For as good as Bradley Peloquin’s high school running career has been, the one thing that has eluded him over the past four years is an individual state title.
The Gig Harbor High School senior will get his last crack at it later this spring at the Class 3A state track meet — assuming good health in his final high school season.
“I’m definitely excited — I think that’s the next natural step,” Peloquin said. “I’ve gotten second, third, fourth before. So (winning the title) is the pretty obvious goal for me. As long as training goes well and I run how I’m capable of, I should definitely be able to. I’ve been running well and I’m healthy.”
Peloquin’s time of 9 minutes, 4.91 seconds in the 3,200-meters probably would have won him the title most years. But not that last year, when Lincoln’s James Mwaura clocked in at 8:46.87 — one of the fastest times in the entire country in 2018.
But now that Mwaura is graduated, Peloquin is the favorite in the 3,200 and a contender in the 1,600, although the mile will be a tougher challenge for Peloquin, who tends to favor longer distances. Kennewick’s Johan Correa — who took second in the 1,600-meters behind Mwaura last season — returns for his senior year.
“(Correa) can finish,” Peloquin said. “He has a ton of speed. As long as he’s with me with 200 to go, the race is his. For me, it’s going to be more — I don’t necessarily have to break him right at the beginning, but the third lap, I have to run that pretty hard. I have to make sure he’s really tired with a lap to go. And hopefully, I can kind of take the kick away from him. Right now, I’m just trying to build my speed.”
Peloquin said the 3,200 is his “wheelhouse” and is the event he’s most confident about.
“The 3,200 is my favorite event,” Peloquin said. “It’s hard not to mostly focus on that one. I definitely am going to put all my focus into both, just because the team points are on the line.”
Gig Harbor distance coach Patty Ley, who came back to Gig Harbor last fall and coached Peloquin during cross country season also, said the groundwork had been laid prior to her return to GHHS.
“He’s a terrific athlete,” Ley said. “It’s mostly just making sure he stays healthy. I know (previous distance coach) Andrew Walker and know enough about where (previous distance coach) Mark (Wieczorek) was before that. The details may look a little different but the general principles are the same. So we’re not doing anything different or crazy with him.”
The one area Ley has emphasized with Peloquin in his training is working on his speed.
“We’re just working on his finishing speed,” Ley said. “He’s actually a lot faster than he’s been. So just kind of releasing that little piece to him. He’s in a great place.”
The Gig Harbor boys track team won the Class 3A championship last year. Although the Tides lost contributors to graduation, Gig Harbor is motivated to repeat. That’s a little extra inspiration for Peloquin, to help his team score as many points as possible in his two events.
“It definitely helps a lot,” Peloquin said. “I don’t really see it as pressure. I see it as being excited. Our team definitely has a reputation of performing at our best during the state meet. Last year, we had such a close knit team, I wanted to run well because I’m friends with these people and want them to do well.”