On November 4, 2009, Cherokee's non-varsity competitors traveled to Thompson Park in Jamesburg for the New Jersey State Freshman-JV Championships, their final meet of the season.
They made it home but one can hardly imagine how long it will take for the details from this meet to travel that long road from Jamesburg to Marlton. The mighty Mekong River that divides the state is said to be at flood stage, and the now rice-rich delta created by that river makes that journey even more difficult and hazardous! And then too, there are the snow-covered mountains . . ..
On November 9th, five days after the messanger left Jamesburg by sampan with the details on the NJ State Freshman-Sophomore Championships, news reports indicate that he has managed to cross the mighty Mekong but is trapped in the blueberry bogs north of Marlton. Rescue units have been alerted.
Wow! November 10th and, despite Cyclone Ida, our trusty messenger arrived safely at Marlton with news from the meet! What a guy!
The team placed 8th in a very challenging JV Championship Race. Kyle Smith led the team in 25th, with Bill Hornung in 39th, and Frank Devine in 41st. Alberto Redaelli and Mike Palmieri rounded out the scoring for the team, finishing 63rd and 77th respectively, in the field of 201 runners. In the Open JV Race, the team placed six runners among the top 75 in a field of 231, led by Jeremy Morgan in 28th. Jeremy has run consistently well all year and would have been Cherokee's 6th man in the Championship race with his time of 18:42. Both freshmen ran well in the Freshman Race, setting 5K PR's. Freddy Rasmussen broke 23 minutes for the first time, finishing in 22:22. And Matt Decker earned Runner of the Meet honors for his PR performance: he gradually moved up over the course of the race to finish 32nd with his first sub-19 time of 18:51! GO MATT!
Results at: NJ MileSplit.
On November 7, 2009, Cherokee's varsity competed in the NJSIAA South Jersey Sectional Championships, at Delsea High School, one of the closest-scored events in Sectional history!
As every student of New Jersey geography knows, the great Amazon River flows just south of Marlton and, with its frequent floods, regularly blocks communication with the counties on its banks. Apparently, as we await detailed information on the Sectional Championships, that is the problem today. Just a warning here but, with the floods along the Mekong in the north, and the same along the Amazon in the south, Marlton residents might consider hoarding food and water, and even moving to the high ground near the Great Pyramid (in the Giza section of town), for the duration.
(Well . . . yes . . . I am a graduate of Cherokee High School. Why do you ask?)
November 11th, and the details are in! It was, indeed, the closest Group IV Sectional race in New Jersey history, with the top four teams finishing within five points of each other! Unfortunately, Cherokee finished on the back side of those four teams, only 5 points behind the winners, our sister-school Shawnee High School!
All seven members of the team ran well . . . just not quite well enough. Steve Burkholder, as he has all year, led the team with his 7th place finish and a new 5K PR! Forty-one seconds later, Matt McCarroll crossed the line in 16th place. He was followed closely by Ryan Bobb in 20th, Greg Malloy in 24th, Josh Perez in 26th, Aiden Lynch in 30th, and Kyle Smith in 39th. Cherokee had six runners in before any other team's fifth and only Southern had a fifth man in before Cherokee's seventh! Ryan Bobb earned Runner of the Meet honors for running his best race of the year to date despite not feeling 100% coming into the meet. GO RYAN!
Even though they were a shade off a 1st place showing, Cherokee's fourth-place finish gave the Chiefs a record-breaking 16th consecutive berth in the State Group IV Championship Meet! GO CHEROKEE! GO BETTER!
Results at: NJ MileSplit
Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Marlton -- mighty Cherokee has pooped out.
Apologies to Earnest Thayer
On November 14, 2009, Cherokee entered one of the most challenging Group IV races in New Jersey history -- 13 of the state's top 18 teams were in the race -- but the razor-close race at Sectionals and all of the research indicated that the team had a real chance to compete with the best in the state and qualify for a state public school record of thirteen consecutive appearances at the Meet of Champions! But, as so often happens with paper predictions, the reality can be very different!
The race started badly for Cherokee as most of the team found themselves well back in the pack by the 800m mark. The gap between the front-runners and the team was never closed. Steve Burkholder, Cherokee's top runner, and one of only two -- along with Matt McCarroll -- who managed a decent start, held on to finish in 22nd place, and win a Wild Card for the Meet of Champions. Unfortunately, it would be another 50 seconds and 53 places later, that Aiden Lynch, Ryan Bobb, Josh Perez, and Matt McCarroll would cross the line -- all within six seconds of each other -- with Kyle Smith and Greg Malloy close behind them.
The gap between 2nd and 7th was the smallest of any team running that day, but the huge gap between Cherokee's Number 1 and Number 2 finished the team's chances. The Chiefs ended the day, the season, and the opportunity to create yet-another state record of consecutive appearances at the Meet of Champions, in 13th place.
