Vernon's Joey Kohut works on his upper body strength with a medicine ball exercise at Polson Park. Kohut will compete in the 1

Vernon's Joey Kohut works on his upper body strength with a medicine ball exercise at Polson Park. Kohut will compete in the 1

Vernon’s Kohut tracks Summer Games berth

First-year distance runner Joey Kohut of the Vernon Triple A Track and Field Club is headed to Surrey for B.C. Summer Games, July 19-22.

Vernon’s Joey Kohut is dropping time faster than a broken Timex.

In just his first season of competitive distance running, the Grade 9 Fulton student has continually crushed his personal bests, earning a place in the B.C. Summer Games, July 19-22, in Surrey.

Kohut, a member of the Vernon Triple A Track and Field Club, will compete in the boys 1,200- and 2,000-metre distance races in Surrey. He holds personal bests of 3:49 and 5:45, respectively.

“It’s gotten a lot better,” said Kohut, of his rapid development. “The start of the year, my first run in a track meet – and it was just a couple weeks in  – was like a 5:45 in the 1,500. The next run, I cut that down by like literally almost 40 seconds.

“It makes you want to keep going. Gotta keep beating your goal.”

Realizing he is a relative newcomer to the sport, Kohut, who dropped minor baseball to focus more on track, doesn’t seem overly worried about medals; he simply wants to keep on improving his times.

“I always try to get a PB every time I go out. That’s my goal for every run.”

Kohut credits Vernon distance coaches Brent Helland and John Machuga for supporting his development.

“This training has been great; I love this club,” he said. “Having specific workouts for different things really helps out.

“I really liked elementary school track, but found out there was no track in high school. I looked up the Vernon track club and decided to join.”

Machuga has been impressed by Kohut’s progress, adding the teen’s work ethic has a lot to do with that.

“He’s pretty easy to coach; he likes to work hard, which is critical with distance running. He just goes for it in workouts,” said Machuga.

“It’s his first year here and he’s already having a good year. Most races are personal bests and he just keeps getting better.”

Other athletes heading to the B.C. Summer Games for track and field include Vernon’s Chris Loland and Lumby’s Jared Sexsmith. Both will compete in high jump and long jump, and Sexsmith will also toss the javelin.