This past Friday talented teams from Burlington County toed the line at Mill Creek Park in Willingboro, NJ. After the dust settled the Cherokee boys and girls had swept the team titles and a course record had been broken by Austin Gabay of Cinnaminson after a big-time battle with Cherokee's Ethan Wechsler.
For the boys of Cherokee this is their sixth straight title. The win came through the low 20 point run the squad put together claiming places second through sixth with a 16:33 average. Ethan Wechsler started the wave of orange with his silver medal 15:44, Chase Miller third 16:40, then Brett Shea 16:45, Tyler Jackson 16:48, and Michael Gavio 16:50.
Wechsler's second place run came after a dual with the eventual winner Austin Gabay. The Cinnaminson senior won the race running 15:40 setting a course record that went back 17 years to Cherokee's Keith Krieger who won back in 2002 with a 15:43. Both Gabay and Wechsler ran together most of the race until Gabay put the jets on to close out.
For Gabay this was the second straight Burlington County Open title and a major rematch with Wechsler from last year when they were separated by just over a second.
Also cracking the top ten in this race was Shawnee's William in seventh at 17:03 followed by teammate John Ruona 17:06, Rancocas Valley's Andre Faigal 17:08, and Lenape Regional's Matt Richardson 17:11.
On the girls side there was a showdown between Cherokee and Shawnee, in the end Cherokee broke Shawnee's six year win streak with a score of 39 to 49.
|1||Cherokee HS||39||1+2+9+10+17 (20+21)||2:35 1-5 Split | 20:02 Avg|
|2||Shawnee HS||49||3+4+5+12+25 (42+45)||2:58 1-5 Split | 20:08 Avg|
Cherokee struck first with a 1-2 finish by Kate Rathman, 18:46, and Nicole Clifford, 18:58. Shawnee mounted an early comeback claiming third through fifth thanks to freshman Kate Ruona, 18:59, two-time Burlington Champion Isabella Turner, 19:21, and Claire Hauser, 19:28.
But it wasn't enough as Cherokee's third, Alyssa Blackmon, and fourth, Kelsey Niglio, broke the top ten and their fifth runner, Kayla McAdams, claimed 17th. This was Cherokee's first title since 2010.
For Rathman this is the second straight win at this meet and third straight top two finish.
Also making the top ten individually was Seneca's Emma Klouchek in sixth at 20:09, Cinnaminson's Brooke Adams in seventh with 20:13, and Northern Burlington's Keira Mansure in eighth 20:23.