The end of May is the "peaking time" for Spring track athletes. Done right, the top athletes are best prepared to set PR's and win events . . . and Cherokee's athletes hoped to be among them! This page focuses on that quest, highlighting the South Jersey Group IV Sectional Championships (May 25th and 26th) and the State Group IV Championships (June 1st and 2nd), both at Egg Harbor Township HS; and the State Meet of Champions (June 6th) at South Plainfield HS. Also, there is a section on the annual Track Party where team members, parents, friends and coaches enjoy a final meal together and review the accomplishments of the year. GO CHEROKEE!
South Jersey Group IV Sectional Championships
On May 25th and 26th, 2007, a highly select group of team members traveled to Egg Harbor Township High School for the South Jersey Group IV Sectionals! Experiencing the two hottest days of the season, many of the guys still performed well but only four advanced to the State Group IV Championships the following week. Long Jumper Chris Steliga took 1st in the Group IV competition and had the longest jump of the day at the Egg Harbor site! High Jumper Lynell Paine matched his personal best and took 4th; Triple Jumper Steve Watson was the last to qualify in the Trials but came back after the 4 X 400m Relay to take 5th in the Finals; and Alex Yersak outkicked two others through the last 400m of the 3200m Run to take 2nd in the event!
NJ State Group IV Championships
On June 1st and 2nd, 2007, three of the four team members who qualified at Sectionals traveled once again to Egg Harbor Township High School to compete in the NJ State Group IV Championships, this time hoping to qualify further for the upcoming NJ State Meet of Champions.
On Friday, June 1st, Chris Steliga accomplished that goal by taking 2nd in the Long Jump against the state's best Group IV Long Jumpers!
On Saturday, June 2nd, Steve Watson competed in the Triple Jump and Alex Yersak competed in the 3200m but neither athlete was able to advanced to the Meet of Champions.
The team's fourth qualifier, Lynell Payne, took the SAT's in the morning but hoped to make it to the meet in time to participate. Unfortunately, the competition in the High Jump went so fast that he was unable to do so.
Cherokee Track & Field Awards Dinner
On June 3, 2007, following a long-standing tradition, Cherokee's Track and Field team held its annual banquet 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 great food provided by the parents, highlights included the Coach's announcement of the Most Valuable Player in the sprints, hurdles, jumps, distance and throws events, and a special Multi-Event award.
As one of the strongest "dual meet teams" in Cherokee history because of its strength in every area, the team had an undefeated dual meet season and became the American Division Champions! In addition, the team easily won the inaugural Lenape District Championship and became the Lenape District Champions! And while accomplishing this, several new school records were established:
100 Meter Dash: Kevin Merrigan
200 Meter Dash: Kevin Merrigan
Shuttle Hurdle Relay: Chris Chen, Mike Schiafone, Major Mobley, Aaron DeCaires
4 X 100 Meter Relay: Kevin Merrigan, Steve Watson, Chris Steliga, Sam Shapiro
Among the individual honors are:
Olympic Conference: First Team
Aaron DeCaires, 110HH
Chris Steliga, Long Jump
Olympic Conference: Second Team
Major Mobley, 110HH
Alex Yersak, 1600m
4 X 400m Relay: Kevin Merrigan, Steve Watson, Mike Schiafone, Chris Steliga
Steve Watson, Triple Jump
South Jersey Group IV Medalists
Steve Watson, 5th Place, Triple Jump
Alex Yersak, 2nd Place, 3200m
Chris Steliga, Champion, Long Jump
Lynell Payne, 4th Place, High Jump
State Group IV Medalists
Chris Steliga, 2nd Place, Long Jump
All-South Jersey Team
Chris Steliga, 1st Team, Long Jump
NJ State All-Group IV Team
Chris Steliga, 2nd Team, Long Jump
Track & Field Most Valuable Player
Alex Yersak, Distance
Steve Watson, Jumps
Kevin Merrigan, Sprints
Dan Farid, co-MVP, Throws
Devin Prate, co-MVP, Throws
Aaron DeCaires, Hurdles
Chris Steliga, Multi-Event Award
New Jersey State Meet of Champions
On June 6, 2007, the season ended well for Chris Steliga at the NJ State Meet of Champions in South Plainfield when he medalled in the Long Jump! Last year as a Sophomore, Chris was the only Cherokee athlete to qualify for the state's Meet of Champions but he failed to take a medal. This year, again the only Cherokee athlete to qualify for the state's top meet, Chris changed that by jumping 22' 00" and taking 5th in the event! Congratulations Chris!