Cherokee Track & Field Pictures, 2016, Page IV

The Spring Season Begins!

Mid-Spring is a time of continuing preparation and many more meets to allow athletes to demonstrate what they learned in practice and in competition. It begins with the storied Woodbury Relays for top varsity runners on April 16th, and the Washington Township Dual Meet at Cherokee for all on April 19th. After that, there is a quick sucession of events starting with Cherokee's Night Racing Meet #1, 3200's on April 21st, the postponed Bridgeton Relays on April 23rd; "Richard's Run," a memorial run dedicated to one of our lost runners, Tim Franz on April 24th; the Penn Relays at Franklin Field on April 29th and 30th; and the SJ Open (May 5th at Delsea H.S.). GO CHIEFS!

44th Annual Woodbury Relays

On April 16, 2016, while the throwers were at the Eagle Relay Invitational, Cherokee's top runners competed at the 44th Annual Woodbury Relays in Woodbury, NJ. More on that later, including pictures, but something has to be said about the first baton exchange in the 4 X 800m Relay. This isn't a blog but this series of pictures should generate an animated discussion somewhere!

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The Distance races were essentially "rust-busters" for the Distance Squad as it was their first race of the year for almost all of them! Still, they did pretty well! Leading off the Distance Medley Relay, Justin Kelly (1200m) and Kevin Milligan (400m) held their own among a very competitive group of runners, while Mike Zurzolo came within a second of his 800 PR and Nick Falk raced the guys he was with and beat them for the team's 4th place finish. In the 4 X 800m Relay, the first three guys -- Brendan Falzone, Brandon Marks and Cam Wilburn all ran PR's . . . and Falzone's is especially impressive considering what had to be, according to Coach Shaklee, the worst baton exchange in hand-off history, all of which occurred in his half of the zone! (See above series of pictures!) They finished in 5th.

The Sprinters were described as doing "just OK," having failed to medal in any of the day's races. Kevin Milligan did well in the DMR and he returned to lead-off in the 4 X 400m Relay with Terrance Graves, Anton Specht and Matt Powell that finished 7th. The 4 X 100m team of Rob Curley, Matt Powell, Terrance Graves, and Daulton Hopkins raced for 6th place in that event; while the Sprint Medley Relay team of Colton Schneeweis, Rob Curley, Daulton Hopkins and Dave Osterhout took 8th in that event.

Official details at: NJ.MileSplit.

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Washington Township Dual Meet

On April 19, 2016, the team welcomed Washington Township High School to Cherokee for the first of four divisional dual meets of the season. In the past, teams ran 10 to 12 dual meets each season to determine the Division and Conference Champions -- that in addition to all the Saturday invitationals! It was totally nuts! Today, the Olympic Conference has three Divisions of four teams each, and each Division conducts dual meets to determine the Division Champion. After that, all the teams compete in a single championship meet to determine the Conference Champions. Today's victory over Washington Township was the first divisional win for the team!

The Throws team did especially well throwing many PR's and scoring many points! In the Javelin, the team swept with Matt Gross, Eli Mitchell and Tatum Cinelli taking 1, 2 and 3! Matt Gross had a huge PR and Steve Huber, Matt Tilden, Jared Selkow and Nick Villamil followed with their own best-ever throws! In the Discus, Eli Mitchell and Kieran Kelly took 2nd and 3rd, with Kelly, George Coulter, Mike O'Malley, Alec Mowad, Jake McAvaddy and Mike Nessler hitting PR's! The team finished their day in the Shot Put with John Hemple and Dom Wilson taking 1st and 2nd! Wilson secured that 2nd place with his last PR throw, and Coulter, O'Malley, Kelly, Mowad, Selkow, Nessler and Mahoney all had their second PR's of the day in this event!

The Sprinters also had a nice day, with many setting their own PR's and taking important points from the Township sprinters! Two Freshmen -- Will Delendik and Tray Cabbagestalk -- broke 12 seconds in the 100m Dash, and Will took 2nd place in the event! Daulton Hopkins set a new PR and also took 2nd in the 200m Dash! Kevin Milligan clocked his own PR in the 400m Dash for 2nd place, and Rob Curley followed with his own PR and 3rd place! Dave Osterhout also stepped up with his own PR in the 110HH and took 2nd place!

The Distance squad also did well today, even though many were preparing for their upcoming "Cherokee Night Racing #1." Racing a tactical 1600m, Justin Kelly and Jack Shea were forced to close in 61 (sub-30 in the last 200m) to overcome a strong Township challenger and win. Brandon Marks was just a tic behind! Mike Iannotta went under 5:00 in his first 1600m of the year and Pat Mahoney PR'd by 3 seconds! In the 800m, Mike Zurzolo negative split to win with Nick Falk right behind him in 2nd! Following then, twelve guys set new PR's: Brendan Falzone, Cam Wilburn, Joe Thompson, Matt Smith, Naledge Brown, Jon Conn, Chris Zurzolo, Matt Seitz, Ben Rosenberg, Harsh Amin, George Villanueva and Shane Gordon!

