Cherokee didn’t run particularly fast, thanks to the terrible conditions, but they sure raced well. The Cherokee boys didn’t win the actual team title at the 23rd annual Cherokee Challenge because team scoring only accounts for the first finisher in each of the four class races.
But scored as a traditional meet — five-fastest times — Cherokee would have won in a very close finish over Westfield.
The Chiefs had four of the top 21 finishers in a merged result and two more in the top 60, with nearly 1,600 boys combined in the various races.
Scored as a conventional meet, Cherokee would have edged Westfield, 103-109, with Salesianum of Delaware third at 145 and Mainland fourth with 249 and the only other school under 300 points.
Westfield packed five runners in the top 31 (and six in the top 41), but Cherokee went 4-9-14-21 to build up a 30-point lead through four runners and hung on for the theoretical win over a very good Westfield team.
Cherokee’s top four and Westfield’s top five were all underclassmen.
Chris Spisak, Ethan Wechsler and Chase Miller went 2-4-7 in the junior race and times don’t really matter considering how wet and muddy the 3,200-meter course was, but they all ran between 10:01 and 10:25. Cherokee’s fourth was Nico Grilli, who was second in the soph race in 10:33.
Senior David Jackson ran 24th in the senior race in 10:46 and sophomore Brett Shea took 12th in the soph race in 10:48, and Michael Gavio took 36th in the junior race in 10:58, giving Cherokee seven under 11 minutes in the various races combined.
Cherokee is ranked No. 10 in the state according to Milesplit. Westfield is ranked No. 7.