Only five times since 1997 has a team other than Cherokee won the Burlington County Open.
In 2006, Shawnee won, with Cherokee finishing third. In 2010, Lenape edged Cherokee by four points to win the team title. In 2012, Lenape won, and Cherokee was fourth, and in 2013, Northern Burlington won, and Cherokee was third. And in 2000, Shawnee won, and Cherokee didn’t race.
Every other year?
That’s 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Cherokee, which also won titles in 1988 and 1989, won its 16th Burlington County Open team title in the last 21 years Friday, beating the field by 46 points. Lenape was second with 78 and Cinnaminson third at 108.
Senior Justin Kelly and sophomore Chris Spisak ran 1-2 for the Chiefs, with Kelly dipping under 16, crossing the line at Mill Creek Park in 15:56 and Spisak about 50 meters back in 16:06.
It was Cherokee’s first 1-2 finish in 16 years, since Marc Pelerin and Keith Krieger went 1-2 in the 2001 race.
The last 1-2 finish was by Northern Burlington’s Chris Martin and Harrison Scott in 2013.
Four of Cherokee’s first five across the line were underclassmen. Sophomores Ethan Wechsler and Chase Miller placed sixth and 11th in 16:44 and 16:53, and junior Jonathan Conn was 12th in 16:56.
Senior Brandon Marks (19th in 17:17) and junior David Jackson (21st in 17:19) also broke 17:20 for the Chiefs.
Cherokee’s 32 points matched the lowest winning score since 2004, when Cherokee won by over 100 points — 22-124 over Lenape.
Cinnaminson sophomore Austin Gabay and senior Justin Arnold placed third and fourth in 16:20 and 16:36, and Lenape’s Kevin Lauer was fifth in 16:43. Also in the top 10: Moorestown junior Jack Farmer (7th in 16:44), Rancocas Valley senior Jacob Tyndale (8th in 16:47), Burlington Township sophomore Dakota Oyuela (9th in 16:51) and Cinnaminson (10th in 16:51).
Kelly’s winning time matched the fastest in the County Open since Krieger ran 15:43 in 2002. In 2012, Shawn Wilson of Cherokee also ran 15:56.