Cherokee Track & Field Pictures, 2023, Page III

Late-Winter Training and Competition

Yikes! More unusual winter weather! December was often colder than usual but, in January and early February, it was warmer than usual -- sometimes in the 60's -- and training went well! Now, mid-February, it feels like it often does in March and we hope that continues well into April!

By this time, we're looking at late Winter meets for training (another SJTCA Meet at The Bubble and an outdoor meet at Haddonfield High School) and several "Big-time" State meets for competition (NJSIAA South Jersey Sectional Championships, with qualifiers moving onto NJSIAA Group Championships, and then qualifiers there advancing to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions) GO CHIEFS!

Cherokee Throw Down # 3

On February 9th, 2023, Cherokee hosted the third and last of their Winter Throws Meets, the Cherokee Throw Down # 3, in a cafeteria and gymnasium! Again, with three Olympic-style circles, the event went quickly enough for the participants to each get four throws in competition and, then, des[ite a false fire alarm triggered on the other side of the building, to get home in time for a late dinne! GO CHEROKEE THROWERS!

Quite a few Chiefs threw their best of the season at this meet. Two Varsity putters, Zack Ott and Shane Sloan; five Junior Varsity throwers, Fransisco Sandoval, Kenny Alwine, Anthony Maszlanko, Jacob Poinsett and Brody Ludman; and one Freshman, Edward Firstenburg all had new Indoor or overall PR's! All of these individuals and their performances are recorded on MileSplit.

Our photographer worked the meet and here are a select few of the Cherokee pictures! They and others are available on the District's Google site!

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Throws 3, Cherokee Throws 3, Cherokee Throws 3, Cherokee Throws 3, Cherokee Throws 3, Cherokee Throws 3, Cherokee

NJSIAA South Jersey Group 4 Sectional Championships

On February 12th, the team returned to The Bubble for the NJSIAA South Jersey Sectional Championships and had some good and some not-so-good results!

Volunteer Winter Distance Coach Shaklee seems to agree in the following summary:

"The Cherokee distance squad had a mixed bag of results at the SJ Group 4 Sectional Meet at the Bubble on Sunday, February 12th.

"Things got off to a good start in the 1600m Run with Enzo Corona, Andrew Free and Patrick Ditmars running for the Chiefs. Enzo was the 1st seed in Heat 2, Andrew was the 2nd seed in Heat 3 and Patrick was the top seed in Heat 4, the seeded heat. Enzo was given instructions to not lead for the first 800m and, consequently, it went out fairly slow. However, once beyond the half, Enzo took over and closed very well to win the heat by a wide margin with a new indoor PR! Andrew positioned himself well from the start of heat 3 and ran a smart, tough race to finish 3rd with a new overall PR! Patrick had a race plan of staying with the leaders and using his kick for the win. The pace started out okay but then slowed considerably in the 3rd 400m and six runners were bunched up with two laps to go. Patrick was boxed in and looking for an opportunity to get out. Finally, on the backstretch of the last lap, he was able to slip out and pull away for his first ever Sectional title!

"As well as the 1600m Run went, that's how bad the 800m Run went! In heat 2, Logan Bromley was running well and, on lap 3 was making a move for the lead when he was inadvertently tripped. He went down, did a perfect summersault and, to his credit, got right back up and into the race. (MileSplit's video caught the spill!) Yikes! However, that exertion took a lot out of him and he finished just a shade off of his PR. Both Matteo Evola and Patrick Ditmars (doubling back) had difficult races with unfavorable results.

"Anthony DiBatista, Ben Weiner and Liam Tindall were our entrants in the 3200 Meter Run. Anthony and Ben were in Heat 1 and ran good races, both recording small PRs! They both still need to work on focusing better from the 1600m through 2800m where the pace is getting away from them. When they resolve that, they will drop a lot of time! Liam was in the fast heat and had difficulty getting a position on the rail. As a result, he ran a lot of extra distance over the first 800m, which was out fast, and that left him a little tanked for the final mile. To his credit, he held it together well and came within a few seconds of his best time!

