By Tim Morris |
RED BANK – Charlotte Cochrane and the Red Bank Regional girls cross country team are off to a fast start.
After having very promising results during the invitational part of the season, the Bucs started October off with a pair of big championship wins.
The Bucs won the Shore Conference “A” Central Division title on Oct. 4 at Holmdel Park and followed that up with an impressive win at the New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational on Oct. 7 back at Holmdel.
“It was a really big goal,” Cochrane said of the division win. “We wanted to get the division title back.”
RBR moved to “A” Central in 2016 and, after winning division crowns the previous two seasons, were beaten out for the division by powerful Rumson-Fair Haven.
That didn’t sit well with the Bucs and they were determined to turn the tables this fall and they did, beating RFH, 21-34. Cochrane finished first overall. The Bucs wrapped up with a win with Catherine Wimmer, Claudia Kelly and Christina Wichman finishing 3-4-5. Jacqueline Prestininzi completed the scoring in eighth place.
Cochrane pointed out that the win could “propel us from here. I’m optimistic.”
The division title pushed RBR to the win at the Shore Coaches meet in the Varsity “C” race. Cochrane (20:09) and Wimmer (20:38) went 4-8 for the Bucs. Kelly (21:03) and Wichman (21:12) went 12-13 and Prestininzi (22:11) closed the scoring out in 26th place.
RBR’s 62 points easily bested Indian Hills (101). “We have a good team dynamic,” said Cochrane, who is a senior.
Bucs’ head coach Christopher Desiere said that what was most promising about the wins was the fact that the team is getting healthy at the right time.
“More importantly we had some girls coming off injury that gained confidence with good times that they can build off of for bigger races at the end of the season,” he pointed out.
Desiere said that the focus at RBR is getting better each day and that the team has added more strength training designed to help them improve as the season progresses and be stronger in November. Results thus far would seem to point to the Bucs heading in the right direction.
Making the Meet of Champions as a team is the biggest goal he added
Cochrane, herself, has some pretty lofty goals as well. She’d like to finish the season as one of the best harriers in the state. She made the MOC last fall, finishing 36th, and wants to get back there this year, hopefully, with her teammates.
Now a senior, Cochrane believes she has learned what it takes to be successful. There is no shortcut.
“It’s a really big commitment, a really big sacrifice,” she pointed out.
The commitment and sacrifice goes beyond just workouts. It includes eating right and getting the proper amount of sleep and recovery from exercise. “I’m putting more emphasis on recovery,” she said.
Cochrane tried other sports (gymnastics and lacrosse), but it was her freshman year with the cross country team that she discovered her sport.
“I fell in love with running,” she said. Cross country running in particular.
“I definitely love this sport,” she said. “I love the team aspect of it.”
When Cochrane joined the Bucs that freshman season she was stepping into a program with a winning culture. The team would win division crowns her freshman and sophomore years.
Those teams were led by Lauren Sapone, who would go on to win the county-conference double her senior year.
“She (Sapone) was a really good role model to have,” Cochrane noted. “I couldn’t have had a better one.” Cochrane learned about leadership from the seniors on those early teams. Now, it’s her turn to take the baton and keep the winning going and she’s proven she’s ready.
To achieve her goal of making the MOC again, Cochrane worked harder than ever in the summer.
“I really liked doing a lot of mileage over the summer,” she said. “I worked on my endurance and strength. I want to finish stronger this year. Making the MOC was special last year.”
Cochrane is running her races over the 5K cross country distance differently this year which has her running faster.
“I was into running negative splits (faster over the second half of a race) before,” she explained. “I’m running more even splits, going out and running the first half of the race faster.”
One that hasn’t changed is her approach to racing.
“You have to give everything you have,” she said. “My best race is when I know I have given my all.”
That ‘all’ has taken her near the top of her sport.
This article was first published in the Oct. 12-19, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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