Once again, the Early Spring is a time of continuing preparation for the championship meets at the end of the season. It begins with a scrimmage and an unoffical roadrace, and quickly moves into the dual meets and several local relay meets. GO CHEROKEE!
Scrimmage: Cherokee, Timber Creek and Haddon Heights
On March 16, 2011, the team traveled to Timber Creek High School to participate in a three-team scrimmage: Haddon Heights, Timber Creek and Cherokee High Schools. Details are being sent via Pony Express so we should have them posted soon! And, then again, maybe not!
The team's photographer was unable to cover the scrimmage because he was assigned to cover the golf action from a villa above the Ventana Canyon Country Club on the south face of the Catalina Mountains, just outside of Tucson, Arizona! Had he been on the east face, he claimed, he could see Timber Creek from there!
Haddonfield Adrenaline 5K
On March 19, 2011, the team followed a long-standing tradition of running the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5K, formerly known as the Bancroft Run. It's a nice opportunity for team members to judge the quality of their winter training and to meet some new team members. This year, the older, more experienced guys -- Greg Malloy, Ty Somers, Shawn Wilson, Matt Venanzi and Ryan Bobb -- did well, grouping their times between 16:33 and 16:49! Also, Drew Viscidy and Colin Merrigan, both running their first 5K's, ran very well!
Coach Callinan, coming off knee surgery, sent his brothers -- Ted, who finished 7th overall; and Tim, who finished 25th -- and his wife -- Aime, who finished 754th -- to represent the family!
Race details at: L and M Sports
Again, the team's photographer was unavailable for the race but he sent a picture of the 9th hole action at La Paloma Country Club in Tucson, Arizona to suggest how much he missed being there!
Burlington County Hall of Fame Relays
On April 2, 2011, two days after the team's photographer played a round at THE Pine Valley Golf Club -- whadda ya mean, you don't care?! -- the team traveled to Maple Shade High School for the Burlington County Hall of Fame Relays. The meet itself ran incredibly slow but several of Cherokee's athletes did well and many "rookies" got their first opportunity to compete in various JV relay races.
Among the older guys, Brian Regensburg and Darren McCluskey tied for 3rd in the High Jump Relay. In addition, the 4 X 200m Relay team of Darren McCluskey, Luis Nieves, Jason Brockman and Matt Jackson placed 4th; and the Shuttle Hurdle Relay team, anchored by stalwart Darren McCluskey, placed 5th with three new hurdlers: Jason Brockman, Shawn Groh and Brian Regensburg!
The 4 X 1600m was exciting, with relative-newcomer in the 1600m, Mike Lowinger passing the baton to Matt Venanzi in 5th place, who then raced to the lead before passing to Ryan Bobb. Ryan ran an aggressive 3rd leg to maintain the lead, and then he passed to Matt Decker who was running in his first varsity track relay! Matt stayed in front until the last 200m and then stayed tough and finished in 2nd!
In the Varsity Sprint Medley, Jason Brockman, Matt Jackson, Brian Regensburg and Eric Birkhead -- who split sub-2:10 and is looking better after a prolonged absence due to injury this winter -- finished in 6th. Finally, in the Distance Medley, Danny Mintzer -- healthy and racing for the first time ever! -- on the 1200m leg, Matt Jackson on the 400m, Gavin Hawkes running his second 800m of the meet, and Phillip-Robert Cerria anchoring in the 1600m, ran tough but finished "out of the money!"
Details at: MileSplit, NJ Runners.
Hey, before we go any further, you probably want to see some pictures from Pine Valley:
Oh, alright, here are some pictures from the meet!
Dual Meet: Eastern Regional High School
On April 6, 2011, Cherokee visited Eastern Regional High School where Coach Shaklee unveiled a secret hand signal apparently designed to spur runner, Shawn Wilson to victory. Someone said there was a song involved -- "Fly Wilson Fly" -- but no one heard the Coach singing!
Security tapes are still being processed but apparently Matt Venanzi "stole" the sign and raced home with the victory in the 3200m!
In other news from the dual meet, Cherokee had some strong performances in all four areas: distance, sprints/hurdles, jumps, and the field! Overall, the distance squad scored 26 out of a possible 27 points in the meet! Ty Somers doubled as he led a sweep of the 1600m Run with Greg Malloy and Ryan Bobb; and then came back to lead a one-through-five sweep of the 800m Run with Ross Staudt, Colin Merrigan, Mike Lowinger and Eric Birkhead! In addition, Matt Venanzi and Shawn Wilson both PR'd while taking 1st and 2nd in the 3200m Run!
In the Sprints/Hurdles, Darren McCluskey won both the 400IH and the 110HH events; and John Barr took 2nd in the 100m Dash! Also, Brandon Rapp doubled in the 200m Dash and the 400m Run, and anchored the winning 4 X 400m Relay! In the Jumps, Darren McCluskey PR'd to win the Triple Jump; and Brian Regensburg won the High Jump! Finally, in the Field, Brandon McCleese won all three throwing events: the Shot, the Discus, and the Javelin!
Dual Meet Record: 1 - 0!
Here are some pictures from the main track area. Sorry, the throwers got ripped because their venue was too far away to cover!
