On October 29, 2022, the team returned to DREAM Park -- think about it, it is a dream that many on the team worked for years to accomplish -- for the NJSIAA South Jersey Sectional Group IV Championships! Clearly expected to win by both the team and the rest of South Jersey, all the pressure was on the guys but they did as expected!
Coach Shaklee looked on the team's success this way:
"We knew there were some good teams in the field, especially Southern, so we needed to be ready. The plan was for Nick Kuenkel, Patrick Ditmars and Conor Jacob to just stay with the front pack until the last mile, which they did. Over that last mile, Nick and Patrick picked it up considerably and pulled away comfortably. Conor was suffering from a sinus infection and did a great job to hold on as well as he did for 7th! Bobby Poplau had his best race to date and dipped under 16:00 for the first time to get 9th in a very strong field! Liam Tindall, our 5th man, didn't have his best day but still gave us what we needed with his 23rd place finish! He beat the 5th runners from every other team in the race! Behind him, Anthony DiBatista, our 6th man, was having another great race! He was only 9 seconds behind Liam in 29th place, beating the 5th man from every team except Southern! Danny Hassle, our 7th man, didn't have his best day but was still the 3rd fastest "7th man" in the field!
"It was the team's 12th South Jersey Group 4 title and our 4th consecutive title! Nick was our 9th Individual Sectional Champion, joining, Marc Pelerin - 2002, Alex Yersak - 2005, 2006, 2007, Shawn Wilson - 2012, Jack Shea - 2016, Justin Kelly - 2017 and Ethan Wechsler - 2018! It was also the 4th time that we took the first two places at Sectionals: 2005 - Alex Yersak & Greg Bredeck, 2007 - Alex Yersak & Kevin Schickling, 2018 - Ethan Wechsler & Chase Miller, and this year with Patrick Ditmars finishing a half step behind Nick Kuenkel.
"We are happy to have won this championship but we know we have to run even better next week to have a chance at a state title!"
"This meet, Runner of the Meet was easily Bobby Poplau! He ran a determined, focused race and came away with a big PR (17 seconds). His 9th place finish really set us up great for the win! He beat Southern's 3rd man, the 2nd man from every other team and the first man on all but 5 teams - Cherokee, Lenape, Southern, Williamstown and EHT!" GO BOBBY!
Details at: NJ.MileSplit
Reuben Frank of Comcast and NBC Sports, continues to write his blog for the SJTCA and he wrote an informative article at: SJ Track Blog. Mr. Franks' article can be found on our server at Frank 64.
Here are some Sectional pictures and these and the rest are available on the District's Google site!
These are from NJ.com
On November 1, 2022, the JV and Freshmen returned to Haddonfield's Pennypacker Park for their traditional End-of-the-Season, Run-Fast-on-a -Flat-Course-at-Haddonfield Invitational but something went wrong! The temperatures were in the high 70's, the course was muddy in places, and maybe racing last Thursday at OCP was just a tad too recent to expect multiple PR's?! Here's what Coach Shaklee said about the race!
"On Tuesday, November 1st, the team headed to Pennypacker Park for the annual Haddonfield Sub-Varsity Invitational which traditionally ends the competitive season for those not running Sectionals and States. It was a little different this year as the meet fell after Sectionals and, with the opening in the schedule last week, we added the Future 7 Meet at Ocean County Park. As it turned out, that may have been a coaching mistake . . . trying to cram in an extra meet in a short period of time! The result was that most of the team went into Haddonfield a little fatigued.
"Despite the fatigue, Cherokee still managed a team victory over Cherry Hill East and Haddonfield in 2nd and 3rd! Luke Reistle led the way with a 3rd place finish and was joined in the top 10 by Enzo Corona (4th in a new PR) and Ben Weiner (6th). Others in the top 20 were Andrew Free - 11th, Julian Hatch - 12th (PR), Joe Hough - 14th and Ethan Weisenberg - 20th! Others setting new PR's were Rocco Clifford - 24th, Anthony Perez - 3rd in the B race, Josh Lowery - 16th in the B raceand Sam Wright - 21st in the B race!
"Rocco Clifford was selected as the Runner of the Meet for his 40 second PR and his first time under 19:00 . . . way under at 18:31! GO ROCCO!
