Cherokee Cross Country Pictures, 2019, Page I

Pre-Season and Early Meets

Last year, we posted some remarks that drew many positive comments from coaches, team members and parents, so we decided to repeat those comments this year! If you read these comments last year and didn't "Step Up" and do your part on the team, this is your opportunity to do so this year!

Late June: Cross Country begins out your front door . . . now! Yes . . . really . . . now!

Now is the time for those easy runs on hot summer days just to get into it! Your body needs the slow build-up to perform well in the future, and your mind needs the habit of discipline necessary to become a great Cross Country runner!


Run on the hot days!

Run on the rainy days!

Run even if it snows!

Run on vacation!

Run before work!

Run after work!

Run when you really don't feel like it!


Run like a champion!

In addition, this is the time to generate the team spirit and togetherness that will carry you though the tough times! Don't run alone unless you're really stuck! Don't run behind someone on the runs because that's what you've always done! Get up front and set the pace! Pick the guys who have incredibly positive attitudes, the ones who don't make excuses, and avoid those who do! The military does this well, whether you're Seal Team 6 or 1st Special Forces, you train as a team and no one lets down the team! Everyone is important in achieving the goal and no one slacks off! YOU are an important part of the team and you need to recognize that!

Remember, every time you put on your training shoes and go out for a run, and every time you put on your racing shoes and stand on a starting line: YOU are an important runner on the team, the team needs you, and what you do matters to the team!


~~ Marlton Mayor's Cup 5K ~~

On July 4, 2019, Cherokee Cross Country continued a long-standing tradition of racing the Marlton Mayor's Cup 5K through downtown Marlton! Well, sort of . . .. Many of Cherokee's runners were unavailable for the race.

Indeed, only two Varsity team members participated but they performed exceptionally well! Ty Jackson and Brett Shea were top performers in the race, finishing 3rd and 5th respectively out of 521 (273 male) finishers! Ty dropped a full minute off his time last year on a comparable course; and Brett dropped almost two minutes off his time last year!

After them, three new members of the team competed incredibly! Freshmen Patrick Ditmars, Conor Jacob and Thomas Bromley had the best three-Freshmen Cherokee finish in the history of the race! Patrick finished 13th overall and 1st in the "14 and Under" age group of 57 runners! Conor finished 15th overall and 2nd in the same age group; and Tom was only a few minutes behind in 35th place overall, 7th in that same age group! Yikes!

Beyond the current team, Cherokee Alums overpowered the rest of the community, taking five of the top seven places, with Ty and Brett taking the other two! (They would have had eight places but Justin Kelly did not register and raced without a number!) Jack Shea '17 ran 16:01 to take 1st and what was reported to be a record on a newly reshaped course. Prior to this, James Gathoga of Toms River (who?) held the 15:34 course record, with Shawn Wilson '13 in second (15:56). Jack's time would be 3rd if the old record still stood.

Following Jack, Brandon Marks '18 took 2nd; Mike Iannotta '18 took 4th; Matt Smith '18 took 6th; and Matt Meuller '02 finished 7th.

Before you move on, please note that Matt Mueller graduated in 2002 (he's 35 years old!) -- a year before this Cherokee website started . . . when Coach Shaklee was wearing high-top sneakers and still using pencils and erasers! Matt holds an incredible post-college record of race consistency and performance that relatively few athletes in the country can match!

For more information and pictures of these runners, check out our Alums Page.

Race results at: SJ Timing.

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~~ MileSplit's All-Course Team Returner Rankings for 2019 ~~

During the summer, Robert Kellert, the editor of MileSplit.NJ, and a friend of Cherokee CC, is desperate to post something that will bring readers to his site, so on July 26, 2019, he posted the highly dubious All-Course Team Returner Rankings for 2019. There are other efforts to forecast the performances of NJ teams in the upcoming season but this one is generally discounted because it uses the best performances of returning runners on any and all courses in the state. For example, everyone knows a performance at the Ocean County course or the Rowan University course, and any of about a half-dozen other courses in NJ, do not match-up to a performance at, say, Holmdel Park.

Check out the All-Course article that places Cherokee's returning team at 3rd in the state: MileSplit.NJ, All-Course.

