The Late Spring Season is a time of continuing preparation for the upcoming state championship meets at the end of the season! Maintaining focus, gradually improving speed, strength, endurance, and skills are the keys to success! It continues with the final dual meet against Cherry Hill East High School; and then the Cherokee Invitational (Novice Meet); the first of the "championship" meets, the Olympic Conference Championships; Holmdel's 'Night of 1600s'; another early championship meet, the Burlington County Open; and the Haddonfield Distance Night!
On May 8th, 2018, the team welcomed Cherry Hill East High School for the fourth and final dual meet of the season! Winning it meant the team would go undefeated in their dual meet season and become the champions of the Olympic Conference's American Division!
Impromptu picture provided by Coach Lynn that suggests a win at the meet!
The Sprinter/Hurdlers had some nice performances! The Sprinters swept both the 100m and 200m Dashes and then took 1st and 2nd in the 400m Dash! In the 100m, EJ Bard, Will Delendik and Andrew Parker scored the best-possible 9 points; in the 200m, Kevin Milligan, CJ Lee and EJ Bard took another 9 points; and in the 400m, Kevin Milligan and CJ Lee took another 8 points! All ran well, including CJ Lee's 51.8 (HT) in the 400m, but Kevin's 50. (HT) clocking in the 400m suggests a sub-50 is in the near future! GO KEVIN!
There were other PR's too! In the 200m Dash, Matt Zeiler, Drew Evans, Avanish Karlipudi and Tommy Bland clocked PR's; and in the 400m Dash, Jamarie Forrester, Brad Rafkin, Tommy Bland, Chima Opara, Matt Zeiler and Avi Desai did the same!
In the Hurdles, Ty Ortiz clocked a PR in the 400IH; and Tray Cabbagestalk ran his fastest time of the year at 16.2 in the 110HH!
There were many good performances in the Jumps, especially in the Triple and Long Jumps! In the Triple Jump, the team of Nkenna Opara, Liam DiFerdinando and Tray Cabbagestalk swept the event, and Mike Wolfe set a new PR! In the Long Jump, the team of Liam DiFerdinando, Nkenna Opara and Zack Palfy swept that event too! Liam set a new PR of 20' .75"; Zack and Mike Wolfe, Rakesh Chandraraj, Jeremy Sher and Chima Opara followed with their own PR's!
In the Pole Vault, Kenny Sprankle took 2nd, with Jeremy Sher, Denny Sweeney and Zack Palfy setting new PR's!
Finally among the Jumpers, Cherokee went 1-2 in the High Jump with Liam DiFerdinando clearing 6' for a BIG PR and Andrew Parker matching his PR of 5' 10"!
Before moving on, it should be noted that Liam DiFerdinando had an INSANE day: 20' in the Long Jump; 40' in Triple Jump; and 6' in High Jump! Just sayin'!
Overall the Throwers had a good day! In the Javelin, going into the final round of throws Cherry Hill had the top two places. Then Ahmad Miller threw a 12' PR to jump into 2nd Place and Jared Selkow followed that with a 3' PR of his own to jump over everyone and take 1st Place! A Cherry Hill athlete managed to pass Ahmad but he finished 3rd! Nathan Chang, Jack Vick, Marcus Dawson, JP Aimone and Chika Omeronye all threw their own PR's! In the Shot Put, Kieran Kelly finished 2nd, with PR's thrown by Phil Quipot and Chika Omeronye; and in the Discus, seniors Josh Morgan and Al Fofanah both had big PR's!
The Distance squad did their part in completing an undefeated dual meet season by taking 26 of the 27 possible points in the 800-1600-3200! Chris Spisak accounted for 10 of those with his wins in the 1600m and 3200m races! Chris ran very controlled, saving his top efforts for the upcoming championship meets. Behind Chris in the 1600m, Brandon Marks took 2nd, and freshman, Nico Grilli, placed 3rd in a new PR and a Conference Championship qualifying time! Also establishing new PR's in the 1600m were Matt Morgan and Matt Campbell, both of whom have been working diligently in practice and are now seeing it pay off! Justin Kelly, Ethan Wechsler and Chase Miller went 1-2-3 in the 800m with Ethan dropping 2.5 seconds from his previous best while Justin ran a season best! Chris Spisak ran the 3200m in trainers as a workout and easily pulled away from the field for the win, with Jon Conn taking 2nd! In the Distance Squad's Training 4 X 400m Relay, Justin Kelly, Brandon Marks, Ethan Wechsler, Chase Miller, Mike Gavio, Nico Grilli and Matt Campbell all set new PR's!
