The "Championship Season" for the team ended with Cherokee's victory at the SJ Sectionals and their 10th place showing in at the NJ State Group Championships. But the season continued for Junior Shawn Wilson as he finished 2nd at Groups and advanced to the NJ State Meet of Champions! At the MOC, he finished 5th while clocking the second-fastest time by a Cherokee runner on the state championship course! From there, Shawn will compete in the Footlocker Regionals (Sunken Meadow State Park, King's Park, NY, November 26th). The "Post Season" also includes the SJTCA Annual CC Banquet (Auletto's, Almonesson, NJ, November 30th), the Cherokee Team Banquet (Cherokee H.S., December 5th), and a review of the numerous team and individual honors won by the team throughout the season!
On November 20, 2011, the South Jersey Track Coaches Association named Shawn Wilson their Runner of the Year, the highest compliment that can be given to a cross country athlete in South Jersey because the voting comes from a large group of knowledgeable cross country coaches and professionals! He and Aiden Lynch were also named to their All South Jersey Cross Country Team! The official presentations will be made at their annual banquet. GO SHAWN! GO AIDEN! Complete list at: SJTCA.
On November 26, 2011, Shawn Wilson traveled to the 33rd Annual Footlocker Northeast Regional Championships at Sunken Meadows State Park in Long Island, NY. The course and the competition at the regional championships make Holmdel's course and the competition at the Meet of Champions look relatively easy!
Sunken Meadows has two flat surfaces, the start that may be 800m before entering the woods, and the finish that may be 200m after exiting the woods. The rest of the course is in the woods, up and down hills, with trails crisscrossing at various places. Yikes! It's definitely a course where experience is critical!
The competition is also brutal with the finest cross country runners in the region assembled for this one race! Where the "lead pack" at the Meet of Champions may have had ten top competitors at the mile mark, the pack here at regional's had forty! Yikes again!
For Shawn, it was the first time on this difficult course and against this level of competition but he made a great effort, finishing in 21st place while clocking 16:31.1! Also, considering he raced hard against the top competition in New Jersey over the past four weeks, this was, indeed, a great performance . . . and we were REALLY impressed! GO SHAWN!
Results, including an interesting video, at: MileSplit.
On November 30, 2011, the South Jersey Track Coaches Association held their annual banquet at Auletto's Caterers and, as expected, they named Shawn -- I still say soccer is more fun -- Wilson their "Runner of the Year!" In addition, Shawn and Aiden Lynch were named to the "All South Jersey Cross Country Team!"
None of that was a surprise as those announcements had been made more than a week earlier. The surprise for most came later in the ceremonies when Coach Steve Shaklee was named "Coach of the Year" by the association. Days earlier, the coach was told that someone else won the award and he was very surprised to hear his named called!
Others, pointing to the successes of Cherokee's 2011 team, were not so surprised. Indeed, one coach who saw the team playing volleyball at RunningWorks remarked, "Anyone who can turn that awkward, ragtag bunch of uncoordinated misfits into county, division, conference, and sectional champions has to be named the 'coach of the year'. . . maybe the decade!"
(OK, we made-up that last quote but it sounds funny and we're leaving it. . .!")
Quote of the evening: "I always wanted one of those flowers." Speaker will remain as annonymous as possible!
See Shawn's "Runner of the Year" interview at South Jersey Track Coaches Association.
On December 4, 2010, 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. Besides the meal provided by the parents, and a Power Point summary of the year by the athletes, the highlight of the evening was the Coaches' awards, including the Most Improved, Most Valuable, and the Unsung Hero. Coach Shaklee's remarks are recounted in Coach's Message.
--- The following Coaches' awards were announced by Coaches Shaklee and Callinan:
--- The following awards were announced or reported by the South Jersey Track Coaches Association, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star Ledger of Trenton, the Camden Courier-Post, the Burlington County Times, and the Olympic Conference:
~ ~ Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for all your efforts this season! ~ ~