CUMBERLAND, Maine — There was little doubt Carsyn Koch was going to win the girls Class C cross country individual championship Saturday.
The Washburn District High School senior already was a three-time state titlist in the race, and no new threats had emerged during the 2013 season.
But that didn’t mean the race was without trepidation from within for the multisport standout, who also has helped Washburn win the last three Class D girls basketball state crowns as well as the state cross country championship last fall.
Koch also has returned to the school’s soccer team this fall after taking a year off, and she won state Class C individual titles in the 100 dash and high jump while placing second in the 200 during outdoor track last spring — a year after she won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the state meet.
“There absolutely was pressure there,” said Koch after becoming one of the few girls runners in Maine cross country history to win four straight state titles with her time of 20 minutes, 24.79 seconds over the hilly, 3.1-mile Twin Brook Recreation Area course.
“I chose not to play soccer last year and I was just miserable without it, so this year I decided to play again and my immediate thought was, what if I can’t win [in cross country] again, what if I can’t do what I did before, what if I get hurt? There were always things like that so there was immense pressure.”
That internal pressure even showed itself during the run-up to states.
“In the Eastern Maine races I’ve never felt too, too much pressure,” she said. “But this year at both Eastern Maines and states I was totally worked up before the races because this was my last chance for everything and I wanted to run as well as I could.”
Not to worry. Koch won her regional by 28 seconds over talented Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln freshman Tia Tardy, then bested Hannah Austin of North Yarmouth Academy by 17 seconds at states.
“It just means a lot of hard work and a lot of diligence and discipline have come together in making sure I’m getting my runs in and balancing it with my schoolwork,” said Koch of her accomplishment. “It means so much to me to have been able to do this and to be here today.”
The day was not without mixed emotions for Koch, whose Washburn team lost a close battle for the team championship to Orono by two points.
“It’s bittersweet, definitely, but I couldn’t be more proud of the girls and how hard everyone has worked to get here,” Koch said. “Second place isn’t too shabby.”
The Beavers willl get another chance at championship glory this week.
Koch and most of the other Washburn runners also are members of the school’s soccer team, which will host No. 2 Ashland for the Eastern D title at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Both the top-ranked Beavers and second-ranked Ashland are 15-1 and the teams split their two regular-season meetings. Ashland won 5-0 at Washburn on Sept. 9 and Washburn reversed that outcome 10 days later with a 7-0 victory at Ashland.