The Late Spring Training Season: late April through mid-May, as the "training" season continues and everyone is shaping-up to show their stuff at the championship meets! It starts with The Penn Relays (April 26 - April 28); a dual meet against Washington Township (AWAY, May 2nd); the South Jersey Open (May 3rd) and the South Jersey Relays (Buena HS, May 5th). Then the distance team will do a training run at Richard's 5K Run in honor of Tim Frantz (May 6th); followed by a dual meet against Eastern Regional High School (Eastern HS, May 8th) and the Lenape Regional High School District Championships (Shawnee HS, May 10th); and the Cherokee Invitational (May 14th).. . . GO CHEROKEE!
The Penn Relays
On April 27, 2012, several of the team's top performers traveled to Franklin Field in Philadelphia for the 118th annual running of The Penn Relays. For Cherokee, the action began at 8:50 AM when the team's "National Class" 4 X 800m Relay team of Colin Merrigan, Shawn Wilson, Ross Staudt and Drew Viscidy took 2nd in their heat (and 3rd overall) to advance to the 12-team Championship of America 4 X 800m Relay the following day!
Not long after that, the 4 X 100m Relay team of Duane Johnson, Matt Jackson, Brandon Rapp and Shawn Tracey competed in a very crowded field of other teams -- 280 teams, 32 heats -- hoping to advance as well. Unfortunately, running in the 7th heat, they finished 2nd, and finished 70th overall in the event.
Later in the afternoon, the team's lone field qualifier, Brandon McCleese, competed against 20 other qualifiers in the Javelin. Brandon took 17th place in the event.
Details on the entire meet are at: Penn Relays On Line. Read Jon Blau's article on the Trials in the Burlington County Times: Cherokee Boys Reach Championship Race.
The photographer was only available for a short time in the morning when he took these pictures of the 4 X 800m Relay team in action:
On April 28, 2012, The Penn Relays continued for Cherokee's elite, showcasing the South Jersey Large-School 4 X 400m Relay team of Brandon Rapp, John Barr, Mike Hare -- who ripped a big one at the Eustace Frosh-Novice Meet and won this slot! -- and Shawn Tracey in the South Jersey competition; and the return of the 4 X 800m Relay of Colin Merrigan, Shawn Wilson, Ross Staudt and Drew Viscidy who qualified previously for the Championship of America 4 X 800m Relay!
The action began around Noon when Brandon Rapp took to the track in the SJ Large-School 4 X 400m Relay! The crowded starts at the Penn Relays are like buffalo stampedes and the lead-off man has to be both fast and tough! So, naturally, Brandon was selected and he was well up to the job! He dominated throughout, passing-off in 1st, and then John, Mike and Shawn continued a blistering pace, crossing the line in 3rd place, ahead of 15 other South Jersey schools!
Later that afternoon, Cherokee lined-up for the Championship of America 4 X 800m Relay race! Again, knowing the start required a fast and especially tough runner, Colin Merrigan toed the line! After the gun, Colin got caught-up in the pack but they went so fast that he remained calm and confident. Near the exchange, he broke from the group and passed the baton to Shawn in 4th! By the 200m mark, Shawn remained in 4th but, by the 600m mark, he was in front! . . . women screamed, babies cried . . .! At the exchange, Shawn passed to Ross in a group with two other teams. Ross held 1st place, challenged by three runners, including the top-seeded team, Westfield of Virginia! Then, as so often happens in crowded and confusing exchange zones, Ross passed to Drew but the baton hit the pavement! Precious seconds were lost in the scramble for the baton, extraordinary efforts were then expended to make up the loss, and the team faded to a 9th place finish. It was a magnificent "high" and, for guys who put so much into winning the race, a devasting "low." Still, the season's not over yet and the team will return both as a relay and in the individual championships that end the season!
Read Jon Blau's comment on the Finals in the Burlington County Times: Bad Exchange Costs Chiefs in 4 X 800.
