Randomly select any student at Northwest Christian High School and you would have about a 1-in-4 chance of successfully picking a member of the cross country team.
The small school has an enrollment of approximately 200 students. Remarkably, almost a quarter (44) turned out for cross country this past fall.
Yes, the Navigators are known as a school of long distance runners.
Surrounded by teammates who don’t even begin to warm up until they are a half mile or so into a race, Kosierowski is one the state’s top sprinters in the 2B classification. His best time in the 100 meters (11.43 seconds) is among the leaders in the 2B ranks.
What makes the time even more impressive is the fact he posted it with limited training in the event.
Despite pleas from his classmates, Kosierowski did not turn out for track until this year, and even then, his practice time has been at a minimum.
“He’s probably here about 25 percent of the time,” said assistant coach Aaron Michael, who works with the Navigators sprinters. “Overall, I would say, he has a month’s worth of track training.”
Kosierowski’s time has been split pretty thin this spring sports season as he is a dual-sport athlete. He also plays on the Navigators’ baseball team, something he has done all four years of high school.
Track is something new to him.
“I decided to do cross country earlier in the season. I don’t really like long distance running,” Kosierowski said with a chuckle. “I am planning to do Air Force ROTC. I thought it would get me in shape.”
Although he failed to break any records, Kosierowski still got the attention of cross country coach Larry Weber, who informed him he possessed some speed and may want to consider doing track in the spring.
The invite was nothing new to Kosierowski. Classmates and coaches had been trying to steer him to track since he first stepped on campus. He always elected against doing it.
“We tried to get him out freshman year, but he wouldn’t come out,” Aaron Michael said. “We basically tried to get him out every year. Luckily, some kids finally talked him into it this year. Hopefully, it will set a precedent for the sprint program.”
In his first race, Kosierowski finished second in the 100 at the South Sound Jamboree before posting back-to-back wins against Pacific League competition.
He registered his top time at the Oregon Relays, running against several of the top sprinters in the Pacific Northwest.
“I didn’t really know how I’d do. Playing baseball I knew I was decently fast,” Kosierowski said. “I wasn’t thinking I was leagues ahead of anyone else. When we went down to Oregon for the relays I did pretty well and that got me believing I could be good at this. Baseball is really what I love as a sport, but I’m starting to enjoy track too. I’ve played baseball my entire life. This is something new. I think that’s why I enjoy it as much.”
Kosierowski’s high school baseball career came to an end following the Navigators’ opening round loss in the district tournament, leaving track his lone focus as the postseason approaches.
“You watch him run the 100 he doesn’t hit his fuel until the 30 or 40,” said head coach Mike Michael, “but then he passes people. He’s real strong. He’s still figuring things out. To perfect the blocks it takes athletes years, not weeks, but what he’s done this year has been impressive.”
The district championships will be held at W.F. West High School on May 19 with the 2B state meet taking place May 25-27 at Eastern Washington University.
“He has a lot of natural talent,” Aaron Michael said. “I don’t know where the limit is for him. I do think if he had been out since his freshman year, a sub-11 (second time) is a given.”
Northwest Christian finished second at the boys state track and field championships last year. The Navigators sport the top performers in the 2B class in the 1,600 with Luke Schilter and the 3,200 with Corban Phillips, as well as placing athletes among the state leaders in several other events.
A solid showing by a sprinter, even if it comes from someone new at the sport, could push the team out of runner-up status and toward their first state crown since 2011.
“A lot of guys were pushing me to turn out (for track). At first, for me, it was, ‘Hey, try it and see how it goes.’ As time progressed it was actually a lot of work, but it was fun,” Kosierowski said. “We have a great group of coaches. They are really enthusiastic and know what they’re coaching. If you’re not doing well they always start encouraging you. It’s been a great experience.”