When Ethan Cochran, Steve Michaelsen and Tony Ciarelli went up to Clovis two weeks ago they brought back for Newport Harbor High a boys' third-place finish in the CIF Track & Field State Championships. It was a phenomenal feat that featured Cochran's two state titles, in the discus throw and shotput, Michaelsen's fourth-place medal in the discus and Ciarelli adding to an already impressive resume as a throws coach.
This weekend, the trio will try to gain success again, but in different parts of the nation.
Cochran will be at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships in Bloomington, Indiana. Michaelsen is in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Ciarelli is prepping Olympian Seema Antil of India with meets, beginning this weekend in Portland, Ore.
Cochran, bound for Cal, will have his work cut out for him in the discus at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships. He is vying to finish in the top two to earn a berth on the U.S. junior national team and compete in the IAAF World Junior Championships, as he did last year, when he won a silver medal in France. He won the USA Junior Outdoor Championships last year, but it'll be tougher to repeat this year.
This year, the competitors will use a discus that weighs 1.75 kilograms, as opposed to the 1.6 used in high school meets. The college throwers compete with the 2-kilogram discus, and there will be some college competitors in the event. So, Cochran will be at a disadvantage.
Also, Cochran has been busy with final exams and said he hasn't really practiced as much since returning from the CIF meet.
"I'm just hoping for anything really," said Cochran, who competes on Sunday. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm just going to come back and enjoy my senior year.
"If I'm on top of my game I can easily beat them. But you never know. They've been training more. It's going to be good competition."
Michaelsen knows he'll also be going against some excellent competition. He welcomes it.
The Newport Harbor senior bound for Wake Forest has been trying to surpass his personal record in the discus over the past month, competing at big-time meets. Each week the meets become more prestigious. He knows he'll need the personal record, better than 185 feet, 1 inch, this weekend if he wants to finish in the top five.
Last week, he took second place in the discus at the Golden West Invitational in Folsom.
He'll also compete in the shotput Friday, and then the discus on Saturday. He traveled to Greensboro with his mother, Anne.
"It's really fun when the competition gets tighter at these big meets," Michalesen said during a phone interview Thursday while in Dallas as he waited for a connecting flight to North Carolina. "When it gets to the bigger meets, I like it because I get to realize what it will be like in college. It's always good to compete against great competition."
Michaelsen won't be competing against his teammate, but he'll go up against Samuel Mattis of East Brunswick, N.J. Mattis is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the discus among high school throwers. His best mark is 218-4. Cochran is No. 2 at 209-8. Michaelsen is 54th according to the ESPN Dyestat Elite 100 list.
"I'm excited to compete," Michaelsen said.