Athlete of the Issue: Tori Cohen

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Danielle Martin Co-Editor-in-Chief Walk into Latin’s fifth floor fitness center and you’ll find three types of athletes: off-season athletes casually checking the boxes of doing a few push-ups, a few stretches, and few quick mirror glances, on-season athletes sweating out a work out under the close supervision of Tim Cleveland, and, a rarity, athletes like sophomore track prodigy Tori Cohen, who doesn’t even have a coach. While the sprinters, long distance runners, and jumpers of Latin’s 2017 Track and Field team practiced in Lincoln Park with their coaches, the throwers were left to their own devices. Head coach Dan Daly hired Sarah Moss as the throwing coach, but she didn’t have a proper visa and had to return to Canada. Before she left, she designed specific workouts for the throwers. Meanwhile, Daly searched for a replacement, but with a shortage of throwing coaches in Chicago, Tori and her teammates were left coachless. Although only a sophomore on a team composed of primarily upperclassmen, Tori’s teammates looked to her for motivation and support. “Tori was always getting us back to work when we were becoming unproductive,” said teammate El Buchanan ‘18. “We would have to critique each other a lot and work through the motions together. We would watch each other throw and just talk out what was good or bad. Whenever we both would get in a rut, Tori would always say to go back to the basics and start from the beginning.” At the end of a three hour long event, Tori would finish her last throw and cheer on the rest of her team. Known as a backbone of her team, those closest to Tori recognize her as “determined,” “organized,” and “focused.” Juggling track and field, Operation Smile, and an abnormal amount of homework for a sophomore, Tori tries to get “at least six hours of sleep, which is not nearly enough.” Eating an egg every morning before school as a constant, Tori somehow always manages to complete her work—whether it means making a to-do list of all her assignments or finishing an essay at 3 a.m.—and comes to school the next day, ready for practice. “When I step into the throwing ring I like to take a deep breath to calm my nerves and clear my head. When you throw, you can’t be thinking about your footwork, or how you are going to release the implement. You just have to do what you know and throw,” explained Tori. Tori’s track and field career began when she joined her middle school’s team in the sixth grade. At first, she just wanted to try throwing out,but soon developed an affinity for the sport. Ever since, Tori has been training for discus and shot put, becoming one of the best throwers in Latin’s history. One foot away from the school record, Tori’s personal record for shot put is 29 feet 5 inches and 78 feet 10 inches for discus. By the look of it, Tori was on track to beat the school record at state as only a sophomore. But unfortunately, she was met with injury after sectionals. “My arm started acting up after sectionals because there were too many throws for shot put in a row, and it messed up my muscles,” said Tori. Usually, Tori only throws three times in a row, but at sectionals, she had to throw six without a proper warm up. In typical Cohen fashion, she swallowed the pain and continued to compete at state. “I rested it a lot before state and thought it would be okay, but in the middle of my first throw, I felt it grind and pull,” said Tori. “I threw my last two throws despite the pain, but I was not able to PR or even come close, throwing a final throw of 72 feet 10 inches.” While some athletes would take this injury as a sign to retire from throwing and switch events, this small hurdle has made Tori even more excited for next year. Her goal? “Break the shot school record and make it down to state again,” said Tori.]]>