Most Viewed Stories
Newport Harbor's Cochran boys track and field athlete of the year
Newport Harbor's Ethan Cochran entered his senior season poised to defend his state title in the discus and continue his climb up the county's all-time list of top throwers.
However, Cochran wasn't going to be content with supremacy in just the discus. He was going to pursue improvement in the shot put.
It was that ambitious pursuit of excellence in both competitions that fueled Cochran to a season of excellence in both rings, a season that ended with him ascending twice to the top of the state meet podium. He also put the finishing touches on a career that will forever link him with the county's top throwers of all-time.
For his unparalleled accomplishments throughout the season, Cochran has been selected as the Register's 2012 Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
"It's a big honor for me," Cochran said. "When I started track, I told myself that I wanted to be the best. I put all my energy and hard work into that and it paid off."
After claiming the discus title at the 2011 state meet last spring, Cochran spent the summer winning the U.S. championship at the World Youth Trials and winning silver while competing for Team USA at the World Youth Championships in France.
Using that experience as a springboard into his senior season, Cochran got off to a big start in the season-opening Eagle Invitational in March. He threw the discus over 200 feet for the first time in a CIF competition (200-10) and won the shot put with a throw of 57-4.
Cochran continued his strong performances in the season's first month, surpassing the 200-foot mark in the discus in four more competitions.
That run of success helped set the stage for one of the biggest moments of his season. On the national stage of the Arcadia Invitational, Cochran's second throw in the discus sailed a lifetime-best 209 feet, 8 inches.
That throw is currently the second best in the country and moved him into fourth place on the county's all-time list. It was also the top throw by a county athlete since 2006.
Cochran wasn't done at the Arcadia Invitational. He went on to win the shot put title with what was then a lifetime-best throw of 62-10.
"From when I first started track my sophomore year, Arcadia was the meet that I thought about going to and doing the best at," Cochran said. "That was a big performance for me and I achieved one of my season goals."
He would go on to claim discus titles at the Mt. SAC Invitational, the Sunset League Finals, the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals and the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
Cochran also won the league title in the shot put and finished second at the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals and the Masters Meet.
After qualifying first for the state finals in the discus, Cochran produced a lifetime best in the shot put. On his third qualifying throw, his effort of 64-6½ moved him into 11th place on the all-time county list.
Cochran successfully completed his quest for double state titles in the finals, repeating as discus champion (196-4) and winning the shot put title (62-4¼).
"Winning both events was the maximum goal," Cochran said. "I would have loved to throw farther in both, but a win is a win."
In the process of winning, Cochran achieved several milestones. He became the first county thrower to repeat in the discus since all-time county record holder Scott Mosher of Huntington Beach won back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997. He is also the first county thrower to win the state title in the shot put since former Esperanza thrower Mark Parlin finished first at the 1991 CIF State Meet.
Cochran is also the first county thrower to win state titles in both the discus and the shot put in the same season since former Capistrano Valley star Brian Blutreich accomplished the feat in 1985.
"That makes winning the state titles even more special for me," Cochran said.
Cochran is scheduled to compete in the discus later this month at the United States Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indiana. He will throw at Cal next season and credits highly renowned throwing coach Tony Ciarelli for his development into an elite thrower.
"I am so blessed to have Coach Ciarelli, who is one of the best coaches in California, if not the country," Cochran said. "This season has been a great opportunity for me to represent him, my school, the county and the state."