On April 9, 2011, the team traveled only a few miles to the Moorestown Invitational where Greg Malloy began the day in a fairly unconventional high school track event, the 5K! But, for Greg, the 5K wasn't long enough so he decided to run much of the race in the second lane! Then with a mile or so to go, he surged well in front of the pack only to be caught and passed by several others. Still, he continued strongly and finished 3rd in the event!
Tradition has it that when the Americans unexpectedly won the Battle of Yorktown during the Revolutionary War, the British surrendered while their band played the ballad, "The World Turned Upside Down." If you listened carefully you might have heard that tune during the Distance Medley Relay! Though Cherokee fielded a strong team of runners -- Ty Somers in the 1200m, Brendan Rapp in the 400m, Drew Viscidy in the 800m, and Shawn Wilson anchoring in the 1600m -- they weren't enough to beat the unheralded team from Woodrow Wilson High School. Cherokee, the traditionally strong distance program; Wilson, the traditionally strong sprint program, but this time the roles were reversed as Wilson's distance runners beat Cherokee's, and Cherokee's sprinter in the race -- Brandon Rapp -- beat the Wilson sprinter!
Three of the four distance guys in the Distance Medley Relay -- Ty Somers, Drew Viscidy and Shawn Wilson -- came back with Ross Staudt to run a strong 4 X 400m Relay and take 2nd overall, but again to Woodrow Wilson High School!
The 4 X 800m Relay provided a very positive experience for the team and those running! Colin Merrigan, Matt Venanzi and Eric Birkhead all ran PR's, and Mike Lowinger's time was his fastest this year if not an all-time PR! The team took 3rd overall! Other nice performances came from Luis Nieves, Brandon Rapp, Zaire Williams and Darren McCluskey in the 4 X 100m Relay where they took 3rd; and in the Sprint Medley Relay with Brandon Rapp, Matt Jackson, Colin Merrigan and Ross Staudt -- clocking his own PR -- finishing in 5th overall!
Details at: MileSplit, NJ.
On April 16, 2011, the top members of the team competed at the 39th Annual Woodbury Relays and -- despite the unseasonably cold temperatures, rain and winds -- they came home winners!
It was a total team effort in the seven-event relay competition as the Chiefs won only one event but scored in all seven! Their closest opponent, a powerful team from Oakcrest High School, actually won four events but the Cherokee runners gained valuable points throughout the day and, in the end, defeated Oakcrest by eight points!
Four athletes competed in four events to lead the way for Cherokee! Darren McCluskey anchored the Shuttle Hurdles in a stunning fashion and, coming from far behind, took 2nd place in the event! He also led-off the 4 X 200 which finished 2nd; anchored the 5th place 4 X 100; and led-off the 2nd place Sprint Medley! Brandon Rapp anchored the 4 X 200; ran the 2nd leg on the 4 X 100; ran an outstanding lead-off 400 in the Sprint Medley -- handing off in first place -- and anchored the 3rd place 4 X 400! Jason Brockman ran the 400 leg on the 2nd place Distance Medley; led-off the Shuttle Hurdles and the 4 X 100; and ran a strong 2nd leg on the 4 X 400! And, finally, Brian Regensburg ran the 2nd leg on the Shuttle Hurdles, the 4 X 200, and Sprint Medley; and ran 3rd on the 4 X 100! Double Yikes!
The lone win for Cherokee came when the quartet of Drew Viscidy, Colin Merrigan, Shawn Wilson and Ty Somers placed 1st in the 4 X 800! Viscidy also ran on the 4 X 200 and 4 X 400 teams; Wilson also led-off the Distance Medley; and Somers also anchored the Sprint Medley.
Others who contributed to the team score were Ross Staudt, who ran the 800 leg on the Distance Medley and the 3rd leg on the 4 X 400; Barry Fitzgerald, back from injury, who ran 3rd on the Shuttle Hurdles; and Greg Malloy who anchored the Distance Medley!
Details at: MileSplit.NJ.
The photographer took a series of pictures until he covered all the Cherokee athletes at the meet and then he left the windswept and rainy fields to those who thrive under such conditions. Here are some pictures from the early events:
Dual Meet: Lenape High School
On April 20, 2011, Cherokee hosted a dual meet with Lenape High School and, with a very close score of 76 - 64, they improved their dual meet record to 2 - 0!
Darren McCluskey raked-in the most points for the team, taking 1st in the 400 IH, 110HH and Triple Jump, and 2nd in the 100m Dash! Brandon McCleese also scored some big points with his double win in the Discus and Javelin, and his 2nd place finish (by 1/2 inch) in the Shot Put! In addition, Brian Regensburg won both the Long Jump and the High Jump while placing 2nd in the Triple Jump! Other standout performances include: Ty Somers and Sean Wilson setting PR's to go 1 - 2 in the 1600m Run; Brandon Rapp and Drew Viscidy setting PR's in the 400m Run to go 1 and 3; and Ross Staudt going sub 2:00 in the 800!
The photographer sent his congratulations from the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia where he was examining one of their golf courses as a potential Cross Country venue! That's his story and he's sticking to it!