Jumpers added some important points too! Daulton Hopkins set another PR in the Long Jump and picked-up the win; while Neil Amin and Mark Kirby went 1 and 2 in the Triple Jump (Neil's jump was a PR)!

The key in all of this is personal improvement as the season progresses. That's why the coaches track PR's! In addition, there are qualifying times required at several upcoming meets. For example, for the S.J. Invitational in May, SEVEN Cherokee sprinters have already qualified in the 200m Dash (Daulton Hopkins, Terrance Graves, Matt Powell, Rob Curley, Kevin Milligan and Matt Dawkins); and both Milligan and Curley have already qualified in the 400m Dash! In addition, FOUR Freshmen sprinters (Amir Epps, Tyler Ortiz, Aatish Gupta and Owen McGlashan) have qualified for the Frosh 400m Dash; and Will Delendik and Tray Cabbagestalk qualified for the Frosh 100m Dash at that meet.

Another May invitational meet where qualifying times/distances are required is the Olympic Conference Championships and a quick review shows EIGHT Cherokee athletes have already qualified! Will Delendik in the 100m Dash; Daulton Hopkins, Terrance Graves and Matt Powell in the 200m Dash; Kevin Milligan in the 400m Dash; Mike Zurzolo in the 800m Run; and Matt Gross and Eli Mitchell in the Javelin.

Final score: 86 - 53. GO CHIEFS!

Our photographer caught most of the team today but, since the distance squad will be featured at both our upcoming Cherokee Night Racing, #1 and Richard's Run, here we'll feature some of the Throwers and Sprinters.

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Cherokee Night Racing # 1

On April 21, 2016, Cherokee hosted the 2nd Annual Cherokee Night Racing # 1 and it was one great night of distance racing! Of the 23 Cherokee runners who competed, 19 of them set personal records, many of them by quite a margin! Cherokee didn't have runners in all of the 13 heats but, of the ones they did, the Chiefs had 4 heat winners! Heat 1: Shane Gordon; Heat 2: George Villanueva; Heat 6: Joey Thompson; and Heat 10: Cam Wilburn! Cam's race was the most impressive as he dropped over 45 seconds from his previous PR while racing both smart and tough the whole way! But there were no dummies or wimps out there, and Gordon, Villanueva and Thompson ran well!

In addition, both Justin Kelly and Mike Zurzolo moved into the top 10 on the All-Time Cherokee 3200m List with Kelly taking 8th and Zurzolo taking 10th . . and Brandon Marks entered the list at the #38 spot!

Details at: NJ.MileSplit.

*** Before posting pictures, the writer has a contest for observent track runners. The first person to identify directly to Coach Shaklee the runners wearing the shoes pictured below gets to have (1) a $50 donation in his name made to the Go For The Goal Foundation honoring a great kid and a former Cherokee distance team member, Tim Frantz, and (2) an official Penn Relays T-shirt!

The first picture is of probably the best known current South Jersey distance runner. The second is of a Cherokee distance runner.

Mystery Shoe 1 Mystery Shoe 2

*** Brendan Falzone correctly identified Aaron Groff and Nick Falk as the athletes who made a rookie mistake by not tying their shoes properly before racing, Groff at the Woodbury Relays, Falk at Cherokee Night Racing # 1. The donation has been made and the T-shirt will be bought! Congratulations to Brendan for his observation skills and his speed in getting to Coach Shaklee!

Here are some pictures from Cherokee Distance Night #1

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Bridgeton Relays

On April 23, 2016, Cherokee's Sprinters, Jumpers and Throwers traveled south to the Bridgeton Relays. This year, the meet was postponed for two weeks because of heavy rain and, as if on schedule, the rains returned on this second opportunity to compete.

Despite on and off rain, the Javelin team of Matt Gross and Eli Mitchell placed 2nd in their division. That's the third time they have placed 2nd or better this year! In addition, Kieran Kelly had a nice PR in the Discus!

Among the Sprinters, Coach McMichael doubled the same team of sprinters in both the 4 X 100m and 4 X 200m Relays. Rob Curley, Matt Powell, Terrance Graves and Daulton Hopkins improved their hand-offs in the 4 X 100, finished 5th and clocked their best time of the year! They raced their first 4 X 200m Relay of the year, finished 6th and their splits suggest some nice races in the future! Finally, the Sprint Medley team of Kevin Milligan, Will Delendik, Matt Dawkins and Matt Powell, finished 5th and looked good in their first outing as a team!

Details at: NJ. MileSplit.

Our photographer was determined to stay the day -- it was already windy, drizzling, and fairly cold for late April -- but when the rain came down heavily during the third event, the DMR, and when his camera apparently suffered some kind of electrical failure, he fled like a whipped dog! He did, however, catch a few pics from the 400IH and the 4 X 100m Relay. (The last picture marked when the camera froze but there is no evidence that the previous picture of Daulton had anything to do with that failure!)

