Four years ago, Gig Harbor High’s Tristan Peloquin won the Nike Portland Cross country race, against some of the top competition the Pacific Northwest.
This year, it was the Bradley Peloquin’s turn. Currently a senior at Gig Harbor High, the younger Peloquin won the 5,000-meter championship at the Portland Meadows race track on Sept. 29, clocking in at 15 minutes, 6.5 seconds, a personal record.
And Tristan, currently running cross country at the University of Portland, was there to cheer him on.
“At one point in the race, (Tristan) shouted out to me how far I was ahead of the second-place runner,” Bradley said. “I was too nervous to look back. I didn’t want to know if they were closing in on me.”
He had no reason to fear. Bradley won the event handily. McMinnville’s Zane Fodge came in a distant second at 15:20.80.
“There were a couple really good runners,” Bradley said. “I knew I had a chance at winning, but if I were to win, I didn’t expect to win by that much.”
Everything came together for Peloquin on race day.
“There aren’t any hills on the course, the conditions were really good, it wasn’t raining,” he said. “And I just felt really, really good during the race. Better than I typically feel. Training had been going really well. There were a variety of factors.”
He said he went out with a measured pace, hanging with the pack for the first mile.
“I didn’t really have the win on my mind,” Bradley said.
When the pack dwindled a bit, he made his move.
“I felt pretty good at that point, so I had to go for it then,” he said.
Bradley has had the challenge of a new coach this year — albeit, a very experienced one in Patty Ley, who returned to Gig Harbor this year after spending the past seven years coaching the women’s team at Gonzaga University — but said the training has remained pretty much the same.
“She’s a really good coach,” he said. “I feel very lucky. She brings a lot of energy to the team. She’s very passionate about it. I think when you have that, makes it that much easier for you to be motivated. I think she knows what I’ve done under (previous coaches Mark Wieczorek and Andrew Walker). She doesn’t want to change that a whole lot. There’s nothing dramatically different in the training.”
Bradley has his sights set squarely on winning the Class 3A state title in Pasco this fall. The Portland win is a momentum builder for him heading into the second half of the season.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “This was a big race. Going into this race, I knew I didn’t even have to win it to be on track to win state. It gives me a lot of confidence though. If I were to repeat a race like this, I think that would give me the win. It didn’t feel like anything super extraordinary. It felt like something I could do again. It’s definitely exciting. I have the confidence, just because I’ve done it now.”