This is how the Penn Relays photography team viewed the 4 X 800m Relay Trials and the Finals:
This is how our photographer viewed the 4 X 800m Relay Finals at the back turn:
Dual Meet: Washington Township High School
On May 2, 2012, Cherokee bussed to Washington Township High School for a dual meet that the coaches used more for training and resting key individuals than for competing. Highlights included a sweep in the 3200m with Matt Decker setting a ten second PR to finish 2nd, between Aiden Lynch, who was 1st and Billy Hornung in 3rd! Kaleb Burch ran well to take 2nd in the 1600, just short of his PR. Sam Dugan showed his competitiveness in his first competition -- after illness kept him out for the first half of the season -- winning the 2nd section of the 800m in highly aggressive front-running fashion and then coming back with a strong leg on the 4 X 400m Relay! Among the Sprinters, Duane Johnson stands out as he ran two strong races to get 2nd in both the 100m and the 200m!
Dual Meet Record: 1 - 3. OH, COME ON, CHEROKEE!
More later -- well, maybe -- but here are some pictures from the meet:
South Jersey Open and South Jersey Relays
On May 3, 2012, several members of the team traveled to the 21st Annual South Jersey Open at Buena High School for Day 1 of a two-day meet featuring individual and relay events. Most of the bright spots in the meet came from the 1600m races: in the Varsity 1600m, Mike Lowinger and Matt Venanzi set season bests, while in the Freshman 1600m, Joe Lacy PR'd by 13 seconds and Rob Harper and Jake Callan each PR'd by a little! Further details from Day 1 at: MileSplit/NJRunners.
On May 5, 2012, selected members of the team returned to the South Jersey Relays for Day 2 of the meet that featured only relay events. The scoring began when the Freshman Distance Medley team of Rob Harper, Jake Callan, Joe Lacy and Justin DeTone won their event! Harper put the team in the lead with a strong lead-off leg. Jake Callan moved down from the distance events to maintain the lead on the 400 leg. Joe Lacy PR'd on his 800 leg and gave the baton and the lead to anchor runner, Justin DeTone. Justin lengthened that lead and crossed the finish line over 100m in front of the 2nd place team! This was soon followed by the JV 4 X 100m Relay team of Matt Jackson, Eli Conner, Matt Rhodes and Marc Woodard as they took 1st in their event! In addition, the JV 4 X 400m Relay team of Noah Gil, Zach Piatrowski, Brandon Illagan and Mike Hare took 3rd in that event, and then returned to take 4th in the JV 4 X 800m Relay!
Results from Day 2 at: MileSplit/NJRunners.
Richard's River Run
In September, 2008, Tim Frantz, one of our team members, died of Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and since then Cherokee runners have participated in Richard's River Run as a way to remember Tim and support the efforts of the GO4the Goal organization. If you would like to learn more about Tim, check out this section of our website, Tim's page; and if you would like to "remember Tim" in a tangible way, consider donating to the organization at Go4the Goal. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of Coach Shaklee and Cherokee athletes at the race:
Dual Meet: Eastern Regional High School
On May 8, 2012, Cherokee hosted division-rival Washington Township High School and, again, the coaches used more for training and resting key individuals but that doesn't mean they laid back and let Eastern win! Indeed, Cherokee won the meet posting some impressive results!
Among the Sprinters/Jumpers/Throwers, Mike Gallo took 3rd in the 400IH and set a new PR of 63.7 while doing it! In the 100m, Brandon Rapp took 2nd in a fast race, clocking 11.1, with Matt Jackson clocking 11.2, a huge PR for him! Brandon also won the 200m with a PR of 22.2! Cherokee swept the 400m, with Colin Merrigan, Ross Staudt, and Mike Hare dominating the race! Among the jumpers, Cherokee swept the Triple Jump! Charles Lee won in 39' 7.75", leading Matt Rhodes and Aakash Patel in the victory . . . and Lee and Rhodes came back to take 1st and 2nd in the Long Jump! The Vaulters did well too, with Eric Mudge taking 2nd and Louis Villaverde vaulting a huge PR of 9' 0" to take 3rd! Evan Rosenberg showed off his skills in the Javelin with a 147' throw!
