On October 4, 2008, Cherokee bussed to the state championship course at Holmdel Park for the Shore Coaches Invitational and enjoyed a beautiful Fall day with cool temperatures, some clouds but no wind, and a dry course . . . very different from the previous week in Rhode Island! But, like last week, the competition was stiff!
The Freshmen had a good day finishing 2nd in the team scoring behind state power, Christian Brothers Academy! Leading the way, once again, was Aiden Lynch who contended for the win the entire way, battling several other runners, before finishing in 2nd place in the field of 172 runners! Matt Venanzi and Bill Hornung, in 15th and 19th, were next, while Andrew Moorhouse and Andrew Yang both had strong races to finish the scoring for the team.
The Varsity team, running short-handed, finished a respectable 3rd, led by Chris Applegate in 13th with a time 10 seconds faster than what he ran last year. Sean Hartnett, Ryan McNair and Steve Burkholder all PR'd on the course to help the cause.
In the JV Race, Ryan Bobb continued to show how much he has improved since last year with his 9th place finish in a time that was 2:34 faster than last year! Evan Stone and Frank Devine were next, with Evan running 29 seconds faster than last year and Frankie improving by 41 seconds! Other big improvements from last year were turned in by Adam Henriksen who ran 1:59 seconds faster and Mike Czuba who improved by 55 seconds. Mike Palmieri also ran a very strong race to finish 4th for the team in his first race at Holmdel!
Complete results are at: Fraulo Racing. And results plus some additional pictures can be found at: New Jersey, MileSplit.
The coaches selected Mike Palmieri as the Runner of the Meet! Although Mike may be having second thoughts because of all the fun he's having as a distance runner, Mike sees himself as a sprinter/hurdler who is working through cross country to improve his endurance. But his performance at Holmdel -- his best race yet! -- suggests there's a place for him among the 3200m runners in the Spring! GO MIKE!
The school recognized Chris Applegate as the Boys Cross Country "Athlete of the Week" because of the leading role he played on the team at the Shore Coaches Meet: he was the team's fastest runner, again dipping under 17:00 on Holmdel's state championship course! GO YAPS!
Here are some pictures from the meet.
On October 7, 2008, Cherokee ran against two of their strongest opponents in the Conference, Lenape High School and Eastern Regional High School, and defeated both to end another undefeated dual meet season and capture the team's 12th consecutive Olympic Conference Division Championship!
Eastern put up a good fight, scoring 20 - 35 against the Cherokee squad, but Lenape povided the greatest challenge as they battled for important places throughout the race, only to fail by a narrow 26 - 29 margin in the end!
Cherokee knew it was going to be difficult because Lenape had some great runners, and because the team was missing several of their top athletes, but others on the team planned to "step-up" the pressure from the beginning of the race and that's what they did!
Steve Burkholder, Chris Applegate, Ryan McNair and Sean Hartnett took four of the first six places to lead the team. But, it was Steve Burkholder's clutch victory, passing the top two Lenape runners in the final 400 meters to take 1st place, and 5th man, Frank Devine, passing a Lenape runner in the final 200 meters that prevented a Lenape upset victory and kept the streak alive!
They were the key scorers who, technically, won the meet, but others challenged the Lenape and Eastern runners throughout the race and won many small victories! The long list of PR's illustrates the effort expended by the team: Ryan Bobb, Aiden Lynch (first sub-18 minute race!), Billy Hornung, Mike Palmieri, Adam Henriksen, Matt Venanzi, Andrew Moorhouse, Greg Malloy, Andrew Yang, Dave Wallace, Kyle Cook, Albert Ptaszenski and Jeremy Morgan. WOW! GO CHEROKEE!
The coaches selected Steve Burkholder as the "Runner of the Meet" in recognition of his incredible victory against two of South Jersey's top runners! GO STEVE!
Dual Meet Record: 5 - 0! Step 1 accomplished: American Division Champs!
On October 11, 2008, the JV and Freshmen teams traveled to Delsea High School, the site of the up-coming State Sectional Championships, for the SJ Open, and demonstrated, once again, the depth of the team! In the JV race, Ryan Bobb, with another 5K PR, won his first cross country race! He was followed closely by Evan Stone and Frank Devine in a 1 - 2 - 3 sweep that gave the team a thirty point victory over runner-up, Kingsway! Mike Palmieri and Adam Henriksen then followed with their own PR's and finished the scoring in the JV race! Also running PR's in the race were Greg Malloy and Kyle Cook!
In the Freshman race, Bill Hornung finished 2nd overall with his best race of the year! Matt Venanzi was close behind in 4th! Dave Wallace and Mark Moorhouse ran well as the team's 3rd and 4th finishers, with Albert Ptaszenski running his best race so far to finish the scoring for the team! The team finished 4th overall, even without their # 1 runner, Aiden Lynch and their # 4 man, Andrew Moorhouse. In addition, Matt Adams had his best race of the year and was the team's 6th man. Mark Morace, Jeremy Morgan and Zach Roether all PR'ed, as well!
The coaches named Bill Hornung the "Runner of the Meet" because of his second-place finish and his excellent race! He ran a very well-managed race, not going out too fast as many Freshmen tend to do; he didn't panic when he was behind in the first 400m, but moved up gradually to challenge the leaders by the 1200m mark! GO BILLY!
