Yocham captures ninth in 4A state race

Register Sports Editor


Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High sophomore Roman Yocham (398) runs in a pack during Saturday’s Kansas Class 4A state cross country race along with Mulvane High’s Nikki Troolen-Smith (526) and Circle High’s Jason Lauxman. Troolen-Smith finished in fifth with Yocham taking the ninth-place medal for his second straight top-20 finish in as many years at the state meet in Wamego.

WAMEGO — Not bad for kid who just went out for cross country to stay in shape for track. Two state cross country meets in his first two high school years and two state meet medals.
Iola High’s Roman Yocham capped his sophomore season with a ninth-place finish at the 2009 Kansas Class 4A State Cross Country meet Saturday. Yocham ran the hilly 5K course at Wamego Country Club in 17 minutes, 11.42 seconds.
“I got caught up at the start then settled in and moved up,” Yocham said of his race. “I just went out and ran my race and having run the course as a freshman helped this year.”
Last year as a freshman, Yocham took 20th in 17:20.88. For the second straight year, he earned All-Class 4A state honors finishing in the top 20.
Yocham is the first top-10 finisher for Iola High since Kyle Regehr ran 17:02 at Wamego for third place in 1997.
“Roman ran a tremendous race. He made nice turns on the inside and was 11th with about a half of a mile to go,” said Marvin Smith, IHS cross country coach.
“When I rounded the last corner, I had a pretty good kick left and passed two runners to get ninth,” Yocham said. “It felt great placing in the top 10.
“I had a lot of support from my teammates, especially Aaron (Cheung) and Kent (Toland).”
Cheung and Toland, both seniors, were out going over the course with Yocham before his race Saturday morning.
Smith said Yocham was out of school ill Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday. Then it was raining Thursday that all he could do was run the high school hallways for practice.
“Friday when we got to Wamego, it was cold and windy so I had him run in a residential area just to get some practice in,” Smith said. “Having run at state last year was a plus for him.”
Illness has been a problem for most fall sports teams this season. The IHS cross country team was hit hard, yet Yocham battled through it.
“He had a good summer and I think hat carried him through,” Smith said.
“I rested when I needed to and during practices if I need to take a break, I would,” Yocham said.
Riley Woodward of Wamego won the 4A boys’ race in 16:19.35. Only two seniors finished in the top 10.
Mulvane defended its state team title with 30 points. Wamego was second with 51 points.