Braves athlete enjoys track, cross-country

For The Tribune

Track and field has become a family affair at Brownstown Central this spring for the Kochs.

Derrick Koch is head coach of the boys track team this spring, while his daughters, Alexis and Emily, are members of the girls team.

Alexis said she got into running because of her father.

She began competing in both sports in middle school and has been running ever since.

She has been a distance runner throughout her track career and said she will probably run the mile and two-mile again this spring.

“I like the two-mile because I’ve always liked distance more, so I always feel like I have more time to catch up to the next person, and that gives me stamina,” Koch said. “But when you’re running track it’s circle after circle. It can be boring sometimes.”

Koch said she is hoping to break six minutes in the mile this spring.

Her best time in the two-mile has been in the mid-13s.

She also will run the 3,200 relay. She helped that team advance to the regional her freshman year.

Koch recalled earlier in her career she ran the 800 and the two-mile in the same meet.

“Between those there is only the 200 sprint, so I was really out of breath in that one,” Koch said. “It just happened one time, and it wasn’t that bad.”

She said she wants to establish new personal records in both individual events.

Koch moved into the top seven in cross-country her freshman year and helped that team qualify for semistate.

She also helped the Braves advance to semistate her junior year, received two most valuable awards and was All-Mid-Southern Conference her sophomore year.

“My dad has been a cross-country coach for as long as I can remember, so I always ran with the high school girls and I was super excited to start in middle school,” Koch said.

The senior’s career-best was 21:52 at Brown County.

The Braves ran on muddy courses several times the past four years.

“This past year was the first year I had spikes, so it helped a lot,” Koch said. “It was really frustrating when you were running through that much mud. It seemed like you were not moving, but at the end of the day it was kind of fun.”

Koch said a good start was a key to having a good finish, and the middle mile was always the hardest to keep up the pace.

“I tried to get out fast so I wasn’t caught in the back group,” Koch said. “I usually had a time that I wanted to get at the first mile, and that kind of depended on the year. I always thought about catching the next runner. ‘Pick them off one at a time’ I would always tell myself. That was probably my main goal when I was running.”

She said her highlight race in cross-country came during her sophomore year in the Brown County Sectional.

“That was the year I got my PR, and I remember turning into the finish and I just gave it everything I had,” Koch said. “I could see the time counting up. I wanted to get my PR and I did. It was awesome.”

Koch said she and a group of BCHS athletes ran all winter to stay in shape.

“We have small group that gets together. We call it ‘The Polar Bear Club,’ and we usually run all winter,” Koch said. “I’d say practice is one of the most important things. You perform how you practice. In practice you have to give it 110 percent every day.

“I’d say the mental part is the biggest part of running. Running is really mind over body, so you just have to know it’s going to hurt. You’re going to have pain, but you just have to push through it.”

Alexis said she won’t be competing against Emily this spring, as her sister is a sprinter and high-jumper.

Alexis has enjoyed attending BCHS.

“In cross-country, every team becomes a family, and I think that’s one of my favorite parts,” Koch said. “I’ll remember my friends, my coach, and all the good times we had together.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Koch file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Alexis Koch

School: Brownstown Central High School

Parents: Sharon and Derrick Koch

Siblings: Emily and Nathan

Sports: Track and field, four years; cross-country, four years

Athletics highlights: CC — 2013, 2016 semi-state qualifier, 2016 mental-attitude, 2014 All-Conference; track — 2015 most outstanding distance runner, 2014 regional qualifier in 3,200 relay.

Organizations: National Honor Society, academic team, science club, Christian Club, Booster Club

Plans after high school: Attend college, major in psychology to pursue career in occupational therapy

Favorite food: Ice cream

Favorite TV show: “Gossip Girl”

Favorite book: Harry Potter