The Gig Harbor boys cross country team took fifth place overall at the Class 3A state meet in Pasco over the weekend, led by a strong performance from junior Bradley Peloquin.
Peloquin placed third overall with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds.
“I was happy with it,” Peloquin said.
Barring some injury or catastrophe, no one was going to catch Lincoln High star James Mwaura, who won easily at a ridiculous 14:48.30. So for Peloquin, the plan was to keep pace with the group behind Mwaura.
That plan worked well for the junior, who stayed in the thick of things for second place the whole way. He lost out on the second spot by less than a second, as Bainbridge junior Sebastian Belkin clocked in at 15:22.20.
“I was trailing him going into the final hill,” Peloquin said. “We were both kicking downhill to the finish. He kind of pulled away, but then drifted back at the very end.”
And as Peloquin realized he wouldn’t be taking second, he slowed down for a brief second. It almost came back to bite him. Kamiakin senior Jonah Franco was right on Peloquin’s tail, and finished at 15:23.00, just one second behind Peloquin.
“He twisted his ankle or something early in the race,” Peloquin said. “But he fought his way back. I had no clue he was even there, behind me. I didn’t know until I saw the results that he was right behind me.”
Now, with Mwaura graduating, Peloquin will have a legitimate shot to win an individual state title as a senior.
“Next year will be a different mentality,” Peloquin said. “I’m going to have to make some more decisions late or in the middle of the race. I wasn’t exactly super confident in this race. Some of the guys were making moves, I was just holding on in the back of that group. I think I’ll have to be more aggressive earlier on. Next year, I have a legitimate shot at winning.”
That singular goal will provide plenty of fuel for Peloquin in the spring track season and during summer workouts, when Peloquin said he works the hardest.
“Just with every sport, you can’t just show up on the day and expect to win,” Peloquin said. “You have to work hard in the offseason. … You have to have a good base. Over the summer, that’s where you build your base training. By the time the season started, I was already ready to start racing. Success is won or lost in the offseason.”
As a team, the Tides took fifth overall. Senior Peter Smith took 16th at 15:50.40, senior Nolan Carroll was 33rd (15:10.70), senior Finlay Adamson was 54 (16:21.50) and senior Jared Doris finished 132nd (17:18.40).
For the Peninsula boys, senior Cameron Wenman was the highest finisher at 97th (16:50.10), followed by senior Reese Hoeksema at 115th (17:04.90) and junior Ethan Brown at 134th (17:22.30).
The Peninsula girls took 16th place overall. Junior McKenna Clark finished 73rd (19:54.10), senior Ashley Fahey was 81st (19:58.70), senior Grace Haugen was 114th (20:34.00) and sophomore Gabby Jensen finished 117th (20:38.80).
Gig Harbor senior Taryn Donohue took 79th with a time of 19:58.20.