Final Score: Cherokee: 102; Cherry Hill East: 38! GO CHEROKEE!
Dual Meet Record: 4 - 0! First time undefeated in Dual Meets since 2008! First Olympic Conference, American Division title since 2011!
Official meet results at: SJTCA Web.
Our photographer took quite a few pics at this meet. These feature some of the team members we don't see so often:
On May 14, 2018, Cherokee hosted the 19th Annual Cherokee Invitational, a meet devoted to Novices and those unlikely to qualify for the up-coming State Championships!
Coach Shaklee reported two nice performances by his runners! Matt Campbell PR'd by several seconds in the 1600m Run, and Mike Moraschi who knocked three seconds off his previous best in the 800m Run!
Coach Lynn reported several highlights! Jamarie Forrester ran his fastest 100m Dash of the year in 12.34; and Avi Desai clocked another PR in the 200m Dash! In the 400m Dash, Aatish Gupta ran his fastest 400m of the year (55.75) to place 7th in the event; and he anchored the 4 X 400m Relay -- with Tommy Bland, Brad Rafkin and Luke Spulerto -- finish 8th . . . and this was despite losing his shoe at the very beginning of the race! Also in the 400m Dash, Jake Free clocked his own a PR! Finally, the Pole Vaulters had a nice day: Denny Sweeney tied his PR, while Jeremy Sher broke his PR! Both vaulted 8-0!
Our photographer was unavailable for the meet.
Official results at: NJ.MileSplit.
Lots of good stuff to report but before that, an observation by an older gentleman and friend of Cherokee Track and Field: "I noticed several of the Cherokee guys who raced really well have fresh haircuts! Do you think there's a connection? If so, maybe the coach will have them shave their heads for Sectionals?"
Hmmmm . . . hadn't thought of that, but Kelly and Gavio are said to be giving it some serious thought!
On May 17, 2018, Holmdel's 'Night of 1600s' provided a great opportunity for the distance squad with 16 of 18 runners setting new Personal Records! In Heat 2, Corey Zeitz raced well in his first attempt at the distance to establish his PR! In Heat 9, Matt Campbell and George Villanueva both ran outstanding races, finishing 6th and 8th respectively with sizable PR's! In Heat 12, Freshman Bryan Lafferty provided the first MAJOR Cherokee highlight of the evening when he won the heat and knocked an incredible 15 seconds off his previous best, running sub-5:00 for the first time and doing so by over 7 seconds! Yikes!
In Heat 15, Mike Moraschi got to the start line just in time and he went on to PR with a strong final lap! In Heat 16, Jon Conn and Matt Morgan both set new PR's with Matt ducking under 4:50 for the first time!
Heat 17 provided another Cherokee highlight and a strong race from Mike Gavio as he unleashed a big negative split to win the race and establish another huge 12-second PR! Yikes! In the same heat, Matt Smith knocked several seconds off of his previous best to place 5th, just 3 seconds behind Mike! In Heat 18, Mike Iannotta ran a strong race to knock 7 seconds off of his previous best with a 4:35.45 clocking! "Yeah, I ran in the mid-30's . . . how'd you do?" Yikes!
In Heat 19, Cherokee's top two Freshmen bought down their PR's by about 8 seconds each! Nico Grilli's time of 4:35.97 made him the 5th fastest frosh in school history, with Brett Shea cracking the Top-10 at 4:40.00! Yikes!
In Heat 20, Chase Miller and Brandon Marks both ran great races to join Cherokee's exclusive "Sub 4:30 Club!" Chase clocked 4:25.43 for 2nd place in the heat, and that put him at #16 on the Cherokee All-Time List (4th soph!)! Brandon's 4:28.87 made him the 31st fastest in school history! Yikes!
The penultimate heat, Heat 21, saw Ethan Wechsler break Nick Falk's sophomore school record with a great time of 4:22.70, making him the 12th fastest miler in Cherokee history! Nick's old record was 4:24.42. Alas, Ethan was able to enjoy his status as "the fastest Cherokee sophomore miler in history" for only about 15 minutes until the final, seeded, heat went off! (The "shortest record-holder in Cherokee history" - another record! - but he still gets a Yikes!)
