From P.E. Student to Cross Country Star: Aaron Cohen


Art/Photo by Roger Ayad

Aaron Cohen (12) is always striving to improve and hone his running skills. When discussing running against the competition, he said, “I’ve always wanted to win. That’s just been my thing.”

   A general consensus among West’s Cross Country community is that Aaron Cohen (12) brings out the team’s full potential by motivating others to be the best runners they can be. Cohen is known among peers and coaches to be an extremely hardworking and persistent person that will do anything to achieve his greatest goals.

   Respect and admiration for Cohen is a shared trait among Cross Country runners at West.  Aneesh Srirambhatla (11) applauded Cohen for his constant enthusiasm while running, which motivates everyone to stay on track. He described Cohen’s lifestyle as “having a ‘mind of matter’ mentality.” Srirambhatla has witnessed the extremity of Cohen’s way of living, seeing him “work day after day and never hitting the brakes.” He said that Cohen is the natural “top dog” of the team that everyone aspires to become. 

   Not only have fellow Cross Country players seen Cohen’s impressive mental strength, but coaches and adults have witnessed it as well. Cohen’s coach, Cheyne Inman, described Cohen as an “extremely hard working and driven person.” Inman remembered his feeling of shock when discovering Cohen ran eighty miles a week during the summer in order to prepare for the upcoming season mentally and physically. Thanks to his endless summer practice, Cohen is “now able to push himself even harder” than before. Inman thinks Cohen has enough endurance to win State Championships. 

   Cohen’s journey from an ordinary high-school student to West’s star runner is something that may surprise many. Before Cohen was practicing eighty miles a week and getting ready for State Championships, he was a freshman in PE. After not making the baseball team, Cohen remembers how the Cross Country coach asked him repeatedly to join track due to his proficient mile time. He stated that he didn’t “bite” at first, but temptation arose. He eventually decided that he “would give it a shot” and at some point  “all of [a] sudden it clicked.”

    After years of practice and improvement, Cohen is known to be one of West’s very best runners. Cohen states his success is mainly due to the previous runners he has interacted with. He explained that “to be considered one of the greats is mostly because I ran with the greats, and holding yourself to those standards really makes you want to be the best you can be.” Cohen constantly tries to live up to the levels of his previous teammates, which fuels his drive.

    Last year, Cohen had tough luck. His motivation was low when he got injured and missed most of the season. He was “outside of varsity” and “nothing was seeming to go to plan.” When he got back into running he was trampled and broke his collarbone at the CIF finals near the end of the season. Cohen’s setbacks and injuries pushed him to greater heights never seen before. Once able to run again, Cohen desired to be the number one runner after being held back for so long. He wanted to keep the “train rolling” after the team won state championships. 

   Now that Cohen is in his senior year, he believes that Cross Country and track were the best parts of his high school experience. He stated that it “propelled [him] in the right direction” and gave him great new friends and opportunities. He wants to continue to run in college and throughout his life and said the sport made him realize how much of a “natural runner” he is and now he can never let it go. He lives by the mindset that he didn’t choose to play the sport. Instead, it chose him.