By the way, anyone who says thirteen is not an unlucky number should check the numbers in this race! Cherokee was shooting for their 13th consecutive appearance in the Meet of Champions; Cherokee was one of 13 ranked teams in the race; and the most devastating, Cherokee finished 13th in the race! There is no joy in Marlton -- mighty Cherokee pooped out!
Steve Burkholder was named the Runner of the Meet on the basis of his finishing 22nd in a super-competitive field, and winning a Wild Card admission to the NJ State Meet of Champions! GO BURK!
Complete results at: NJ MileSplit.
On November 21, 2009, the team marshaled once again for a big meet, but this time, it was to support senior Steve Burkholder, Cherokee's only qualifier at the New Jersey State Meet of Champions. Based on his performance in the State Group Championships, Steve was one of a few to qualify without a team as a "Wild Card" admission to this, the final state meet of the 2009 season!
Steve ended his high school cross country career with a 44th place finish in one of the most challenging races in state history! Eleven runners under 16 minutes, and one of those setting the most incredible course record imaginable! Fighting through a bad patch in the middle of the race, Steve stayed strong enough to finish within two seconds of his Holmdel PR; and, as the 8th finisher from South Jersey, he secured his spot on the All-South Jersey Team.
Let me guess . . . Steve Burkholder was again named Runner of the Meet . . .?! GO BURK!
Complete details at: NJ MileSplit.
Back on July 4th, 2009, the coach, many members of the team, and several Alums and parents participated in a local 5K road race, ccctf, page I. On November 22, 2009, two of those parents upped the ante when they competed in the Philadelphia Marathon! Don Henriksen, father of Alum Adam Henriksen '09, and Mike McCarroll, father of Alum Steve McCarroll '08, and Senior Matt McCarroll, joined thousands of others in the 26.2 mile race. Don finished the race in a PR time of 3:10.32 (around 7:16 mile pace), but Mike experienced problems at the eleven mile mark and chose to drop out at the Half-Marathon mark. He finished that distance in 1:44.41 (around 7:59 mile pace). Details at: Philadelphia Marathon. GO PARENTS!
The following pictures were provided by our crack photographer, Mrs. Marianne Devine. The first was designed as an artistic background shot -- note the geometric symmetry of the Port-O-Pots -- but that was ruined when Mike McCarroll entered the scene! The second shows Mike McCarroll with Team Henriksen: Scott, Don and Adam! GO MARIANNE!
On November 30, 2009, the South Jersey Track Coaches Association held their annual banquet where they named, among others, the All-South Jersey Cross Country Team. Cherokee Senior Steve Burkholder was one of only twelve named to the team! GO BURK! Additionally, Steve, Matt McCarroll, and Frank Devine received recognition as the team's 2009 "Captains." THANKS GUYS!
Incidentially, Coach Callinan, President of the SJTCA, served as the "Master of Ceremonies" and, by all accounts -- at least those sent in by his wife -- did an admirable job! GO CAL!
Pictures provided by parent, Mrs. Marianne Devine.
On December 6, 2009, the Burlington County Times named Steve Burkholder to the All-County Boys Cross Country Team, 2009! In their citation, they wrote the following:
Steve Burkholder was at the front of the pack that produced more championships for Cherokee. The senior led the Chiefs to repeat triumphs in the Burlington County Open and Olympic Conference Championships. Burkholder finished the Open in 16 minutes, 27 seconds, good for third place. He also placed third in the Olympic Conference Championships (16:12), seventh in South Jersey Group 4 (16:00), 22nd in the State Group 4 meet (16:42.21) and 44th in the Meet of Champions (16:45). In the Olympic Conference and State Group 4 races, his times were second among all county runners to Runner of the Year David Forward of Shawnee. An early-season highlight for Burkholder was 15th place in Division A of the Shore Coaches Invitational (16:42.73) at Holmdel Park, the course for the State Group Championships and Meet of Champions. Burkholder is a repeat first-team all-county selection.
In addition, Matt McCarroll, Ryan Bobb and Aiden Lynch received Second Team All-County recognition!
Congratulations to all!
On Sunday, December 6, 2009, Cherokee's Cross Country team held its annual awards dinner at the school. There the team, coaches, families and friends, enjoyed a meal together, applauded the accomplishments of the team this season, and bid farewell to the graduating seniors. Highlights included the great meal provided by the parents, the special PowerPoint presentation of team pictures provided by Mr. John Bobb, the Booster Club "appreciation" to Mr. John Czuba for his years of work supporting the team, and the Coaches' awards, including the Most Improved, Most Valuable, and the Unsung Hero. Coach Shaklee's remarks are recounted in Coach's Message.
An unusual look at our graduating seniors as they begin to fade from our view (insert teary-eyed sad face here)!
Here are some banquet pictures from Mrs. Marianne Devine!
--- The following Coaches' 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:
~ ~ Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for all your efforts this season! ~ ~