That said, Kellert went on to create a less-dubious comparison of NJ teams clocked at Holmdel Park. Yeah, the times came from last year and all serious runners have improved their conditioning and experiences since then but it is, as suggested, a "less-dubious" comparison than the "All-Course" rankings. The point: enjoy the effort for what it is -- something to chat about -- but don't have it printed on your team t-shirts! ; < )

Check out the Holmdel Team Returner Rankings for 2019 that also places Cherokee at 3rd in the state: MileSplit.NJ, Holmdel.

~~Hot and Dry Out There? ~~

Sweating cartoon

There are many ways to stay hydrated on hot days and nights. TIME Magazine offered this interesting article on "the best way to stay hydrated." Check it out: it's worth reading! Staying Hydrated.

~~ RunningWorks Camp, 2019 ~~

Team Pic

Between August 16th - 22nd, a large group of Chiefs attended RunningWorks' 21st Annual Cross Country Camp at Canadensis and, as usual, there was a great group of coaches, college runners, and other high school runners to learn from and train with, as well as special guest speaker and former RW camper, Big East Cross Country and Track Mile Champion Casey Comber of Villanova University; Monmouth University's multiple-record holder, Allie Wilson (now running for the Atlanta Track Club and Mizuma); and our own RunningWorks' Director, Olympian Marcus O'Sulivan!

Our runners had a tough week with unusually warm temperatures, two-a-day runs, and multiple classes and drill sessions scheduled each day . . . and that doesn't include all the open activities available throughout the week!

Our photographer did his best to capture all of them -- even those he never met! -- as they moved through the week! Check out the pics below and, if you want further details on the week, and a "million-billion" additional camp pictures, check out the RunningWorks website, or go directly to their Flickr albums!

Once again, none of the Chiefs was seen winning the Trivia Competition or the Talent Show, or even participating at the Dance! (Next year?!) They did make a showing at mealtime, however.

Team dinning

There were several new guys at camp and our web-slave hasn't met them yet. If you're MIA, our photographer will catch you in your first competition!

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RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp
RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp
RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp
RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp RW Camp
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RW Camp

~~ Dyestat XC Rankings ~~

You superstitious? Of course . . . all athletes are . . . at least a little! After a great race, some guys don't wash their uniforms until the end of the season! . . . Eeew! Ever see those guys with the holes in their "lucky" socks? Same meal before every race? Same seat on the bus? The list is endless.

Coach Shaklee has his own "superstition:" he knows his team is good but he never wants to see websites like Dyestat rank them way high on the list! Better, he thinks, to sneak up on the opposition as the season unfolds. Better, he thinks, to have teams see Cherokee winning races and coaches asking, "Where did they come from?!" Better, too, for his team, so they don't get cocky!

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), Dyestat picked The Chiefs way high on the "Northeast Region Boys Preseason Rankings" and now everyone knows: Cherokee is good! Sorry Coach . . . the word's out!

See your team's name up with the bigs at Dyestat rankings.

~~ NJ.MileSplit Rankings ~~

Shusss . . . don't tell Shak!

The "panel" at NJ.MileSplit ranked the top-ten teams going into the 2019 season and, as expected, they placed The Chiefs high on their list! Sorry . . . now there's definitely no sneaking up on the opposition: the words out, Cherokee is good! GO CHEROKEE!

See the pre-season NJ list at: NJ.MileSplit.

~~ Holmdel Park 2010s All-Decade List ~~

For grins, check out MileSplit's Holmdel Park 2010s All-Decade List! Truly insane times on one of the most challenging high school cross country courses in the nation! The list goes from Edward Cheserek's (St Benedict's Prep) mind-boggling 14:53 in 2011 to fellow- RunningWorks Camper, Kevin Antczak's (Mainland Regional) 16:01 in 2018! Between those names are several Cherokee stars: No. 23, Shawn Wilson in 15:40 at Groups in 2012; NO. 37, Jack Shea in 15:46 at MOC in 2015; and No 63, Ethan Wechsler 15:56 at MOC in 2018!

Who will join the list this year?!

Check out the entire list at: MileSplit.

History lesson: back in the early 1980's, in his first official coaching assignment, Coach Shaklee, served as Ass't Cross Country Coach at Cherry Hill High School East! There he trained Bruce Miller, who set the Meet Record at the Shore Coaches Invitational (Holmdel): 16.01! Times have certainly improved since then!

~~ Cherokee Challenge ~~

On September 7, 2019, the team hosted the 24th Annual Cherokee Challenge and performed well in their races!