"Rocco's excellent race was a major factor in the outcome of the Shak vs Thompson Intra-Squad Competition! Running for the Shak Team, Rocco beat several Thompson runners with faster PR's and led the Shak squad to a 102 to 108 hard-fought victory! That makes two in a row for the good guys coming on the heels of last year's Shak victory! For a look at who was on each team and the results, go to this link (use the tabs at the bottom of the page to choose which meet to view): Google Spreadsheet.
Coach Thompson promised a picture of the winning team would be sent to our photographer but, apparently, that meant only if Coach Thompson's team won! And the "Sportsman of the Year Award" goes to . . .! ; < )
For the record, as of November, 2022, the results stand at: Shaklee, 13; Thompson, 4; and Callinan, forever at 2! Congratulations to Coach Shaklee and the men of Team Shak on their hard-fought victory! GO TEAM!
Further details at: NJ.MileSplit.
Our photographer was a tad discombobulated but he arrived in time to take some kinda-different iPhone pictures of our guys! Some are posted below and they and the rest of them are available at the District's Google site!
On November 3, 2022, NJ.MileSplit and the SJTCA, influenced by the outcome of the Sectional meets, continued to rank Cherokee the same as they have through most of the season: 3rd in the State and 1st in South Jersey! GO CHIEFS!
On November 5, 2022, having qualified 1st at last week's Sectional GP 4 Championships, Cherokee returned to New Jersey's championship course at Holmdel for the NJSIAA Group IV Championships! A variety of crazy things happened to the team both in and after the race, including having another team officially identified as the winner of the race before the results were corrected, but we'll wait for Coach Shaklee to catch his breath and then review the events of the day!
Well, it took the Coach longer to recover from the excitement of the day than it did for the runners themselves; and then he wrote so extensively on the race and its aftermath that we decided to present it as a PDF! See Coach Shaklee's report HERE!
Coach Shaklee wrote separately that the Runner of the Meet is Anthony DiBatista! "Despite the difficult conditions, Anthony ran a 19-second Holmdel PR" . . . and "he continues to be the steadiest and most dependable member of the squad!" Wow, enough said! GO ANTHONY!
If you need more, NJ.MileSplit has a huge amount of coverage from the day! The Main Page has all the detail on the meet that you're likely to want; and a separate Video shows Cherokee getting the news that they actually won the GP 4 Championship! Other videos are also available.
Reuben Frank of Comcast and NBC Sports, continues to write his blog for the SJTCA and he wrote an article on Cherokee at Groups: SJ Track Blog. As you may know, Mr. Franks signals the importance of his blog entry by using exclamation points from 1 to 10! Enuff said!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr. Franks' article can be found on our server at Frank 65.
Our photographer was unavailable for the meet but he asked two friends who work for NJ.MileSplit to shoot some extra pictures as Cherokee runners passed by: Mae Kellert, a college Art professor who concentrates on Photography; and Tom Smith a professional photographer at Tom Smith Photographer . . . www.tspimages.com.. Here is some of their work and these and others are available at the District's Google Site! (Team award photo source unknown.)
Soon after Nick Kuenkel received Cross Country's coveted Safe at Home Plate Award, cries of cheating arose from baseball coaches (that's ironic!) around the country! In baseball, the "safe at home plate" designation suggests a graceful, single slide to the base but Kuenkel's repeated "flops" towards the finish line clearly didn't meet that description, especially to baseball purists! Lenape District Administrators are divided over this award! NJSIAA will take up their own discussion soon after the Meet of Champions and we expect a decision some time before Nick's graduation. GO NICK!
On November 9, 2022, NJ.MileSplit and the SJTCA, influenced by the outcome of the Group meets, updated their team ranking. MileSplit dropped Cherokee to 4th in the State behind CBA, Union Catholic and Haddonfield (NO RESPECT!), while the SJTCA continue to rank Cherokee 1st in South Jersey! GO CHIEFS! See NJ. MileSplit and SJTCA.
Excuse me . . . that should be The Magnificent Seven . . .!
On November 10, 2022, one of the most delightfully compulsive Cross Counntry/Track detailers, Reuben Frank, provided a list of The South Jersey Boys All-Time Holmdel Team Performance List! Cherokee is featured prominently at SJTCA!
The question is, will one of our guys from the 2022 team make the list?! GO CHEROKEE!