Cherokee’s Patrick Ditmars, Conor Jacob, Nick Kuenkel make County Open history with 800 sweep!!!!!!

Cherokee’s trio of half-milers did something at the Burlington County Open that hadn’t been done in nearly two decades.

Seniors Patrick Ditmars and Conor Jacob and junior Nick Kuenkel, Cherokee’s top three runners on the Chiefs’ state Group 4-champion XC team, swept the top three spots in the 800 Saturday at Northern Burlington, Ditmars winning in 1:55.23, Jacob 2nd in 1:56.32 and Kuenkel 3rd in 1:56.76.

Cinnaminson senior Derek Coceano [1:57.60] and Lenape junior Will Whalen [PR 1:58.77] also dipped under two minutes, but Cherokee became the first school to sweep any event at a County Open in 18 years.

Last time it happened was at the 2005 meet at Maple Shade, when Willingboro took the top three spots in the triple jump, with Bryan Potter [43-11 ¾], Travis Davis [42-10 ¾] and Antoine Rivera [40-10 ¼].

The last County Open sweep on the track also came in the 800 and it was also Willingboro. Back in 2003, Rashaad Lee of Willingboro won in 1:55.76, Ahmad Rutherford was 2nd in 1:55.90 and Edmund Dixon 3rd in 1:57.65. Those three, joined by Shareef Muhammad, ran 7:44.25 a few weeks later for 3rd place in the 4-by-8 at the adidas Outdoor Championships in Raleigh. That’s No. 5 in South Jersey history.

Ditmars has now won four Burlington County titles. He was the county XC champ in 2021 and took 2nd yo Kuenkel this past year. He won the 3,200 at the 2021 County Open as a soph and the 800 last year in 1:55.93. Ditmars’ 800 PR is 1:55.01 from last year’s South Jersey Elite at Delsea.

Jacob on Saturday also ran very close to his PR of 1:55.93 from Haddonfield Distance Night last year, and Kuenkel ran well under his PR of 1:58.38 from the South Jersey Elite earlier this month at Delsea.

The last time three half-milers from the same South Jersey school ran sub-1:57 in the same race was 2017 Group 4 sectionals , when Egg Harbor’s Aidin Hendriks ran 1:54.79, Eric Barnes 1:55.70 and Robert Dessoye 1:55.98 to place 2nd, 3rd and 4th on their home track.

The winner of that race was Malual Mu of Trenton, whose younger sister Athing is the Olympic 800 champion.


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