Even for a tiebreaker, this race was ridiculously close.
With their first five runners across the line at the Olympic Conference XC Championships Friday at Gloucester County College, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East were in a dead heat.
Cherokee went 2-4-6-12-20 for 44 points.
Cherry Hill East went 1-7-9-10-17 for 44 points.
Any race that comes down to a sixth-runner tiebreaker is thrilling, but in this one, the sixth men from Cherokee and Cherry Hill East came across the line next to each other.
Cherokee senior Steve Gravlin was 21st overall in 16:53.62, and East junior Marc Meltzer was 22nd in 16:57.10.
And that was the difference. We knew Cherokee and Cherry Hill East were very even, but this was ridiculous.
Cherokee’s five scorers were juniors Jack Shea [2nd in 15:26] and Nick Falk [4th in 15:46], sophomores Justin Kelly [6th in 16:14] and Brandon Marks [12th in 16:25] and senior Michael Zurzolo [20th in 16:49].
Cherry Hill East countered with overall winner Aaron Groff in 15:13.29, followed by seniors Cole Parsons [7th in 16:15.09] and Isaiah Jean-Baptiste [9th in 16:19], junior Tyler Parsons [10th in 16:21.69] and senior Ryan Federline [17th in 16:44].
The team title was Cherokee’s first since 2011.