Track : Walk-on Covington earning time after not planning to play
Typically it takes athletes a few weeks to warm up before they reach their peak performance levels – not track and field sprinter Aulton Kohn.
The two-time defending Big East champion Kohn opened the inaugural meet of the 2006-2007 indoor track season better than he ever has in his prolific career, setting a IC4A-qualifying time of 6.70 seconds in the 60-meter dash on Saturday at the Cornell Relays. SU’s track and field team is idle until Jan. 12, when the Orange hosts the Syracuse Welcome Back.
Kohn’s performance was his personal best in the 60-meter race and earned him an NCAA provisional mark. His time of 6.70 seconds is just .01 seconds shy of the school record set by Samuel Okantey in 1999. One of Kohn’s personal goals this season is to break Okantey’s mark.
‘First off, I want to repeat as Big East indoor champion and as IC4A indoor champion,’ Kohn said. ‘I really want to go to the NCAA (championship). Right now I’m on the list. That time (6.70 seconds) will not get me into the actual meet. I always wanted to break (the record) since sophomore year.’
Kohn has already experienced success during his athletic career. As a sophomore he set Big East and Carrier Dome records in the 60-meter dash. Last season, he became the university’s fastest ever 200-meter sprinter at the IC4A Championship.
Sprinting and hurdling coach Dave Hegland said it’s too early to determine whether Kohn will make nationals, but he is pleased with Kohn’s quick start.
‘Certainly that was a pretty fast opener,’ Hegland said. ‘There’s not many people that run that fast their first race. The last two years he’s been probably the best guy. So the better he can do individually the more points he scores for the team.’
Hegland attributes much of Kohn’s success to his work ethic. He said Kohn has made significant strides since last season.
‘He’s come in and worked really hard this fall,’ Hegland said of Kohn. ‘He’s probably here at Manley as much as anybody. He’s in the training room all the time taking care of little stuff.’
Kohn had to rehab an injury this off-season. To overcome the injury, Kohn pulled a sled three days a week during the summer. Additionally, he increased the amount of weight he was lifting. Both have paid major dividends, as Kahn said he’s considerably stronger than last year.
‘Just the help that they’ve given him and the commitment he’s put into staying healthy and doing all the little stuff that it takes to be great,’ Hegland said. ‘The faster you get, after a high level like he’s at, it’s all those little things that separate good from great, and I think he’s made a commitment to doing all the little things.’
Despite the lengthy layoff before the Syracuse Welcome Back, Hegland said he’s confident the team will continue to work hard over the break.
‘The big thing just for them is to go home and work hard and maintain what they’ve done to this point and not take a month off,’ Hegland said. ‘And they’re all real. They all work hard. They all want to be great, so it’s not an issue.’
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