Among the Distance squad, Bill Hornung crossed the line just ahead of Jeremy Morgan to take 1st and 2nd in the 1600m; Drew Viscidy won the 800m in 1:58 but his victory was overshadowed by Freddy Rassmussen's huge PR (2:16) to take 3rd, and Noah Gil's own huge PR (2:17) to take 4th; and Dan Mintzer broke 11 minutes for the first time (10:56) to take 2nd in the 3200m!
Cherokee won the meet 73.5 to 66.5. Dual Meet Record: 2 - 3. GO CHEROKEE!
Scoresheet posted at: MileSplit/NJRunners.
Lenape Regional District Championship
On May 8, 2012, a fairly cold and definitely windy evening, Cherokee took the short ride over to Shawnee High School for the 6th Annual Lenape Regional District Championships and, for the 6th year in a row, came home with the District Cup! Key to that victory were the first-place finishes in eight events but big points were won throughout the meet giving Cherokee 116: 44 points over their closest rival! The Sprinters picked-up big points in their events with Duane Johnson taking 1st in both the 100m and 200m Dashes, and then returning with Matt Jackson, Shawn Tracey, and Eli Conner to take 1st in the 4 X 100m Relay! Tracey and Conner also picked-up points in the 100m Dash as they took 3rd and 5th! Drew Viscidy took 1st in the 400m Dash with Brandon Rapp a very close 3rd; and then Rapp returned to win the 4 X 400m Relay with Viscidy, Colin Merrigan and Ross Staudt!
The Distance Squad chalked-up their own "big points" too! In the 800m Run, Merrigan and Staudt took 1st and 2nd; and then in the 4 X 800m Relay, Brandon Illagan, Mike Hare, Kaleb Burch and Rob Harper took 1st! In the 1600m Run, Shawn Wilson took 1st; and in the 3200m Run, Matt Venanzi and Aiden Lynch took 2nd and 3rd; and in the highly-unusual 4600m Run -- OK, it was supposed to be a 5K -- Bill Hornung and Jeremy Morgan took 2nd and 3rd!
The Jumpers and Throwers also picked-up key points in the win! Jordan Aughenbaugh and Jason Kramer took 3rd and 4th in the High Jump; Eric Mudge and Lou Villaverde each matched their PR's and took 2nd and 5th in the Vault; Matt Rhodes and Andrew Webb took 3rd and 5th in the Long Jump; and Chas Lee took 2nd in the Triple Jump! Out in the Field, Brandon McCleese doubled in the Javelin and the Discus, and took 4th in the Shot; Mike Conway took 1st in the Shot with an outstanding 4 foot PR; and Zach Madden took 3rd in the Shot and 4th in the Discus!
Final Results: Cherokee: 116; Lenape: 72; Seneca: 67; Shawnee: 37! GO CHEROKEE!
Details at: MileSplit/NJRunners.
On May 14, 2012, Cherokee hosted the Thirteenth Annual Cherokee Invitational, the earliest meet of its kind in New Jersey devoted to younger athletes who may or may not make it to the Sectional Championships! Several of our guys performed well at the meet!
Mike Gallo took home three medals as he placed 4th in the 110HH in a PR of 18.16; 6th in the 400IH with another PR of 64.0; and, teamed with Rob Harper, Sam Dugan and James Transue, placed 5th in the 4 X 400 Relay! Marc Woodard cracked the 12 second mark -- OK, it WAS close! -- running 11.99 and taking 5th! Ronnie Oxendine PR'd in the 100m clocking 12.11, and then came back to clock 24:48 in the 200m and place 3rd!
James Transue and Rob Harper put the "thrill" into the 800m Run! Rob just outleaned James to place them 5th and 6th respectively, with both running identical times -- both PR's! -- of 2:07.62! In addition, Justin DeTone placed 5th in the 1600m Run while clocking a nice 4:52.0, and both Sam Dugan and Danny Mintzer cracked the 5-minute mark with Dugan in 9th at 4:58.27 and Mintzer in 11th at 4:58.60!
Finally, in the Field, Lou Villaverde tied his PR again by clearing 9' 0" and placing 6th; and Aakash Patel leapt 37' 0" in the Triple Jump and placed 5th!
Results at: Cherokee Invitational Page