The Cherokee High School girls track team impressed at the NJSIAA State Group 4 Track and Field Championships June 11-12 at Franklin High School
Junior Alison Cooke started the meet off June 11 running a lifetime best of 1:04.46 – third fastest in school history - for sixth place in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles.
Cooke then came back in the open 400-meter dash where she ran a personal-best time of 59.60 for 10th place overall.
Cherokee’s 4-by-800-meter relay team ran 9:34.21 for second overall with the quartet of sophomore Kelsey Niglio (2:18.73), senior Meghan Carroll (2:26.52), senior Erin Jackson (2:26.13) and junior Nicole Clifford anchoring in 2:22.80.
On Saturday, Clifford won the unseeded section in the 800-meter run, clocking a lifetime best of 2:17.39 – sixth-best in school history - to place sixth.
“It was really great to see Nikki bounce back from a sub-par 1600 (5:18.58, 22nd) on Friday,” said Cherokee coach Mark Jarvis. “I give her a lot of credit to get that out of her head and come back the next day and PR. Kelsey Niglio ran a huge PR of 2:13.40 (No. 2 all time) to place fourth. Kelsey did exactly what I try and preach to the girls. Get out there and race and good things will happen. Both advanced to the Meet of champions.”
Cherokee ended the state championships with the 4-by-400-meter relay team placing sixth overall in a season-best time of 3:59.52.
Kelsey Niglio (59.49), Alison Cooke (59.12), Meghan Carroll (61.88) and Nikki Clifford (59.00) carried the baton for the Chiefs.
“We are excited for the Meet of Champions seeing Cooke in the 400 intermediate hurdles, Niglio and Clifford in the 800, the 4-by-400 and the 4-by-800 relays. A very exciting way to end this crazy year,” said Jarvis.
For the Cherokee boys, senior Nico Grilli and sophomore Patrick Ditmars were seventh and eighth in 4:19.55 and 4:19.61, respectively, in the 1600-meter run.
Junior Kevin Hess won his heat and was 14th overall in the 400-meter dash at 51.50.
Sophomore Conor Jacob was 10th in his heat and 18th overall in the 800-meter run at 1:58.86.
Sophomore Thomas Bromley, Ditmars, Jacob and Grilli placed second in their heat and 17th overall in the 4-by-800-meter relay at 8:23.18.
Cherokee’s 4-by-400-meter relay team of Hess, junior Lucas Hatch, senior Thomas Bland and Ditmars placed fifth in their heat and 14th overall in 3:29.05.
Senior Zachary Palfy was one of four vaulters to clear 11 feet 6 inches for an 11th-place tie in the pole vault.
Junior Katherine Pappas qualified in two events at the state championships for Lenape.
On Friday, Pappas placed sixth in her heat and 13th overall in the 400-meter dash at 1:00.76.
On Saturday, Pappas was 11th in the seeded heat of the 800-meter run in 2:26.59, good for 20th place overall.
Senior Sidney Whetstone was 20th in the Group 4 long jump competition with a distance of 15 feet 8 ¼ inches.
Junior Jake Buniva placed ninth in his heat and 14th overall in the 1600-meter run at 4:25.21.
Lenape placed eighth in the 4-by-800-meter relay in 8:11.51 with the junior foursome of Justin Penny, A.J. Fraley, John Reilly and A.J. Micale.
Senior Ian Camerato placed third in the javelin with a throw of 157-5, the same mark as he made in the South Jersey Group 4 championships a week earlier.
Shawnee had three athletes qualify for the state Group 4 championships.
Junior Sally Guinta was 11th in the high jump with a jump of 5 feet, which was two inches higher than her 4-10 seed from the sectional meet.
Senior Carley Polan was 17th in the shot put with a toss of 32-3 ½.
Freshman Kathryn McCrosson finished tied for 17th in the discus competition with a throw of 91-9.
The Shawnee boys placed 22nd in the 4-by-40-meter relay in 3:35.29 with the team of senior Brian Baumann, junior Tyler Marshall, seniors Kevin Cummings and Will Neher.
At the state Group 3 championships at the new facility at Pennsauken High School, senior Julia Greeley, a sectional champion a week earlier, placed second in the pole vault with a jump of 11 feet, which was nine inches off her personal best.
Freshman Alex Butcher, juniors Delaney Hackney and Elizabeth Heinemann and sophomore Megan O’Keefe placed fourth in their heat and 16th overall in the 4-by-800-meter relay at 10:34.51.
The Golden Eagles were also 16th in the 4-by-100-meter relay at 52.36 with the foursome of sophomore Kya Julius, junior Mia Hill, Greeley and freshman Emma Buttocovla.
Junior Tess Strittmatter was 12th in the shot put when a 32-11 throw on her first attempt of the competition.
Senior Aspen Mazzatta was also 12th in her event, the discus, as her best throw of the competition was 105-4 on her first attempt as well.
Senior Josh Swain qualified for the state championships in both hurdle events.
On Friday, Swain placed 12th in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at 1:00.16, which was faster than his seed time of 1:01.06 from the sectional meet.
On Saturday, Swain fell in his trials heat of the 110-meter high hurdles and came across the finish line in a disappointing 20.32.