Cherokee opened the Meet of Champions with its first win in the 3,200-meter relay.
On a very windy day that rendered fast times impossible, junior Conor Jacob, sophomore Nick Kuenkel, sophomore Robert Poplau and junior Patrick Ditmars ran 7:54.34 and won by 50 meters at the 53rd annual Meet of Champions at Franklin High School.
Cherokee led by more than 1 ½ seconds at the first handoff, 3 ½ seconds 400 meters into Kuenkel’s leg and by over 50 meters when Ditmars got the stick.
Cherokee had run 7:50.53 at the state Group 4 meet last weekend on the same track without 1:55 half-miler Patrick Ditmars.
But with nobody else running fast, Cherokee won easily, finishing more than six seconds ahead of 2nd-place Chatham, which ranked 8:00.63.
Jacob led off with a 1:57.63 split, Kuenkel ran 1:58.05, Poplau split 1:58.93 and Ditmars – in his first race since May 19 – split 1:59.73.
The Meet of Champions title is the 3rd for Cherokee. Marc Pelerin won the 3,200 at South Brunswick in 2002 and Luciano Pizarro won the shot put in 2019 at Northern Burlington.
Cherokee is the 4th South Jersey school to win the 4-by-8 since it was added to the state program in 2010. Vineland won in 2012, Kingsway in 2013 and Delsea in 2018.