Ethan Wechsler adds name to Cherokee lore with state Group 4 individual championship!!!

Ethan Wechsler continued his breakout junior season Saturday by becoming only the second South Jersey runner to win the state Group 4 individual title in the last 17 years.

Wechsler, a Cherokee junior, covered the water-logged Holmdel County Park course in 16:08. He finished 50 meters ahead of senior Nick Lundberg of Freehold Township, who ran 16:18.

He’s the first South Jersey runner to win the state Group 4 title since Shawn Wilson of Cherokee in 2012 and only the eighth since the meet’s inception in 1946.

Wechsler’s time was fastest of all South Jersey boys in the six state championship races at Holmdel Saturday.

Here’s a full list of South Jersey runners who’ve won the most competitive public school race in the state. As you can see, half of them, including the last three, are from Cherokee.

1969 … Steve Schoenwald [Woodrow Wilson]
1974 … Marty Ludwikowski [Cherry Hill West]
1990 … Jerry Franks [Highland]
1999 … Joe Halin [Cherokee]
2000 … Mike Myers [Eastern]
2001 … Marc Pelerin [Cherokee]
2012 … Shawn Wilson [Cherokee]
2018 … Ethan Wechsler [Cherokee]

For the sake of comparison, Wechsler finished 30th at states last year as a sophomore.

Cherokee’s top-5 also included junior Chase Miller [5th in 16:28], sophomore Brett Shea [26th in 16:55], sophomore Dylan Odud [52nd in 17:17] and senior David Jackson [54th in 17:17].

The Chiefs were missing two of their usual top 5 but still averaged 16:49, which would up tied for the third-fastest average time of the day:

16:38 … Mendham [1st, Group 3]
16:48 … Christian Brothers Academy [1st Parochial A]
16:49 … Kingsway [1st, Group 4]
16:49 … Cherokee [3rd, Group 4]
16:52 … Westfield [2nd, Group 4]

Cherokee has now placed in the top 5 at states in 17 of the last 31 years. The Chiefs have advanced to states 30 of the last 31 year. They were sixth at sectionals in 2012. Here’s their year-by-year finish at states:

1986 – 9th
1987 – 12nd
1988 – 2nd
1989 – 2nd
1997 – 1st
1998 – 1st
1999 – 1st
2000 – 1st
2001 – 2nd
2002 – 3rd
2003 – 4th
2004 – 3rd
2005 – 4th
2006 – 5th
2007 – 1st
2008 – 2nd
2009 – 13th
2010 – 13th
2011 – 10th
2012 – DNR
2013 – 12th
2014 – 8th
2015 – 3rd
2016 – 2nd
2017 – 7th
2018 – 3rd

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