Cherokee Track & Field Pictures, 2023, Page IV

The Spring Season Begins!

Without a calendar, it was difficult to tell when the Winter Season ended and Spring began! According to the weather gurus, the month of February had temperatures averaging 9 degrees above normal and the first weeks of March have followed that pattern! Is this a harbinger of a very hot Spring Track Season or should we expect a reversal with cold winds and rain?! Stay tuned!

Meanwhile the schedule has been posted here. No scrimmages are scheduled because of the short time between the first day of practice and the beginning of the season. There will be, however, an intra-team competition at Cherokee on Friday afternoon, March 31st.

The Early Spring Season is a time of continuing preparation for the season and especially for the championship meets at the end of the season! Gradually improving speed, strength, endurance and skills are the keys to success!

Generally, it begins with some early training and then a scrimmage or two for those who need some "rust breaking" (experienced guys who missed the Winter) and for new guys to learn the routine. This Spring, however, there are no scrimmages but an Intramural competition has been scheduled on March 31st.

Officially, the season begins with the Danser Relays at Lenape (April 8th); and then two "all-comers" meets -- Cherokee's "Night Racer # 1: The Night of 3200's" (April 14th) for distance runners and "Fast Times at Cherokee High" (April 15th) -- and the first Dual Meet against Eastern Regional on April 19th!

There was a great deal of improvement over the Winter but there is much to be done if Cherokee is going to compete at the highest levels this Spring! The core is there but the depth that successful track teams require is lacking! Let's get it done! GO CHEROKEE!

The Interregnum

Like many sports teams, the period between seasons is often a time of "active rest" where athletes engage in some physical activities away from their regular endeavor. For Cross Country athletes, the time between Cross Country and Winter is one such time, and for Track and Field athletes, the time between the Winter and Spring Seasons is another.

Many of Cherokee's Track and Field athletes -- the Throwers, Jumpers, Sprinters and Distance guys -- often get together to challenge each other in totally different sports like Ax Throwing, Ice Hockey, Rugby, Mixed Martial Arts, Hurling, ans most recently, Golf!

Golf seemed to be a leveling sport where no segment of the team had an advantage but the superbly-conditioned, effortlessly graceful, amazingly coordinated and lithe members of the Distance Squad made short work of the rest of the team! In the future, they hope to find some sport where they don't have the obvious advantage but that has yet to be seen!

Our photographer traveled to the event but he decided to leave because the day was cool and incredibly windy, and the Distance guys were displaying their usual cocky self-assurance by wearing running shorts and no shirts . . . on the golf course?! Too much already in both cases! He did take one picture of the club house that showed the strength of the wind that afternoon!

windswept golf

Is it April 1st yet?!

Opening Day

On March 16th, 2023, the Spring Season opened well! With most of the paperwork done -- we won't mention the 5 or 6 slackers who didn't get it in yet, especially the creative High Jumper who "failed to have his eye exam signed!" -- decent temperatures, bright sun, no wind to speak of, and a ready group of athletes to warm up the track's surface and throw heavy stuff around after a cold winter . . . that's opening well!

For those who competed this winter, it was a typical day after the above-mentioned "Interregnum" but for those who didn't do Winter Track, and for newcomers, it was a day of meeting the coaches and other team members, and a light "rust-busting" workout! GO CHEROKEE!

Our photographer was there and caught many of the happy faces! At a meet, shooting only Cherokee athletes (which is rare), he'll shoot over 500 pictures and then select the relative few that he likes (interesting, technologically decent, etc), edit and post them over the next few days. Some of his pictures are posted here on our website, and they and others are available on our District Google site! The Google pictures are of higher resolution, easy to copy and send to friends and, especially, older relatives, like your grandparents (?), for their enjoyment! Hint!

That said, this is not a private endeavor, any pictures that might be of interest to the staff or team on the site, please send them along to One megabyte (1MG) gives a lot of flexibility to the web guy but not required! Thanks!

First, let's meet the coaches: Head Coach Hoffman and Assistant Coaches Shaklee, Thompson and Viscidy.

Shaklee Thompson Viscidy

Click on the thumbnail picture to open!

Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day
Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day
Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day
Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day
Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day

Adrenaline Run 5K

On March 18th, 2023, the Adrenaline Run 5K crossed the town og Haddonfield along Kings Highway for the 17th year. (Previously known as the Bancroft Run, a charity run for the Bancroft School, it ran for many years before that.) Typically, Coach Shaklee had his distance athletes compete to judge the quality of their winter training, and typically the team did very well!

If you're interested, you can look back on this website for information on their performances or you can look back on the results from 2006-on at Run Sign Up.

This year, only four of our athletes chose to race! YIKES! Pacing his little brother, Liam Tindall finished 44th/726 finishers and 1st in his age group; followed by Anthony DiBaptista in 67th and 2nd in his age group (15-19); Ben Weiner in 72nd and 3rd in his age group (15-19); and Andrew Free in 85th and 4th in his age group (15-19).

