Splashing to the Finish

Top, Thunder Mountain’s Khalil English leads the pack across the railroad tracks at the start as Skagway’s Airk Cocran, fifth from left, moves up; middle left, Al Weber leads a group past the airport terminal to the Yakutania Park footbridge; middle right, Trevor Cox, second from left, shows good form on Alaska Street; and bottom, Jake Grieser kicks his way to the finish line on the Dyea Road after running up the big hill, and Cochran crosses in third place overall and first in the small schools division. Jeff Brady

Cochran leads small school pack in Skagway meet

Regionals in Juneau Sept. 22

By JEFF BRADY

 Skagway senior Airk Cochran keeps impressing his cross country coach.
In his three meets so far, Cochran has easily landed in the top 10 among small school finishers, topping it off with a win in the 1A-2A-3A boys’ division at home in the rain on Sept. 7.
Cochran tried to keep pace with overall race winner Khalil English of Juneau’s 4A Thunder Mountain and was in second place before he hit the Yakutania Point hill. After the finish, Cochran said Thunder Mountain’s James Steeves passed him on the hill.
English finished in 18 minutes, 23.47 seconds. Steeves’ time was 19:00:36 and Cochran was right behind him at 19:05.67. The next 1A-2A-3A runners were Ryan Morse of Sitka, Cory Piper of Haines, and Cole Johnson of Mt. Edgecumbe.
Cochran is definitely a threat for the Southeast region medal stand, despite running on a sore knee. In Sitka on Aug. 25, he finished second among small school runners to Craig’s Will Brand, and in Petersburg on Sept. 1 he was fifth behind Brand, Samuel Rew of Klawock, Piper, and Darin Davis of Sitka. Cochran then beat the latter two in Skagway.
“I've really been impressed with Airk both as a runner and a leader this year,” said Skagway coach Kent Fielding. “As far as Friday's race (in Skagway), his knee has been sore so I wasn't sure how hard he could take that hill, but obviously he ran it well. It's been a good year for him.”
Fielding added that he was also impressed with Trevor Cox, who finished 13th among small school runners in the home meet with a time of 20:52:75. The top 15 runners in the upcoming region meet will qualify for the state meet.
“Trevor Cox is the best freshman runner I've had since Mickey Wilson,” Fielding said. “He works extremely hard in practice and he might have a shot at state in Juneau. He's been finishing in the top 13-17 (1A-2A-3A) in every race.”
Fielding also noted that Jake Grieser broke his personal record (PR) on the home course by about two minutes with his time of 25:23.64.
Skagway’s only female runner, Al Weber, also had an exceptional race, her coach noted, finishing with a time of 28:13.01.
“She really surprised me the way she ran that hill,” Fielding said. “I half expected to see her walking and she ran by me looking strong and confident. I expect her to run a PR in Juneau.”
The girls’ race in Skagway was won by Thunder Mountain sophomore sensation Madeline Hall in 21:07.88, followed by teammate Naomi Welling in 21:54.23 and the top 1A-2A-3A runner, Zayla Asquith-Heinz of Haines in 22:25.27.
Thunder Mountain won both team titles in the Skagway race. Skagway will not be eligible for team scoring at regionals in Juneau, as it does not have a full team of five runners.
The small schools will not run with the 4A teams at the region or state meets later this month. The regional race will be held at Thunder Mountain’s course in the Mendenhall valley. Start times for the 1A-2A-3A races are 10:30 a.m. for the girls and 12 noon for the boys.
Skagway’s three junior high harriers – Colton Belisle, Rebecca Hollander, and Sahara Kilic – will be in a regional middle school race on Sept. 20 that starts at 3:30 p.m.
The state meet is at Bartlett High School in Anchorage on Sept. 29.

Links to results from all meets this season to date (pdf files):

Sitka ResultsPetersburg ResultsSkagway Girls ResultsSkagway Boys Results

Team sports thinner this year
Due to the loss of varsity-aged students, the Skagway School will be offering two less activities for its students this year.
Girls’ volleyball and girls’ basketball will not be part of the 2012-2013 roster, said activities director Cindy O’Daniel.
There was a little interest among students for a co-ed “mixed 6” volleyball team, she said, but not enough.
O’Daniel also added that the boys basketball team will be co-ed, giving any eligible girls the chance to participate.
The cross country season is already underway, and wrestling will start later this month.
Boys basketball will begin in December and boys and girls track will start in April. – KE