"Finally, Matteo Evola and Patrick Ditmars joined Christian Sproesser and Jack Couture on the 4 X 400m Relay. Running in the 1st Heat, Christian and Jack both ran well to put us in 3rd position and in striking distance of the lead! Matteo ran a tough 3rd leg to keep us close to the first two teams and Patrick did the rest, taking the lead at the start of the 2nd lap and pulling away for the win! It was good to see both Matteo and Patrick rebound that well after their sub-par 800m races! It's an important lesson to learn . . . every race is a new opportunity. Matteo and Patrick took full advantage of that"!

Besides the Distance PR's, Liam McCloskey and Arole Baskole ran PR's in the 400m Dash but did not advance; and Sam Green hit a long-awaited 5' 10" PR in the High Jump, and, with ties determined by misses, took 5th and advanced to the State Group Championships!

Summary: Senior Patrick Ditmars and Sophomore Sam Green advanced to Groups: Patrick as Champion in the 1600m Run and Sam with an excellent PR and 5th place in the High Jump! YOU GO, GUYS!

Details available at NJ.MileSplit.

Our photographer was at the meet but, as a favor, he photographed the Shot Put for MileSplit and missed some of the Cherokee action on the track. On the other hand, Tom Smith, a real photographer and friend of Cherokee, shot about 1800 pictures around the track and posted his work on MileSplit. Tom was forced to do so almost immediately with little editing and at very low resolution, and our photographer copied them from MileSplit. Here are some of the pictures taken by our photographer. The rest of his pictures and all of Tom's Cherokee pictures are available on the District's Google site!.

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Haddonfield's Sunny Day Scrimmage

On February 15th, Cherokee took advantage of another sunny, winter day in South Jersey by attending an impromptu scrimmage at Haddonfield High School!

Volunteer Winter Coach Shaklee sent the following report:

"The Haddonfield meet fell on a beautiful day for February, sunny and in the 60's. Yes, there was some wind but at Haddonfield it was mostly protected. As a result, there were a bunch of personal records recorded.

"The 800m Run featured Matteo Evola, Andrew Free, Liam Tindall, Tate Midora, Brett Yagiello and Josh Lowery. Matteo, Liam, Tate and Brett all set new PR's while both Andrew and Josh were within a second of their best times! Matteo's race was most impressive as he PR'ed by 5 seconds and won the race!

"Enzo Corona, Anthony DiBatista, Ethan Weisenberg, Ben Weiner, Rory Carroll, Myron Paes, Silas Matteson, Rocco Clifford and Sam Wright were entered in the 1600m Run for Cherokee. Enzo finished 3rd with an 8-second PR while Anthony was not far behind with a sizable PR of his own (despite running a bit too aggressively through the first half)! Ethan Weisenberg had a big PR and broke 5:00 for the first time ever! To appreciate how much better Ethan has made himself over the past year, his best from last spring was 5:15! In addition to those three, Rory, Myron and Sam all set new PR's as well!

"Everyone came back in the 400m Dash, which was difficult for the 1600m runners as it was the next event! Despite that, Matteo, Andrew, Tate, Brett, Liam, Rory, Josh and Sam all set new PR's! Once again, Matteo had the most impressive run with a quick 53.8 for 2nd place!"

Wow! It's great to race outside again!

There are no pictures available and there are no further details posted on MileSplit this time.

NJSIAA New Jersey State Group 4 Championships

On February 18th, NJSIAA sponsored the New Jersey State Group 4 Championships at our usual site, The Bubble in Toms River.

Only two Cherokee athletes advanced from "Sectionals" to "Groups:" Sophomore Sam Green cleared 5' 10" in the High Jump and qualified 5th; and Senior Patrick Ditmars raced the 1600m and crossed the line 1st in a relatively slow 4:27.69. Coach Hoffman and Coach Shaklee accompanied the athletes; and our photographer caught both boys in action!