The school recognized Frank Devine as the Boys Cross Country "Athlete of the Week" because of his clutch performance in the Lenape/Eastern dual meet, PR'ing and passing a Lenape Runner in the final 100 meters to help secure the win! GO FRANKIE!
Complete results at: Ed Colona.
On October 14, 2008, Cherokee sent several athletes to represent the team at the Burlington County Freshman-Sophomore Championships at the Rancocas Valley Sports Complex. In the freshman race, Dave Wallace was the team's top finisher in 11th place, with Mark Moorhouse right behind him in 12th. Andrew Yang also medaled in 14th place, while Jeremy Morgan ran his best race of the year to finish 26th! In the Sophomore race, Greg Malloy led the team with his 12th place finish, while Kyle Cook also medaled in 20th place!
The coaches named Jeremy Morgan the "Runner of the Meet" because of the significant improvement he made over his previous times! Indeed, he set a new PR, over a minute faster than what he ran only a few days ago on a similar course! GO JEREMY!
Complete results at: Ed Calona.
The pictures below depict the "action" at Mill Creek Park in Willingboro, NJ. Where? The first shows the "great but empty plains" of the Park . . . awaiting both buffalo and runners? And there's the sledding hill . . . "Pike's Peak of South Jersey." The second also shows the Park, but wait, what's that in the foreground? A bag? The third is a close-up of, yes, a bag, out in the middle of the plains. How odd. Closer inspection reveals the bag contains 30 soft pretzels and a squeeze bottle of mustard. How odd, indeed. Where are the runners? Where are the officials? Where is the meet?! And who will eat the pretzels?!
On October 17, 2008, a determined Cherokee team showed-up at Mill Creek Park in Willingboro for the 39th Annual Burlington County Open Cross Country Championship, knowing the team record of nine victories over the past eleven years was threatened because of recent team illnesses and injuries. But "show-up" they did, in a big way, and again brought home the winning trophy!
The course at Mill Creek is a deceptive one. Except for two laps of "The Kilimanjaro of South Jersey" -- OK, so it's an artificial ski hill but it's pretty steep -- it looks benign, but back in the woods the trails are covered with woodchips and soft sand that sap the energy of a runner. Undaunted, the team ran some of their best races of the year!
Among the Varsity, once again, Steve Burkholder led the team with a strong 5th place finish against some of the top runners in New Jersey! Chris Applegate and Sean Hartnett certainly ran their best races of the year; and they were closely followed by the team's most dependable runner, Ryan McNair! The highlight of the race -- if only one is identified -- came from Marc Saccomanno who, running his first race of the year after coming off an injury, finished a fantastic 5th on the team and locked-up the team's 37 point victory over second-place Moorestown High School! The team's 6th and 7th finishers, Frank Devine and Ryan Bobb ran well, too, in their first major Varsity competition!
In the Open race, scored as a "class meet," the team demonstrated its growing depth! Among the Freshmen, Aiden Lynch and Bill Hornung took 1st and 2nd in their class, with Aiden taking 3rd overall and probably winning a Varsity spot in the up-coming Conference Championship! Matt Venanzi took the 5th Freshman place, followed by Andrew Yang (13th), Mark Moorhouse (14th), and Dave Wallace (16th)! Scoring our own unofficial Freshman Race, Cherokee easily took 1st!
Among the Sophomore competitors in the Open Race, Greg Malloy had the best race, finishing 10th and running a PR on a slow course!
In the Junior competition, Kyle Smith, returning from an injury sustained while saving three children and a dog from a burning building -- that's your story, isn't it, Kyle? -- took 4th, with Mike Palmieri (5th) and Josh Perez (6th) close on his heels! And, among the Seniors, Josh Ungerleider took 3rd, with Adam Henriksen right behind in 4th, and Kyle Miller in 6th!
In addition to Senior Marc Saccomanno and Junior Kyle Smith, welcome back to Junior Josh Perez and Senior Kyle Miller! Still MIA from illness or injury, but hoping to be back soon: Senior Evan Stone, Juniors Matt McCarroll and Alex Walker, and Freshmen Andrew Moorhouse and Jason Hayes! Fortunately, this is a non-contact sport or Cherokee would be in deep trouble!
The coaches selected Marc Saccomanno as the "Runner of the Meet." Out since before the season with a hip injury, Marc continued to train as much as possible in pools and the like, and he returned to the team only last week. Convinced that he could make a contribution, he entered the Varsity competition and took a very important 5th place on the team and insured Cherokee's victory! For the record, Marc played the exact same role last year, taking 15th place overall, 5th place for the team, and then being named "Runner of the Meet!" But it was a lot more impressive this year because (1) he had been sidelined for over a month, and (2) he dropped almost half a minute off of last year's time! GO MARC!
County Record: 10 wins over 12 years! Step 2 accomplished: County Champs!
For Sports Reporter Reuben Frank's view of the meet for the Burlington County Times, see Resurgent Cherokee dominates Burlco Open.
For complete results: Mile Split, NJ or Ed Colona.