Nick Kuenkel, Patrick DItmars 1-2 finish leads Cherokee to 4th straight sectional championship!!!!!

Junior Nick Kuenkel and senior Patrick Ditmars finished 1-2 – separated by 8-100ths of a second – and led Cherokee to its 4th straight sectional title and 12th overall.

Kuenkel and Ditmars both ran 15:22 over 5,000 meters at DREAM Park – 15:22.72 for Kuenkel and 15:22.80 for Ditmars – and Cherokee placed four in the top 10 to outscore Southern Regional 41-62.

Their 1-2 finish is the first in South Jersey Group 4 since Ethan Wechsler and Chase Miller of Cherokee went 1-2 in the 2018 race at Delsea.

Senior Conor Jacob placed 7th in 15:47 and junior Robert Poplau ran 9th in 15:52, giving the Chiefs four runners under 16 minutes. Sophomore Liam Tindall ran 16:34 for 23rd place to clinch the team title.

Cherokee – ranked 3rd in New Jersey – also won South Jersey Group 4 titles in 1988, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Kuenkel joins Marc Pelerin [2000], Alex Yersak [2005, 2006, 2007], Shawn Wilson [2012], Jack Shea [2016], Justin Kelly [2017] and Wechsler as Cherokee’s seventh individual sectional winner.

Other South Jersey runners in the top 15 and advancing to states next weekend at Holmdel County Park were Lenape senior Colin Hermack [3rd in 15:28], Williamstown senior Nicholas Krol [6th 15:47], Egg Harbor Township senior Ryan Taylor [8th 15:49], Washington Township senior Colin Keane [11th 15:59], Lenape sophomore Noah Manwaring [12th 16:00], Williamstown sophomore Dylan Saber [13th 16:00], Cherry Hill East junior Raine Guidarelli [14th 16:01] and Kingsway senior Cesar Pedro [15th 16:06].

Lenape scored 107 points to advance to states, as well as Cherry Hill East [115] and Williamstown [127].


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