Ethan Wechsler’s course record leads tight Cherokee pack to Olympic Conference title!!!!!

Ethan Wechsler broke his own course record at DREAM Park and the Cherokee boys won their fifth straight Olympic Conference American Division XC title and fourth straight overall title, their 12th overall.

Cherokee, ranked No. 1 in South Jersey and 3 in the state, outscored Cherry Hill East 21-38 to win the American Division.

This is the fourth straight year and ninth time in the last 19 years a Cherokee runner has won the individual title at the Olympic Conference meet.

Wechsler covered the 5,000-meter course in Logan Township in 15:12, and senior Chase Miller, junior Nico Grilli and senior Tyler Jackson packed 3rd through 5th from 16:04 to 16:07. Senior Michael Gave was 8th overall in 16:27.

According to the MileSplit database, the previous course record of 15:52 was set by Connor Melko of Bishop Eustace in last year’s Olympic Conference meet.

Cherokee averaged 16:00 for its five scorers, which is blazing even on a downhill course.

In all, Cherokee had nine of the first 20 finishers, all nine running 17:16 or faster.

Cherry Hill East, No. 3 in South Jersey, went 2-6-7-9-14 and averaged 16:23. Cherokee and Cherokee had six runners across the line and Cherry Hill East four across the line before the first runner from another school finished.

Also for Cherokee, junior Brett Shea placed 10th in 16:33 and junior Daniel Boria was 13th in 16:49.

Conor Jacob ran 17:02 for 18th and was the top freshman in the race. According to the MileSplit database, his 17:02 is a course record for freshmen, breaking the mark of 17:11 set by Boria two years ago at the South Jersey Shootout.

Senior Robert Hackney took 20th overall in 17:16, and sophomore Joseph Natoli and senior Matthew Campbell also ran sub-18, Natoli 28th in 17:44 and Campbell 31st in 17:52.

East senior Oliver Adler ran 15:54 for 2nd behind Wechsler. Junior teammates Aidan Eyre and Gabe Rodriguez took 6th and 7th in 16:20 and 16:21, and sophomore Ethan Anderer gave East four of the top nine at16:28. Sophomore Dylan Hagan ran 16:52 for 14th for East.

East showed its incredible depth, placing 11 runners in the top 26. Junior Aidan Goff, senior Paul Bruce, senior Maxwell Haught, sophomore Jacob Cheng, junior Mason Bulicki and freshman Michael McCurdy all finished between 16th and 26th and ran between 16:58 and 17:41.

The top non-Cherokee or Cherry Hill East finishers were Lenape senior Matt Richardson [11th in 16:37], Washington Township senior Jayden Greene [12th in 16:48] and Washington Township junior Cole Kolodziej [15th in 16:56].

Overall, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East runners accounted for 22 of the first 31 spots.

Camden Catholic won the National Division, 31-45, over Bishop Eustace, and Shawnee won the American, 37-43, over Timber Creek. The other individual winners were Shawnee senior William Pellegrino [16:43] and Eustace senior Shane Vostenak [16:50].

Scored unofficially as a merge among the three divisions, Cherokee wins 21-41 over Cherry Hill East, with Washington Township [157], Shawnee [161], Timber Creek [172] and Camden Catholic [174] all finishing within 17 points of one another.

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