A three-sport athlete is not a strange commodity in this generation of high school athletics.
But it’s rare when someone takes on the challenge of participating in five varsity sports in a single school year.
Washburn freshman Carsyn Koch fits that lofty status, and it’s a safe bet she has run more miles over the course of the year than anyone else who will compete in Saturday’s Class C track and field championships in Bath.
“Every season it just goes right from one sport to the next,” said Koch, who has participated in and earned letters in varsity soccer, cross country, basketball, track and softball throughout the year.
Good thing she has a lot of energy.
“I don’t really (rest),” Koch admitted. “From cross country and soccer right to basketball (and) right to track.”
Koch will be one of many Eastern Maine track athletes chasing team and individual glory this weekend, with the Class A teams competing at Windham and the Class B schools at Cony High in Augusta.
All three meets will start at 10 a.m.
Koch’s freshman year has been filled with championship success, as she was the Class C state champ in cross country, and subsequently helped lead Washburn’s girls basketball team to its first Class D state championship in 22 years this winter.
“I’m happy that we were able to get both cross country and track started in the same year,” Koch said. “It’s really good that my school supports this.”
Washburn fielded a cross country team for the first time last fall, and started an outdoor track team this spring, with a total of 11 boys and girls participating.
“I was very happy with the numbers that we had,” said Washburn coach Sean Diette.
Koch will be singling in the 1600-meter run on Saturday, where she’s seeded second with a time of 5 minutes, 27.74 seconds, behind Maranacook of Readfield standout Abby Mace (5:21.73).
Both runners have contrasting experience on this stage when it comes to running, as Mace won all three distance races at the Class C state meet last year, but both she and Koch possess similar running styles.
“That’s one thing is I know I can sprint at the end,” Koch said. “If I get a good start and I think if I run my race smart and stay with her I’ll be able to catch her at the end.”
Washburn doesn’t have a track at its high school, but the Beavers were able to practice at Caribou a couple times a week over the course of the season.
“Caribou was very welcoming and they let us borrow a few implements for some of our throwers and hurdlers,” said Diette.
Koch’s role on the basketball court was a defensive specialist, and it was her quickness on both ends of the floor that helped fuel Washburn’s title run on the hardwood.
The confrontations Koch faces in basketball and soccer are different to those found in cross country in track, but that doesn’t make her any less competitive.
“There’s competition in running but it’s nothing like face to face competition like it is in basketball and soccer,” she said.
Koch also excelled in the 800 this spring, but chose to focus solely on the 1600 for the state meet.
“I do like sprinting but the mile is less of a sprint and it’s easy to sort of feel out your competition in a longer race,” Koch said.
Diette feels that Koch has an excellent chance at a personal record running against Mace.
“In races up here she hasn’t had a whole lot of similar competition to really push her along,” he said. “I’m very excited for the race this weekend to see what she has in there.”
No matter what happens after Koch completes her four laps around Morse High School’s eight-lane oval, the achievements of Washburn’s athletic programs throughout the year are paramount to her.
“There are lot of younger kids that are really excited that we have these programs now,” said Koch, referring to the cross country and track teams.
In the team ranks, perennial power John Bapst of Bangor is the girls’ team favorite, while Orono and Traip Academy of Kittery are the chief competitors, and the Red Riots should be in contention in the boys’ meet.
Class A: The Bonny Eagle, Scarborough and Cheverus girls and Bonny Eagle boys are looming as team favorites, but both Bangor and Brewer will showcase plenty of talented individuals.
Among them are the Rams’ Denae Johnson and Grace Maclean, who are seeded 1-3 in the 100 hurdles, and both are ranked in the top six in the 300’s as well.
Johnson, a sophomore, is the reigning state champion in the 100’s.
Maclean is also a threat in the high jump while Tiffany Gray will be in the mix in the triple jump.
Bangor also features pole vault talent in Anna Hayden and Morgan Johnson, and the Rams could be right up there in the team ranks if their top athletes hold or exceed their seeds.
Brewer sophomore Teal Jackson will headline what should be some exceptional sprint races, and she’s the top seed in the 400.
Jackson, who will also run the 100 and 200, is among three runners who have broken a minute in the 400. Maria Curit of Biddeford and Emily Tolman of Scarborough are the others.
For the boys, Tristan Wortman of Brewer is the No. 2 man in the pole vault at 13 feet, 6 inches, while teammate Ray Bessette should battle for a medal in the high jump.
Class B: The Waterville girls and boys are the team favorites here, as the girls are the defending state champions while the boys finished third last season.