At Groups, Sam had several nice-looking jumps and cleared the aggressive opening height of 5" 8" but failed to clear 5' 10." Overall he had an impressive end to what was, early on, an unremarkable season. After stalling at 5' 4" for four or five winter meets, he cleared 5' 8" at the SJTCA's Winter Meet #12 in New York, and then he set his season PR of 5' 10" at the SJ Sectional Championships advancing to Groups! Ending the season like that, the staff expects to see a lot more out of Sam in the Spring! GO SAM!

At Groups, Patrick found himself seeded 2nd in the unseeded heat, a position that was unlikely to help him run a PR! In the race, he pressed the pace through much of the early go and then took the lead in the final half of the race. In the last 200m, he sprinted for the finish line but was overtaken and forced to take 2nd in the race, 2 seconds faster than Sectionals: 2:25.69. With that time, however, he advanced to the Meet Of Champions as a Wildcard Qualifier! GO PATRICK!

Volunteer Winter Coach Shaklee sent the following brief comment on Patrick's race:

"Patrick Ditmars was our lone distance representative at the Group 4 State Meet. Unfortunately, his winning Sectional time was not fast enough to get him into the seeded heat and he was forced to go to the lead early in his race, which is not his style. He ran a couple seconds faster than his Sectional time, and took 2nd in his race, but finished 9th overall. He did advance to the Meet of Champions as a wild card but, once again, will be in the unseeded heat."

Monumental Details at: NJ.MileSplit.

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SJTCA Winter Meet # 16

On February 21st, a group of Cherokee athletes returned to Toms River for what is likely to be the final Bubble Meet this season . . . sadness in Mudville.

Reviewing the results, several athletes made the most of it by setting some new PR's!

Among the Jumpers, Throwers, Hurdlers and Sprinters, Jack Couture went under 7.0 for the first time in the 55m Dash, while Wesley Davenport missed his PR chance in that event! In the High Jump, Sam Green cleared 5' 10" again but failed at 6'; and in the 55mHH, Jeremy Linden qualified for the Finals even though he didn't set a new PR! Finally, among the 400m Dash sprinters, Freshman Carlo Brown clocked a nice time but missed setting a PR, Christian Sproesser set a small PR, and Carter Rutter established his PR in his first time out! In the Shot Put, neither Fransisco Sandoval or Brody Ludman managed another PR.

Among the Distance guys, there were several who set PR's at their final Indoor meet! In the 800m Dash, Ben Weiner set an Indoor PR, Myron Paes clocked an overall PR, and Josh lowery missed a PR this time. In the 1600m Run, Andrew Free had a scary-close, literally .18 of a second, miss at a PR; Enzo Corona clocked a PR; and Sam Wright dropped his PR from December by about 17 seconds! Wow! Anthony DiBaptiste and Logan Bromley missed their chance this time!

Details at: NJ.MileSplit.

Our photographer worked the meet and here are some of the Cherokee pictures! They and others are available on the District's Google site! He also included a few pictures from GROUPS!

Have you noticed our photographer's new wrinkles? Here he is, "bright and early" before his morning coffee, getting ready for another exciting day in Cherokee land! Sad. (Cartoon at bottom by Steve Moore, "In the Bleachers.")

wrinkled old man

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Eastern States Championships

On March 1st, Cherokee's lone representative, Senior Patrick Ditmars traveled to the Eastern States Championships at The Armory in New York City but he brought with him the fifth in a series of sicknesses this winter! His results in the 800m Dash were, as one might expect, disappointing.

Our photographer was unable to attend and this was both bad and good . . . bad because he missed photographing Patrick's race at the historic Armory Track and Field Center but good because he missed accompanying Coach Shaklee on the long ride home after the race! (Ask Patrick to explain the meaning of this sometime!)

This picture by a NY.MileSplit photographer (cropped) barely captured Patrick's happy face:

Patrick at Easterns

Details at: NY.MileSplit.

NJSIAA Meet of Champions

On March 5th, Patrick Ditmars Cherokee's lone qualifier for the NJ state Meet of Champions, still sick from whatever ruined his race at Easterns, withdrew from the meet and, with the rest of his team, ended his Indoor Season and looked forward to the Spring! GO PATRICK! GO CHEROKEE!

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