Our photographer was at the race, largely to shoot his mother who raced a PR and was first in her age group! She asked not to be identified here because she didn't want to embarrass some of the young people. In addition to Mom, our phtotographer caught Liam, Anthony and Andrew in the race but he has only blurred pictures of Ben! Apparently, he was going too fast for our photographer to capture the action! He did, however, catch him during a warm-up!

Race details at: Run Sign Up.

Adrenaline Adrenaline Adrenaline Adrenaline Adrenaline Adrenaline

Hall of Fame: The South Jersey Track Coaches Association

On March 26th, 2023, Coach Shaklee was inducted into the SJTCA Hall of Fame before a large group of family, coaches, athletes from his early days at Cherry Hill East High School and Drexel University, and former Cherokee athletes and parents from years past! While he has been recognized in the past for his coaching excellence, this award was more important to him because he was selected, through a vigorous process, by coaches who have watched and often coached against him over the past decades here in South Jersey!

Thirteen years ago, Coach Shaklee received his first induction into a state-wide Hall of Fame: The New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association, an adjunct of the NJSIAA, the organization that runs all of New Jersey's interscholastic sports! In 2009, at their annual banquet in Edison, NJ, the NJSCA recognized the state's interscholastic "Coaches of the Year" and inducted a few into their Hall of Fame!

Coach Shaklee was inducted "in recognition of his twenty years of outstanding Cross Country coaching!" At that time, the citation included 5 State Group Championships; 6 State Sectional Championships; 13 County Titles; 16 Divisional Titles; 2 NFHS Coach of the Year Awards; 1 NJ State Coach of the Year Award; and 2 South Jersey Coach of the Year Awards! At the time, the coach was quick to thank his long-time Assistant Coach, Chris Callinan and the many athletes who, over the years, helped him to earn this honor!

The picture below shows a younger Coach Shaklee with his wife, Cricket Batz-Shaklee, receiving his award from Steven J. Timko, Executive Director of the NJSIAA.

Coach Shaklee and Cricket Batz-Shaklee

At the 2023 presentation, Coach Shaklee's career biography was presented at the induction ceremony and is available HERE! However, much of the Coach's personal address that followed the presentation was a sincere, largely extemporaneous "thank you" to everyone who helped him win his award, from his mother and all those in between up to his 2022 Cross Country Group IV Champions! There is an amateur video of the presentation and his comments but it is unavailable to us at this time! (A picture of some of Cherokee's recent Alums is available at the: 2023 Alums page!)


Shaklee HOF

Top Distance Event Returners For This Spring

On March 30th, 2023, NJ.MileSplit posted the Top 50 Distance Event Returners for Outdoor 2023 and Senior Patrick Ditmars made all the lists, while several others made the 800m, 1600m and 3200m lists!

Patrick Ditmars - 800m: 6th in 1:55.01; 1600m: 8th in 4:15.26; Mile: 8th in 4:21.36; 3200m: 25th in 9:28.08.

Conor Jacobs - 800m: 18th in 1:55:93; 1600m: 14th in 4:18.45.

Bobby Poplau - 800m: 30th in 1:57.10.

Nick Kuenkel - 1600m: 30th in 4:21.62; 3200m: 17th in 9:18.87.

Further details at: NJ.MileSplit.

Team Intramural Boys and Girls Meet

On March 31st, 2023, the coaches of both teams sponsored a Team Intramural Boys and Girls Meet at Cherokee which included individual events, including throws and jumps, regular and mixed relay events, and some eye-opening experiences for both the coaches and athletes! The coaches kept records of the various events but none of that will be available on NJ.MileSplit!

Our photographer was there and took quite a few pictures and, unexpectedly, a team of parents showed up afterwards with pizza, cookies and drinks to help memorialize this first "meet" of the season! GO PARENTS! Our photographer, usually quick to catch different aspects of the sport -- he did catch C.S. visiting the near-by trash can after his second race of the day, didn't he?! -- failed to get pictures of all the parents who supported the team and, for that, he is sorry! The single effort below is symbolic of his appreciation, and the appreciation of the team! THANKS!


Here are a few chosen at random -- except maybe CS :<) . . . Click on the thumbnail below. These and many others are available on the District's Google site.

Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural
Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural Intramural

The Don Danser Relays

On April 8th, 2023, Cherokee's season opened across town at Lenape High School in The Don Danser Relays!

Originally, the "Hall of Fame Relays" (not sure which Hall of Fame) at Maple Shade, the name and location were changed after Mr. Danser, one of the top officials in NJSIAA, who started his XC and Track coaching days back in the 1970s at Rancocas High School, died some years back.

These early relays were always "weather-iffy" as it could be summer-hot and winter-cold, and there could be sunshine, dark clouds, rain, nasty winds and even snow and sleet! They were often "eye-openers," too, as they regularly displayed some surprising improvements and some gaping weaknesses on the team! Whatever, the coaches and athletes knew from these relays that it was time to toughen-up and meet the season head-on! GO CHEROKEE!

