High School Sports

Paso Robles’ Koch headed to UCLA as a recruited walk-on

An early-season injury has derailed much of the track and field schedule for one of the Central Coast’s most promising talents, but that hasn’t stopped him from making plans for the future.

Aleksander Koch, a senior jumper and hurdler at Paso Robles High, has decided to join UCLA next year as a recruited walk-on.This past May, Koch cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump at Cerritos College in Norwalk, placing third at the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championships (sixth in the section).

This year, in his first meet of the season March 5, the Bearcat Relays, Koch suffered a foot injury in the long jump, which has kept him out to this point. He’s hoping to recover enough to compete at the PAC 7 prelims April 29, which could get him into the league finals May 5, where he could defend his titles in the high jump and 300-meter hurdles.

“It’s taking a while to heal,” Koch said, “but it’s slowly getting better, and I’m starting to run on it a bit.”

Koch said UCLA’s coaching staff is planning to use him as a decathlete.

He has also put forth a mark of 21-6 in the long jump, and has clocked 15.2 seconds in the 110 hurdles and 39.7 in the 300 hurdles.

Paso Robles coach Mickey Cook also praised Koch’s coachability (he has a 4.3 grade-point average).

“His ability to take what you’ve shown him and apply it in a practical sense is much more enhanced because of his intelligence,” Cook said. “It makes it very easy to communicate what needs to be done, and he grasps those concepts very easily.”

In the preseason, Cook targeted 6-10 — a school record — as a realistic goal for Koch in the high jump, and believed he could contend for league titles in four events.

Koch was also an all-league first-team receiver in football this past year, and was a starting forward for the Bearcats in basketball.

Hence, part of a consideration for the Bruins, Cook said, was that Koch hasn’t yet benefited from a full year of training solely for track and field because of his multisport background. With that in mind, Cook said, Koch’s upside could be that much greater.

The Bruins are ranked No. 21 nationally by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” Koch said. “Going to compete at one of the best track programs in the nation, to have that opportunity and to enjoy that experience there would be amazing.”

WOMEN’S ROWINGKoehler to Sacramento State

Templeton senior Katie Koehler will sign a national letter of intent later this month to compete in rowing for Sacramento State.While crew is not an officially sponsored prep sport at the local interscholastic level, Koehler has a background in club swimming and as a lifeguard, in addition to being a multisport athlete for the Eagles.

She led Templeton’s playoff-bound girls basketball team with 7.7 rebounds per game this past winter, and is currently a captain in softball.

The Hornets compete in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.

WOMEN’S WATER POLOMay to Sonoma State

Arroyo Grande star Alexa May has signed with Sonoma State.

May ranks No. 4 all-time in Eagles history in goals scored (146), as well as No. 1 in shots (310) and No. 3 in ejections drawn (98).

She was a two-time first-team all-PAC 7 honoree and helped lead the Eagles to three straight Southern Section Division 4 championships from her freshman to junior seasons.

The Seawolves, who compete at the Division II level yet play numerous Division I teams, play in the Western Water Polo Association.