, "mud runs" were even fun, and gave the guys the opportunity to brag about how crazy the conditions were and how well they responded! So, when the team stepped from the bus, it appeared that Saturday, September 27, 2008, at the Ocean State Cross Country Invitational in Warwick, Rhode Island, was going to be wet but not monumentally so.

Showers here and there, a few heavy ones, especially at the end of the JV race, but nothing that unusual. That is, until about 15 minutes before the Freshman race when the tropical storm they spoke about hit with a vengence! Water flooded the course in many places but the Freshmen went through it as if it were routine!

Now, only a few days after the meet, the puddles become "as big as lakes," the mud "as slippery as ice;" and "women and children fled for their lives!" No one will forget the flooded tent with all the "dry" clothes and equipment, the stranded cars held captive by streams of water, the busses stuck to their axels in the mud . . . and all this will continue to grow, so that the day will become one for the ages . . . The Great Monsoon Race of '08!

The varsity runners were feeling the effects of a hard week of training and were not at their best, but, in the Championship Race, they still managed a 6th place finish in a field of 16 teams! Among the Freshmen, Aiden Lynch continued to impress with a 5th place finish in his race, only 10 seconds behind the winner! And, despite the conditions, Dave Wallace and Andrew Moorhouse, our 4th and 5th freshmen, did a nice job of staying closer to Billy Hornung and Matt Venanzi, our 2nd and 3rd runners, to "tighten the pack" and take 5th overall in the race! But, all the Freshmen have and deserve "chief bragging rights" for the role they played at the height of the storm! GO FRESHMEN!

The coaches named Sophomore Ryan Bobb as the "Runner of the Meet" to highlight the excellent improvement he made from last year's race (84th frosh) to this year's race (7th JV)! Under very difficult circumstances, he stayed focused and kept passing people the entire race. And the school recognized Ryan McNair as the Boys Cross Country "Athlete of the Week." for his performance in the Rhode Island meet: despite the very difficult conditions this year, he dropped 30 seconds off the time he ran last year! GO RYANS!

Ryan Bobb at the finish Ryan McNair at about 600m

Complete results at: Ocean State

-- Despite intermittent light showers, darkness, and some puddling, conditions during the Varsity race were relatively good.

Chris Applegate and Steve Burkholder on first loop Matt McCarroll on first loop Ryan McNair on first loop Sean Hartnett on first loop Steve Burkholder crossing to woods Ryan McNair crossing to woods
Chris Applegate crosing to woods Matt McCarroll crossing to woods Evan Stone crossing to woods Steve Burkholder coming out of woods Ryan McNair coming out of woods Ryan McNair coming out of woods
Sean Hartnett coming out of woods Matt McCarroll coming out of woods Chris Applegate coming out of woods Evan Stone coming out of woods Evan Stone coming out of woods

-- Conditions worsened as the day went on. The showers increased in intensity and the course became muddier and more difficult to navigate: it was time for the JV race to begin!

Josh Perez gets out quickly! Group at start Group at start Josh Ungerleider and Mike Palmieri Adam Henriksen Greg Malloy
Adam Henriksen and Mike Palmieri Ryan Bobb Josh Perez crosses to woods Josh Ungerleider and Ryan Bobb cross to woods Josh Ungerleider and Ryan Bobb cross to woods Adam Henriksen crosses to woods
Mike Palmieri crosses to woods Mike Czuba crosses to woods Alex Walker and Frank Devine cross to woods Kyle Cook crosses to woods Greg Malloy and friend cross to the woods Ryan Bobb at the finish
Frank Devine at the finish Adam Henriksen at the finish Josh Perez at the finish Josh Ungerleider at the finish Mike Czuba at the finish Mike Palmieri at the finish
Alex Walker at the finish Kyle Cook at the finish Cook with Mudder's Legs Greg Malloy at the finish

-- By the end of the JV race, the sky had darkened even more; the rain grew even more intense; the course became even muddier, with many washed-out sections; and many teams fled the scene. But those who stayed to run or to watch were in for a classic: it was time for the Freshman race to begin!

Matt Venanzi and Aiden Lynch before the woods Bill Hornung and Dave Wallach before the woods Andrew Moorhouse before the woods Andrew Yang before the woods Matt Adams before the woods Jeremy Morgan before the woods
Albert Ptaszenski before the woods Mark Morace before the woods Zach Roether before the woods Aiden Lynch coming out of the woods Bill Nornung coming out of the woods Dave Wallace coming out of the woods
Matt Venanzi coming out of the woods Andrew Moorhouse coming out of the woods Andrew Yang coming out of the woods Mark Moorhouse coming out of the woods Albert Ptaszenski coming out of the woods Jeremy Morgan coming out of the woods
Matt Adams coming out of the woods Mark Morace coming out of the woods Zach Roether coming out of the woods Splash!

-- Back in the 1980s, the advertising slogan of the Leggs company was, "Nothing beats a great pair of Leggs." See if you can identify the following pairs of "great" legs photographed during the Freshman race:

# 1 # 2 # 3 # 4 # 5 # 6

-- Many thanks to the Cherokee parents who braved both the traffic along the Northeast Corridor and "The Great Monsoon" to support the team in Rhode Island! Also, thanks to the repairman who braved the passing traffic on the NJ Turnpike to fix the bus' flat tire in record time! And, finally, special thanks to the Hartnett family of Rhode Island, for their incredible efforts and generosity . . . unless they can do some clever trick with "loaves and fishes," who in their right mind would feed fifty strangers? They certainly brightened a bleak weekend!

Bus repairmen on NJ Tpk Hartnett Clan

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