In the last "Seeded" Heat, Justin Kelly, although under the weather, managed to go sub-4:20 once again! Right behind him, Chris Spisak, ran splits of 65.1 - 65.3 - 65.2 - 65.3 to take down Ethan's recently-established Sophomore Record with a 4:20.96 clocking! That time also put Chris #9 on the all-time Cherokee list! Yikes!
That's a lot of "Yikes!" but, if you didn't go home thinking "Yikes!," you're much too jaded for this sport! GO CHEROKEE!
Official Results and Videos at: NJ.MileSplit.
Saw this Wumo cartoon and wondered if this was a reference to our Ethan . . . but then we saw his start at Holmdel . . . either it didn't refer to Ethan or he got caught! ; < )
On May 15, 2018, the team arrived early at Rancocas Valley High School for the 80th Annual Burlington County Open Championship ready to compete in some pretty difficult conditions: light rain, intermittent winds, and chilly low-50's temperatures! They would have preferred sunny skies, little wind and temperatures in the 60's but that wasn't a choice. And, after all, it's Track, and part of the challenge is to deal with the conditions, whatever they are!
Unfortunately, the meet lasted for only 1-1/2 hours when it was inexplicably canceled by the Meet Director. The Meet Referee gave no further explanation than to say, "It's raining."
For the record, rain is no excuse for canceling a track meet, especially one that has already begun! Rain is one of nature's challenges, not an impossible or even dangerous obstacle. Track people overcome challenges . . . it's an integral part of the sport! At the meet, Track people were already overcoming the challenges: runners ran, throwers threw; and jumpers jumped. That's what Track people do! They should have been able to continue but officials confused Track with sports like Tennis or Badminton, that cannot be played properly in the rain, and canceled the meet!
If you are a real Track enthusiast, you prepare yourself for all kinds of weather and compete at your best every time you are out there! If you're not, and if you were happy when the meet was canceled, you need to find another sport or you just should have stayed home and watched Prince Harry get married!
That said, ask some older runners (maybe your grandfather or Coach Shaklee) what they talk and laugh about when they and other old (former?) runners get together. They rarely remember those wonderful Spring days when the weather was glorious and the racing easy. Instead, they talk and laugh about that freak sleet storm, the crazy mud run, or the exploration run through some new woods that was supposed to be about forty minutes but turned into a "Bataan Death March" of two hours! In your memories, today's meet will get a lot colder, the rain will be a lot heavier, the wind a lot stronger, and your performances a lot better . . . and everyone will laugh and enjoy the memory! And don't feel left out, you jumpers and throwers, you'll do the same thing! Enjoy!
Official results at: NJ.MileSplit.
Cherokee competed in only a few events before the meet was abruptly ended. There were two Distance events and those guys did well in both! In the 3200m Run, Chris Spisak and Ethan Wechsler didn't let the conditions bother them as they ran together at the front to take the top two spots in the race; and in the 4 X 800m Relay, the final event before the meet was abruptly ended, the team of Brandon Marks, Brett Shea, Nico Grilli and Mike Iannotta raced well to take 3rd place!
The Thowers never got a chance to perform and several Sprinter/Hurdlers made our photo display but failed to make the awards platform! ;< )
On May 21, 2018, the Distance Squad traveled to Haddonfield High School for the Haddonfield Distance Night and they were totally discombulated because there was no snow, no rain, no wind, no high temperatures . . . just a nice evening to race! Despite these "unusual" conditions, many of the guys did well!
In the 800m, both Ty Jackson and Aatish Gupta came away with new PR's! Ty finished 6th in a very strong field of runners and just missed breaking the two-minute barrier by a few hundredths of a second! Aatish closed well and knocked a second off his previous best with a negative split race. This was a significant improvement for him this season since he was banged up for a while at the start of the spring season! Coach Thompson remarked that "both athletes showed what a good attitude and determination can do for you."
Coach Shaklee reported that "after having such a great team night at Holmdel last week, it was difficult for guys to improve on what they had already done. The lone PR out of the six guys in the 1600m came from Mike Moraschi who knocked another two seconds off of the PR he set at Holmdel! In the 3200m, the first three finishers all set new PR's with Brett Shea leading the way and just missing out on a sub-10:00 clocking! Brett's time was a 7 second PR! Nico Grilli went out hard and, although he struggled a little over the last two laps, still managed to PR by a second; and Matt Smith knocked almost 8 seconds off of his previous best with a very steady, Matt Smith-like, performance!"
Official results at: NJ.MileSplit.