Peyton Shute Runs Meet Record At Cherokee Challenge

Interview with Peyton Shute after his record setting day at Cherokee.

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Beautiful weather and stacked teams made the annual season opening Cherokee Challenge another great event in 2022.

Record Setting Day For Shute!

Peyton Shute of Gateway/Woodbury torched the 3200m course with a meet record 9:24.49 to win the junior boys race. His performance took down Shawn Wilson's long standing 9:26 from his senior year in 2012. 

Matthew Littlehales of Delsea Regional won his freshmen class race with a 10:12.55, returning off his middle school race win last fall at this same meet. In the senior division Cherokee saw a home team win thanks to Patrick Ditmars and his 9:42.35, the second fastest time of the day.

Westfield Boys Dominate In Opener

The sophomore division was won by Ryan Daly of Westfield at 10:02.09 and this was just the preview to a loaded junior race for Westfield shortly after led by teammates Avery Keith, 9:42.71, Tage Mehta, 9:59.94, Jimmy Gildea, 10:01.96, and Graham Korins, 10:02.45. 

Add in Westfield's Jonathan, Scalia, Eamon Mason, and Daniel Cortese and the Blue Devils finished with eight boys in the top 21 times of the 1,000 plus who competed at the meet.

Cherokee Challenge Merge Leaders - Full Merge Here

1Westfield HS643+13+15+16+17 (18+19)19.749:57.83
2Ridge HS1338+22+27+33+43 (105+115)33.0410:12.50
3Southern Regional HS2185+28+46+67+72 (155+167)1:01.8210:25.88

When unofficially combining and scoring all the Cherokee Challenge class races the NJ No. 4 ranked Westfield boys averaged a 9:57.83 among their top five performers splitting just under 20 seconds between them. Their merge score better than halved the next best team's total!

Jessica Abbott after her fiery start in the freshmen Cherokee Challenge race.

Rising Stars Shining Once Again

The girls high school events kicked off with an 11:38.67 by Jessica Abbott to win the freshmen class 3200m race. By the end of the meet the Toms River North star was ranked second overall against the 658 times recorded on the girls side. Abbott won the middle school division at this meet in 2021 and has plenty of experience at the youth competition level.

Abbott dedicated her race to the late Bob Petruski who passed away last June. Abbott noted that he gave her and many others a great start to their running experience as a coach. Petruski had a long and positive involvement with the sport as a competitor, a coach, and even in retirement as an ever present NJSIAA meet official.

The fastest time of the day on the girls side came from Robbinsville junior Melina Johnston who clocked an 11:35.21 to cross the finish nearly 26 seconds ahead of her competition. Johnston had a breakout track season in 2022 and dropped about 50 seconds from her 3200m time last fall at the Cherokee Challenge with this performance!

Liliah Gordon of Northern Burlington, who made her name known quickly as a freshmen breakout star last fall, brought home the sophomore race victory at 11:41.54. 

The senior race saw Atlantic City's Madeline Dischert bring home her first cross country victory at an invitational with an 11:51. 

Note it was originally reported in this article that Abigail Waddington won the senior race, however after a course violation DQ was overturned post-meet two girls within the top five have been reinstated including the race winner Dischert. 

Clearview Regional Leads All Teams In Merge

Abigail Waddington finished second in the senior race running 12:05.58 leading a 12:29.36 top five average on the day by the Clearview girls. Outscoring the Pennsylvania visitors Conestoga HS 115 points to 191 in the meet merge.

Along with Waddington her teammates Margaret Wisniewski, 12:32.51, Abigail Kotran, 12:32.99, Allison Roes, 12:37.10, and Aubrey Donahue, 12:38.63, all finished within the top 33 performers.

Cherokee Challenge Merge Leaders - Full Merge Here

1Clearview Reg. HS1157+23+25+29+31 (77+204)33.0512:29.36
2Conestoga19116+24+32+50+69 (75+86)57.512:45.61
3Egg Harbor Twp HS2578+13+33+79+124 (181+209)1:56.7112:54.04

Middle School Races Provided Record Fast Performances

Outside of the high school action Ryan Duffy of Kingsway MS won the boys middle school division with a 7:18.37 over the 2400m course. That effort led three others under the previous meet record of 7:38 including Gavin Oliver of Saint Joseph MS, Benjamin Realley of Marlton MS, and his teammate Jack Tindall

Th girls division was won by Izzy Meth of Lawrence MS clocked at 8:39.75 after a hard fought finish with Isabella Suarez of Camden Track Club who was right behind at 8:40.88.