Cherokee, the top-ranked team in South Jersey, had three of the top four finishers and stormed to a 37-point win at the Olympic Conference XC championships on Rowan’s 5,000-meter championship course (not the course used for batch meets).
Sennior Jack Shea won his first conference title, crossing the line in 15:44, 60 meters ahead of Cherry Hill West senior Robert Abrams.
Senior Nick Falk and junior Justin Kelly both ran 16:02, Falk edging Kelly for second. Junior Brandon Marks ran 16:26for eighth, giving Cherokee four in the top 10, and rapidly improving freshman Chase Miller finished 17th.
This is the first time in at least 14 years at the Olympic Conference meet — and probably the first time ever — that one school has had three runners at 16:02 or faster in the same race.
Scoring Cherokee against the field, the field wins by just four points — 33-29.
Cherokee won last year on a sixth-runner tiebreaker with Cherry Hill East. The Chiefs’ 33-point winning score is second-lowest at this meet in the last nine years. Cherry Hill East scored 32 to win the 2014 meet.
It’s Cherokee’s lowest winning score since the 2007 team scored 30 to beat Cherry Hill West 30-72.
This is the first time Cherokee has won back-to-back Olympic Conference titles since 2008 and 2009.
Shea is Cherokee’s first conference XC champ since Shawn Wilson in 2012.
Others in the top 10 were Cherry Hill East senior Tyler Parsons, fifth in 16:05; Shawnee senior Mark Miller, sixth in 16:17; Bishop Eustace junior Nick Hutchison, seventh in 16:23; Cherry Hill East senior Josh Dillon, ninth in 16:32; and Lenape’s Kevin Lauer, who was the top sophomore overall, 10th in 16:39.