Speaking of weather, this year's weather was a tad chilly, with a frost delay at nearby golf courses, especially at the 9:00 AM opening! Most athletes competed in their uniforms, with perhaps a T-shirt under their tops, but some rookies (not Cherokee!) actually raced in full sweats! We'll put together a summary soon and the official details are at NJ.MileSplit.

In passing, a friend who hadn't been to a track meet in many years sent the following sign which he hopes will be posted in all the Port-A-Pots he is forced to use in the future!

Pot sign

Our photographer was at the meet and shot over 2,000 pictures which he edited and shared with NJ.MileSplit. Unfortunately, he is somewhat limited and was unable to get to the jumps and throws areas. He saved most Cherokee track pics and some of them are posted here while they and the others are posted on the District's Google site.

Sprint Team

Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser
Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser
Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser Danser

Incredible Find!

On April 12th, 2023, Sotheby's, the auction house, reported that Michael Jordan-worn Nike Air Jordan 13 sneakers sold for $2.2 million and that set us thinking. After careful digging and research, we unearthed a legitimate workout jacket worn by Coach Shaklee when he was a high school runner at Cherry Hill East! Since then, he used the garment for housework and then it hung forgotten in a garage for decades!

The "Shak Jack" shows its age -- at least 50 years! -- but pictures from the time demonstrate the accuracy of this claim! Since he never wore the jacket in state or national championships, its value at the upper end has been estimated by Sotheby's at $1.00! Interested parties should contact Sotheby's in New York by April 30th, 2023.

Shak Jack

Night of 3200's

On April 14th, 2023, the Distance Team hosted the annual Night of 3200's, a distance extravaganza that included eighteen heats of the 3200m with at least ten under the lights at the school's stadium! The coaches and parents did all the administrative work while the guys raced through the early evening!

Distance Coach Shaklee sent the following comment on the evening:

"The conditions for the Night of 3200s turned out to be pretty good! Although it was a little warm for the first few heats, the Dew Point was low and it was OK . . . and, with nothing more than a light breeze, it made for the possibility of fast racing!

"The healthy members of the Cherokee distance squad took advantage of the conditions to record twelve new Personal Records of the fourteen who raced!

"Josh Lowery got things started with a solid effort to take 2nd in heat 2, beating his seed time by 26 seconds in his first attempt at the event!

"Sam Wright, also running his first 3200, was next in heat 5. Sam has trained consistently over the past several months and has improved tremendously. He also showed himself to be a tough competitor on Friday evening! He gave it everything he had and, despite throwing up several times over the last 300 meters, he never gave in! For his efforts, Coach Shaklee picked Sam as the Athlete of the Meet.

"Joe Hough was up next in heat 11 and he ran a great race, staying focused from start to finish and coming away with a 12 second PR! Ethan Weisenberg and Myron Paes followed in heat 12 where they both set new PRs!

"Tate Midora was the only Cherokee runner in heat 13 and he acquitted himself well in his first 3200 with a sub-11:00 clocking! Heat 14 featured Logan Bromley, Enzo Corona and Silas Matteson. Both Logan and Enzo set new PRs with Logan's time making him the 6th fastest freshman of the meet!

"Four Cherokee runners were in heat 15 - Liam Tindall, Andrew Free, Ben Weiner and Matteo Evola. Coming back from illness, Liam struggled a little over the last half mile but was still the team's top finisher in the heat! The other three all came away with new PRs!

"Conor Jacob made his 'official' 3200 meter debut in heat 17 and was far-and-away the fastest Cherokee runner of the night! His inexperience in the event came into play with 2 - 1/2 laps remaining when he allowed the front of the pack to gap him. Conor woke up on the backstretch of the last lap and closed very quickly to just miss catching the lead runner at the line! Still, 9:38 in his first (and he hopes his last!) go at the event was impressive! He should run very fast in his true events - the 800 and 1600 - this season!"

Details at: NJ. MileSplit.

Our photographer was at the meet and he saved most of the Cherokee track pics. Some of them are posted here while they and the others are posted on the District's Google site.

Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s
Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s
Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s Night of 3200s

Here's one for you! On Friday night, out of the corner of our photographer's eye, he thinks he recognized one of Cherokee's great distance men, who, because of injury, hasn't competed in months! He's standing near the fence with a girl on his arm! I know, crazy huh?!

Our photographer takes a quick but blurred picture and, upon questioning, meets the young lady: she's a student supposedly shipped in from Lenape High School but wearing a Cherokee T-shirt, and she is supposed to be our star's "girl friend!" Of course, our photographer is incredulous as he has never met a distance guy in this group who has a real girlfriend! Next you'll be telling us that he can dance and is taking her to the Prom!

So, we'll leave it to you. Is this our distance man? Is this girl from Lenape? Is the girl in the picture his real "girl friend!" Can he dance and is he going to the Prom?! Will he say more than ten words to her the entire night?!

Nick and friend

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