Cherokee Sweeps Burlington County Team And Individual Titles

Full Results | Photos (Coming Soon)

WESTAMPTON - Run with a teammate, use a measured strategy and break away at the end.

Cherokee's Nico Grilli and Nicole Clifford followed similar paths to their respective victories at the Burlington County Open on Saturday.

Grilli ran with teammate Brett Shea, who took second, as the front four runners in the boys race broke free during the first lap around the Rancocas Valley Athletic Complex.

Around the two-mile mark, Grilli broke free from Shea and took the individual race victory.

"Our plan was to let them take it out, latch on," Grilli said. "We knew we were in good shape. We wanted to wait until later in the race to make that move. We executed that pretty well and came out with a county win."    

Shea finished in second 13 seconds behind Grilli and seven seconds ahead of Shawnee's John Ruona in third place.    

"I think it's going to give us some confidence going forward and at the sectional meet too," Grilli said. "We're fit and in pretty good shape. When we go up against Cherry Hill and all them at sectionals, I feel like we're going to be in a spot to do well."    

Grilli and Shea helped the Chiefs earn their seventh team title in a row and 20th in the past 26 years at the Burlington County Open.   

"It means a lot to keep the tradition going and I know it means a lot to our coaches," Shea said.

Clifford and Kerry O'Day led a dominant performance in the girls race to complete the Cherokee sweep of the individual and team titles. It was the second straight title for Cherokee and its fifth overall.

The Cherokee teammates paced each other for most of the race before Clifford broke free in the closing stretch.

 "We came into today trying to work on packing together and sticking together as long as possible. It made the race a lot easier running together," said Clifford, second last year. "It's so much easier when you are running with a teammate and you have someone there to encourage each other and work well off each other."   

"We were together really until the last 200. That was the plan to stick together," Clifford said.   

O'Day cruised into a second-place finish behind Clifford and was one of four Chiefs to finish in the top five.

"We just had to stick together and work off each other," O'Day said. "The plan was to see how we fell and run our own races."

Cinnaminson's Stephanie Renouf was the only non-Cherokee girl to place in the top five in third.   

In the boys race, RV's Andre Faigal took fourth and Moorestown's Paul Kresloff landed in fifth.

Boys Top 15 Finishers

Girls Top 10 Finishers