Kohr ready for long-awaited shot to compete for 100-meter hurdle title


ANDY BRONSON — The Bellingham Herald

The foreshadowing to Squalicum senior Allie Kohr's intriguing hurdling career began 10 years ago when she was just a second grader.

She and her sisters would set up chairs connected by a broom stick in her backyard, and they would take turns jumping over the contraption.

Her true start in track and field began in fifth grade when she first competitively hurdled. Kohr fell in love with the event and discovered her talent, as she won three consecutive city meets.

"I was like, 'OK, high school, let's see what happens then,' and that's what really made it for me," Kohr said.

Ever since she stepped onto the track as a freshman, she's worked tirelessly to thrive in the 100-meter hurdles.

Kohr improved drastically from her freshman season to her sophomore year, qualifying for the Class 2A State Championships where she earned a fifth-place medal with a run of 16.14 seconds.

But heading into last year with the chance to contend from a state title in her favorite event, Kohr's season came to abrupt halt in heartbreaking fashion.

Looking to qualify for state at the district meet, Kohr was charged with a false start and was disqualified for the event, which prevented her from competing at state.

"It was sure disappointing," she said. "I've never felt like that before. ... I was so far forward on my shoulders that I was steadily tipping. I was like, 'Get back, get back.' They shot the gun twice, but there are no second chances, so it was rough."

Kohr was left in disbelief. Her second chance to compete for a state title would have to wait another year.

But oddly enough, Kohr still left the championships with a fourth-place medal in her grasp, in what amounted to a strange twist during her junior season.

Kohr never expected to compete at state once she lost the chance to run the 100-meter hurdles, but she was given the opportunity to travel with the team as a relay alternate.

"It was hard enough without hurdles," said Kohr of being at state. "That was what I was hoping for the whole season; 'I'm going in hurdles, I'm going to go to state.' As soon as that was taken away, I didn't want to go anymore. It didn't feel right."

Kohr made the decision to attend, and two hours before the start of the 4x100 relay her team desperately needed her to run arguably the most pressure-packed leg.

"She really helped us out last year at state," Storm coach Katrina Henry said. "She is a really strong contributor."

Original relay member Kirsten Webber couldn't run due to injury, and Kohr filled in admirably, covering the final 100 meters well enough to place the Storm fourth in state.

The medal served as a comforting consolation prize to what had been a rough past week.

"I was the anchor, and that was the first time I had ever run the relays that year," Kohr explained. "That was so terrifying. We ended up getting fourth, so that was great. That felt so good."

Kohr is now one of the unquestioned leaders of the Storm girls' team. And the mental toughness she displayed during state to go from never running the 4x100 to helping her team place fourth is the same type of attitude Henry believes will propel her to a strong final year.

Kohr has an intense competitive desire, Henry said, but the way she channels it has helped her become one of the top track athletes in the Northwest Conference.

"She is hard on herself in a good way, and she pushes herself to her limits," Henry said. "She helps out, too, on the leadership side."

Kohr has a pair of personal goals this spring. First, she wants to run her trademark event in under 15 seconds. Her personal best is a 15.25 she ran during the NWC 2A sub-district meet last season.

Secondly, Kohr yearns to get back on the state podium and be one of the top three 100-meter hurdlers in the state.

"Everything, pretty much," said Kohr when asked what a top placing at state would mean to her. "It would be so special. That has been the whole goal all of high school. I want to win state."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

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