Airk Cochran, front left, charges up the hill at the start of the regional cross country race. Jeff Brady
Airk Cochran earns trip to State
By JEFF BRADY
JUNEAU – Skagway High senior Airk Cochran will represent Skagway at this weekend’s ASAA State Cross Country Meet in Anchorage. Cochran finished in eighth place at the 1A-2A-3A regional meet on Sept. 22.
Cochran bolted to the front pack as the runners climbed the grassy knoll from the Sandy Beach starting line in Douglas, and then led the race for the first mile.
That wasn’t quite the plan, said coach Kent Fielding, noting that the top runners from Craig and Klawock had strong finishing kicks.
“Airk ended up leading, which was good – he took it,” Fielding said. “Sometimes in big races you have to act spontaneously.”
After posting a 5:17 time after the first mile, Cochran tried to hold the lead on the three loops of the historic Treadmill Mine trail. But the Skagway senior said the two hills on that part of the course were tough. His five-second lead over Craig’s William Brand didn’t last.
“He zoomed past me on one of the downhills,” Cochran said of Brand, who won the race going away in a time of 17:42.04.
Coach Kent Fielding marks Al Weber’s progress as she tries to catch a Metlakatla runner, and he dad Bruce and some of the Skagway boys cheer Al on at the finish. Jeff Brady
Fielding said Cochran was in third after the second mile, and had dropped to fifth going into the final 600-yard stretch back to Sandy Beach, with runners on his tail. Three passed him, and more were threatening as he descended the knoll to the finish, but Cochran stayed ahead of that last bunch to earn his first trip to State in cross country. His eighth place time was 18:37.50 for 3.2 miles.
“It was pretty challenging,” Cochran said. “I definitely thought I would have a better time, but I’m just excited I did well enough to go on up to State.”
Fielding said Cochran did well, considering this was his first full year of cross country. His only race last year was a 30th place finish at regionals, but it got him interested in running, and by track season he was one of the top runners in the region in distance races, ultimately winning Southeast titles in the 1600- and 3200-meter finals.
Cochran said he is not concerned with placement at State this weekend.
“I’d just like to PR (personal record) on that course,” he said.
It’s another tough one with lots of hills, Fielding said of the course near Bartlett High School, but they will walk it on Friday to prepare for the big race on Saturday.
“We will talk about how to read hills, where to speed up and slow down,” Fielding said. “He’ll run the best race he can and see what happens.”
Jake Grieser, left, and Trevor Cox run strong for the finish. Jeff Brady
Skagway’s younger racers all finished their seasons at the regional race in Juneau.
Freshman Trevor Cox, Skagway’s other hope for State, had a strong first mile, Fielding said, but some breathing issues with a cold slowed him the rest of the way. He finished 41st in 20:28.62.
“It was not his best race, but he is just a freshman and has plenty of races left,” Fielding said.
Jake Grieser, still troubled by a sore foot, “ran through it” and finished 71st in 28:27.55.
In the girls’ race, Al Weber was 42nd in 28:46.84. Fielding said she was right on target early in the race with a strong first mile, but the hills also bothered her.
“I wish I would have done better,” Weber said. “But I tried my best. I managed to keep up with the one girl I wanted to keep up with so I’m happy.”
Fielding said it was just Weber’s third race ever, and after the race they talked about how to deal with hills and approach them better next year. He said that she worked hard in practice and he was satisfied with her first year.
Fielding said he hopes to get more girls and boys running next year. A couple of younger Panthers were in the D-Z middle school race last week.
Rebecca Hollander breaks to the head of the pack in the middle school race, and eighth grader Colton Belisle finishes. Klas Stolpe
Rebecca Hollander was 10th overall and third among sixth grade racers with a time of 14:14.99 over just less than two miles. In the boys’ race, Colton Belisle was 13th overall and eighth among grade 8 racers with a time of 12:19.28.
“They both ran well and I’m looking forward to working with them next year,” Fielding said.
Complete results from all races are posted on the News website.
The high school athletes now turn their focus to wrestling. Practice started on Monday. There will be a preview of the season in the next issue.
UPDATE: Cochran finished 27th at the State meet. See State XC Results and report in Oct. 12 issue.
Links to results from all meets this season to date (pdf files):
CRAZY AS A BOX OF ROCKS
Results from the Box of Rocks run/hike to the Upper Dewey Lake cabin on Sept. 23, 2012: 1. Sarah 53:40 (WOW), 2. Matt 57:00, 3. Bobbi 1:15, Dustin 1:15 and Annie 1:15, 4. Kirk (BEST IN SHOW) 1:18, 5. Jason 1:20 (note: fired immediately after race for beating Korsmo), Davis 1:20, and Brendan 1:20, 6. Bruce "I gotta beat Korsmo" Weber 1:22, 7. Taylor 1:26, and Kyle 1:26, 8. Mike Konsler 1:31, Paul "What happened to all the refreshments?" Reichert 1:31, 9. Mike Korsmo 1:32, 10. Val 1:34, 11. Alexis 1:45, 12. Karen 1:47, 13. Wendy and Shanti (top canine) 1:55, Tess and Chad 1:55, 14. Sharri 1:59 and Rhiannon 1:59, 15. Sam and Tamar 2:04, Ashlei 2:04, and Terra 2:04, 16. Sayre 2:08, 17. Lisa 2:10, 18. Jo and Carol 2:14, 19. Stew 2:28, 20. Katie 2:30, 21. Nicki HBDC, and 21. Tim Fairbanks, LAST TO CABIN. Sorry if I missed anyone, the spirits took over in the end! – M. KORSMO
Photo by Sherry Corrington