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Newport throwers excited for meet

High School Track & Field

Cochran, Michaelsen, Taylor look forward to competing in CIF Southern Section Track & Field Championships.

May 18, 2012|By Steve Virgen
  • Newport Harbor High discus and shotput standouts, from left, Ethan Cochran, Steve Michaelsen and Marty Taylor will compete in Saturday's CIF Southern Section Track & Field Championships.
Newport Harbor High discus and shotput standouts, from… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Ethan Cochran, Steve Michaelsen and Marty Taylor took turns heaving a rubber shot at a handball wall at Newport Harbor High Wednesday afternoon.

They were training for Saturday's CIF Southern Section Track & Field Championships. All around them sounds and actions unfolded like that of a typical high school. Off to the side, football players banged at a rubber tire with a huge mallet. A few girls walked by giggling at the site.

Off to the distance, a girl's voice sang, "Paparazzi," by Lady Gaga. Other students rushed past the Newport throwers near the school's weight room, preparing for the school's Evening of the Arts event.

Amid the noise, Cochran, Michaelsen and Taylor blocked it all out and listened to their coach, Tony Ciarelli. As throwers, competing in the discus and shotput, they know they must silence the periphery and concentrate on their mission.

Their sole goal now is to advance to the Masters meet. They'll try to do that at the CIF meet Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. with the shotput at Mt. San Antonio College.

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Wednesday's practice was mostly about technique, Ciarelli said. The rigorous workouts took place earlier in the season and that included Bulgarian weightlifting and martial arts-type training that left the big boys sore.

The hard work appears to be paying off. Cochran led a 1-2-3 sweep with Michaelsen and Taylor in both events at the Sunset League finals. Last week, they did enough to move on from Moorpark to Mt. SAC.

Cochran, a senior bound for UC Berkeley, is the leader of the bunch, aiming for state titles in both events and wanting to break the state record in the discus. He is the defending CIF state and CIF Southern Section Division 2 champ. He is No. 1 in the state in the shotput and discus.

His personal best of 209 feet, 8 inches in the discus, set at this season's Arcadia Invitational, is No. 7 all-time in the state, and No. 2 in the nation this season.

The state record is 213-11 by Scott Moser of Huntington Beach, set in 1997. The No. 2 all-time mark is held by Taylor's older brother, Bo, who did it while competing for Newport Harbor in 2006.

Both throwers were coached by Ciarelli, who usually finds his talented competitors in football, as he's the defensive coordinator for the Sailors' football team.

Ciarelli's method to success seems rather simple.

"It's just about work," Ciarelli said. "I like to work. I find the kids who want to work."

Ciarelli said he found a natural in Cochran, who first started competing as a sophomore.

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