Activist state

Cherry Hill East senior Oliver Adler a community activist, state champion

Oliver Adler’s teachers often joke that the Cherry Hill East High School senior has to learn to take a break.

The 18-year-old is adamant, even if he understands where they are coming from.

Taking his family vacation to China last year.

As he focused on a new country and a new culture, he also made a point of training for the impending cross country and track campaigns.

“Eleven at night, 6-7 am, family still asleep, I would get on the treadmill and go 11 miles, 10 miles,” he said. “At the time, that was the most mileage I had covered in a week. I’m in the 70s. It seemed a little silly to go all the way to China and run in the 70s in miles on the treadmill.

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Adler insists on getting every minute of every day, and with everything on her plate, you can see why.

He’s a class president, a Harvard student, a member of the NJSIAA Student and Athlete Advisory Council, state champion runner, and has learned Mandarin outside of school for about seven years.

That’s why those same teachers who say he needs to “relax” also call him “special”.

“I am blessed to work at Cherry Hill East,” said track coach Anthony Maniscalco. “I think a lot of the students are incredibly motivated and some are incredibly spectacular students, but Oliver, I mean …”

“He will be POTUS someday,” described sporting director Mike Beirao.

If that’s what Adler ultimately wants, you better have no doubts about him. He has proven time and time again that he will achieve whatever he thinks about.

He was a loud voice against the the policy proposed by the district last year that would only have allowed tuna sandwiches to some students with overdue accounts.

He also went to the blackboard to try and add Mandarin to the curriculum, which it did.

Then there is his growth as a runner.

He played basketball in his first and second years and reportedly did so as a junior as well, but after a few days he decided he wanted to invest more time in his running.

That winter, he had finished second in the 3,200 meters in the South Jersey Group 4 indoor meet and had a chance to win the state title before being disqualified late for knocking out Ethan Wechsler of Cherokee. .

“After a loss like this last year… I felt compelled to keep going the miles and give them everything I had,” said Adler.

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He was exhausted in the spring after having had his first winter season on the track, but he still managed to finish second behind Wechsler in the 3,200 in sections.

He made sure that didn’t happen again during the summer by going over 70 miles a week.

“It’s definitely rare,” Maniscalco said. “… You average about 10 miles a day, you may need to run twice a day several times a week. It is not always doable for everyone. It is not always advisable in terms of preventing injuries and so on.

It paid off for Adler though.

During cross country last fall, he was third in sections, fourth in the United States and fifth in Meet the Champions.

Oliver Adler, senior of Cherry Hill East, runs during a cross country meet.  He finished fifth at the Champions Meeting last fall.

Then came the indoor season, where he finally got the best of Wechsler by winning the South Jersey and Group 4 championships, with the state crown coming from a race almost identical to last year.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Winning the section title was crazy for me to have lost so many times to this guy, and the next week come back and see the race go really similar and be so close at the end and have a different result. was really sweet. Even a month later, that victory still settles for me.

Adler believes his competitive spirit comes from his parents, John and Shelley.

John adler was a New Jersey state senator and served a term in the United States House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011, but was unexpectedly passed in April 2011 due to complications from a staph infection at following heart surgery.

Shelly was also in politics as a Cherry Hill city councilor and also ran for convention in 2012.

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“They were just fierce and fierce competitors, and I think I go back to my father’s last days in his life and in politics, the elections he faced (2010) for the seat of Congress when he was incumbent. He always felt like he had a relentless will to try to win because he had those ideals in mind, ”said Oliver. “He wanted to help people so badly that he was going to do whatever he could to try to win, whatever was reasonable. He just had such motivation, so did my mom. Their willingness to help people and their willingness to do what is right.

Adler has followed in their footsteps, from the tuna sandwich issue to his work as an ambassador for the NJSIAA where he helped create an Officials Appreciation Week and fought for extended breaks outside. seasons.

“He and my mother instilled in me a love for my community and a love for what my community has given me,” said Oliver.

Those around Adler have no doubts that he will bring this mindset to Harvard, where he will study politics and also have the chance to present himself, thanks to his leading campaign.

It relieves the pain of losing the chance to race at the New Balance Nationals Indoors or Penn Relay, both of which were canceled due to the coronavirus.

“He’s sure to be involved in as many activities, clubs and organizations as he does in Cherry Hill East. I know that for a fact, ”said Maniscalco. “I know he has the maturity and the intellect to balance these things. I know he will make his years at Harvard an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience.

► Hats off to Cherry Hill East seniors this season: long-distance runners Adler, Paul Bruce, Maxwell Haught and Khalil Kwok, sprinters James Cirillo, Harry Green, Anthony Mathis, Obinna Okorie and Joshua Thomas, jumper / sprinter Ryan Klinger, pitchers Omar Raja and Christian Torres and pole vaulter Lucas Tran.

“Our program is so big, we have over 100 boys a year, there are three coaches, the coaches rely so much on these seniors to be good role models, good leaders in the team and these seniors, they are invaluable.” , said Maniscalco. . “They direct their actions and I just think of some of the kids in my head, whether it’s leading stretches, doing core work, these are the kids everyone admires and respects. Every year you have this unease in your stomach, next year will we have the same great leadership? With such a large team, you need it. I know how instrumental they are in our program.

Josh Friedman has produced award-winning sports coverage of South Jersey for the Courier Post and the Daily Journal for over a decade. If you have or know an interesting story to tell, contact us on Twitter at @ JFriedman57 or by email at [email protected] You can also contact him at 856-486-2431. Help support local journalism with a Courier Post subscription.