Coach Shaklee made the following remarks after the meet:

"We were running without our top man, Ethan Wechsler, who was on a college recruiting trip (Penn State). Despite that, we were still the top team in the merged results with a narrow lead over WWPN and Westfield! Tyler Jackson was our top man on the day, finishing 4th in the senior race and 5th in the merge! Chase Miller was our next fastest with his 9th place finish in the senior race good for 12th in the merge!

Juniors, Brett Shea, 4th, and Nico Grilli, 5th, gave us 4 in the top-20 of the merged results at 17th and 18th! Mike Gavio rounded out the team scoring with his 27th place finish in the senior race and 54th in the merge!

In addition to our top 5, we had some excellent performance from other members of the team! In the freshman race, Tommy Bromley (16th), Conor Jacob (18th) and Ben Hackney (27th) all earned medals, with Ben passing 7 or 8 runners in the last half-mile to get into the top 30! Dom Gazarra led the sophomores, finishing 34th in his first ever cross country race, and Jameson Crozier showed great improvement from last year with a very strong race! Among the juniors, Danny Boria survived an overly aggressive start to run his fastest Cherokee Challenge time yet, while Milo Barkow also ran well to set his own Challenge record! Seniors, Bobby Hackney and Matt Campbell both improved from their junior results, with Bobby dropping 29 seconds and Matt 51!

Overall, it was a good start to the season!"

The coaches had a tough time deciding on Runner of the Meet with Ty Jackson, Brett Shea, Matt Campbell, Dom Gazarra, Jameson Crozier, Tommy Bromley and Ben Hackney all in serious consideration! Ty Jackson got the nod "not only for his team-leading performance but for his determination and great work ethic!" GO TY!

Over-the-top coverage available at NJ.MileSplit.

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Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge
Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge
Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge Cherokee Challenge

~~ SJ Shootout ~~

On September 14, 2019, while Coach Thompson took a small number of team members for a "fun run" in a northern park, Coach Shaklee took the rest to the SJ Shootout at DREAM Park where many ran excellent races and impressed onlookers!

No news from Coach Thompson but Coach Shaklee sent the following report!

"The Cherokee team had a very good day at the South Jersey XC Shootout on Saturday at Gloucester County's Dream Park! Missing our top eight runners, the rest of the team stepped up with some strong racing!

The Freshman team started things off and, despite missing two of the top three runners, still managed to place 3rd, led by the individual victory by Tommy Bromley and the 3rd place finish by Ben Hackney! Danny Hassall also came through with a very good race which saw him move up steadily over the race, eventually finishing in 22nd in the field of 79 runners!

In the JV competition, the team pulled out a 2nd place finish, putting seven runners in the top 30 in a field of 171 runners! Dom Gazarra led the way with a 2nd place finish in 17:35 in the first 5K cross country race of his career! Joe Natoli also had a tremendous race, finishing in 6th and dipping under 18:00 for the first time! Other 5K PR's were set by Jameson Crozier in 9th, Milo Barkow in 16th, Lucas Hatch in 24th, Spencer Floyd in 62nd and Christian Bennett in 64th!

In the Varsity competition, the teams are split in threes with the first race featuring each team's 5th, 6th and 7th men. Both Matt Campbell and Danny Boria turned in outstanding performances, finishing 2nd and 4th! Matt's time was a huge PR and his first sub-17 5k! Danny's time of 17:12 is a PR except for a time run on the very fast (short) New Egypt course 2 years ago! Their times were the 14th and 23rd fastest times of the day out of all the varsity races!

Next up, the team travels to Mechanicsville, VA for the RVA Relays, a meet featuring relay races of five-man teams with each man running 2500 meters on a lighted park loop in the evening!"

Coach Shaklee selected Matt Campbell as the Runner of the Meet: "The entire team has been working very hard and did so at this meet but Matt stood out with his first race under 17 minutes and a huge PR of 48 seconds!" Yikes! GO MATT!

Full coverage at: NJ.MileSplit.

For grins, check out the SJ Shootout website picture from 2013 ( ? ) and see how many current team members you can ID:

Shootout MS Winners, 2013

Our photographer covered the action at the meet instead of traveling up north for Cherokee's favorite 'Lark in the Park' and, of course, WaWa!

SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout
SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout
SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout
SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout SJ Shootout

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