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Richard's Run

On April 24, 2016, Coach Shaklee and eight team members showed-up for the 10th Annual Richard's River Run at Cooper River Park. The race benefits the "Go 4 the Goal" Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding research for pediatric cancers. The race is named after a young man who died of a childhood cancer but Cherokee has a special connection to the organization: Tim Frantz, one of our own, died of Ewing's Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Indeed, a feature in the race is the Tim Frantz Award to the top finisher.

The team is in the middle of a training/racing segment and, while none of the guys actually raced "Richard's Run," it was nice to see a Cherokee athlete win the race and the Tim Frantz Award! Mike Zurzolo took 1st place, closely followed by Nick Falk, Jack Shea, Justin Kelly, Brendan Marks, Mike Iannotta, Matt Smith and Chris Zurzolo! Also in the mix was Coach Shaklee who raced his first 5K since his foot operation over a year ago!

By the way, Nick constantly talks about his dog and many thought he was referring to the son of Lassie or Rin Tin Tin . . . maybe a winner at the Westminister Dog Show . . . but looking at the pictures below doesn't that thing remind you more of Toto in the Wizard of Oz?! The Wicked Witch got a raw deal! Look that up, you young folks! That said, will the person who keeps texting that Nick's dog, Shadow, "looks like a big rat that came out of Cooper River" please stop! How many "rats" can do a 3K in 18:12?! GO SHADOW!

While the guys had fun doing the run, all of them participated in the event to honor Tim's life and courage. More on Tim can be found on our site at Tim's Memorial Page.

Race details at: L & M Sports.

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Penn Relays

On April 29 and 30, 2016, five of Cherokee's best sprinters traveled across the river to The University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field and The 122nd Annual Penn Relays! This three-day meet is one of the most incredible opportunities for Cherokee athletes to challenge the best runners from around the United States and the Carribbean and, even when not at their peak, it's a great experience! Ten years from now, there's nothing like saying (with a enigmatic smile) to knowledgeable friends, "Yeah, I ran in the Penn Relays." Few admit they got murdered!

Cherokee entered two relay events with two athletes who had competed at the Penn Relays before -- Rob Curley and Matt Powell -- and three who had not -- Kevin Milligan, Daulton Hopkins and Terrance Graves. In the 4 X 100m Dash, Curley, Powell, Graves and Hopkins finished 231st against 586 teams; 60th against 159 teams from NJ; and 20th against 53 teams from South Jersey while clocking 45.16. Even more details are at: 4 X 100 Results.

In the South Jersey 4 X 400m Relay, Milligan, Curley, Hopkins and Powell combined to finish 398th against 574 teams; 112th against 159 teams from NJ; and 33rd against 43 teams from South Jersey. The complete list of 4 X 400m Relay results at: All 4 X 400 results. The specific list of 4 X 400m Relay teams (with splits) in the South Jersey race at: SJ 4 X 400 results.

The good news from both races is that the times were the best of the season, so far!

Our photographer missed the meet this year. The video for the 4 X 100m Relay is at: NJ.MileSplit; and the video for the 4 X 400m Relays is at: NJ.MileSplit.

Further details at: Penn Relays OnLine, and MileSplit.


On May 5, 2016, top members of the Distance and Sprint squads traveled to Delsea High School for the SJTCA Track and Field Carnival, a fancy new name for the SJ Open. For the Distance guys, bad weather and unfortunate scheduling have limited their racing to basically two events -- the Woodbury Relays and Cherokee's Night Racing # 1 -- so this was only their third opportunity to race this season! That said, their times were decent and a harbinger of what is coming over the next few weeks!

Tactically, Senior Mike Zurzolo looked the best as he moved into position at the bell and gave himself an open opportunity to race for the finish line! He improved his PR by almost 5 seconds but Justin Kelly, Cam Wilburn and Brandon Marks showed the biggest improvement! Justin knocked 13 seconds off his previous best and closed very well (62.6 for the last 400) to finish 8th! Cam PR'd by 11 seconds and Brandon PR'd by 6 seconds though all three may have been a tad more conservative mid-race than warranted. Nick Falk got caught out of position when the real racing started with about 600m to go and had to settle for a decent but not spectacular time. Jack Shea continued his comeback but still has a ways to go; and Brendan Falzone came close to his PR from last year even though he didn't run a tactically sound race.

The Sprint squad looked good too! Highlights include the Freshman 100m Dash, where Will Delendik took 5th, and both he and Andrew Parker broke 12 seconds for the first time! In the Freshman 400m Dash, three sprinters broke 60 seconds and set FAT-bests: Amir Epps clocked 56.01 and placed 16th; Tyler Ortiz clocked 57.82 and finished 37th; and Aatish Gupta clocked 59.07 and finished 44th. Among the upperclassmen, Kevin Milligan set a new PR of 52.31 for 26th place in the Varsity 400m Dash; and Rob Curley ran within a second of his hand-time PR's in both the 200m and 400m Dashes!

Details at: NJ.MileSplit

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