Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor male athlete of the year: Perseverance pays off for distance runner Bradley Peloquin

Gig Harbor’s Bradley Peloquin has perseverance to spare. It was that perseverance that helped him win his first state titles of his high school career in his final year in both the Class 3A 1,600 and 3,200 meter titles this spring in track, victories that were a long time in the making.

“The goal is definitely to win,” Peloquin said. “It was kind of the most ideal win to finish out. It definitely was worth the wait.”

Peloquin finished with a time of 4 minutes, 12.69 seconds in the 1600 and a 9:01.84 in the 3200. The first win even elicited a moment of celebration from the normally reserved athlete as he raised his fist crossing the finish line.

“We all thought that that was actually very funny. Bradley is the most non-demonstrative,” Track coach Kevin Eager said. “With Bradley, it’s all about excellence and not about him. He is just an extremely selfless guy.”

After winning two titles this spring and posting one of the most dominant distance running careers ever in a Tides uniform, Peloquin is The Peninsula Gateway’s 2019 Male Athlete of the Year from Gig Harbor High School.

Winning the distance titles was a big moment not just for Peloquin. It was a big moment for his team and his coach to see all the hard work over the course of a season pay off in such a decisive fashion.

“It just sort of completed us, our season, to see him get to win,” Eager said. “You really, really want to see kids that are model athletes like that be rewarded and so that was really rewarding for us to see that type of thing.”

That ‘type of thing’ was the product of years of hard work as Peloquin talked about always being focused on the process and his journey rather than just stressing about the outcomes despite how hard it can be not to.

“Running is definitely a process. It’s hard because I’m naturally so impatient. Sometimes it is a slow process. My freshman year in track I didn’t make it to state,” Peloquin said. ”(What I learned is) just to really be patient and understand that there’s gonna be bumps along the way but just to really enjoy the process.”

That selfless focus and mental toughness is something that Peloquin is aware of as he now reflects on an impressive last year of his high school career that he will need to hold onto moving forward.

“It’s all about you pushing yourself. It’s so mental,” Peloquin said. “No matter how hard you worked in training, if you don’t have the right mindset it’s gonna be really hard to put it together on race day.”

Cross Country coach Patty Ley, who helped work with Peloquin through his final year, echoed the importance of mindset and praised him for being a great athlete to work with as a coach as she helped to mold him into a state champion.

“He’s outstanding,” Ley said. “He’s so adaptable. He’s far and away the most coachable athlete I’ve ever had in any way shape or form. He’ll do exactly what you tell him to. He does it well.”

As for Peloquin himself, he is entering into college as a much more seasoned runner and he spoke about how he is going to approach moving beyond the world of high school running. This means taking that confidence his coaches have instilled in him and taking it into the bigger world of competing at a higher level.

“Just being confident, that makes such a huge difference. I think it allows me to attack races more when I’m just going into like ‘Yeah, I can do it,’ Peloquin said. “The belief that you can helps a ton especially because college is definitely a big next step.”

As Peloquin goes to compete for the University of Portland he will be following his older brother, Tristan, who currently runs on the cross country team there as he looks to build up to a successful career there as well.

“I would say for me it’s definitely going to be very developmental,” Peloquin said. “I’m going to be red shirting in cross country and outdoor track my freshman year.”

As for the world he is leaving behind, his coaches had heaps of praise for Peloquin, not just as a runner, but as a person as well.

“He’s just a gem of a human being as well so it’s a lot of fun to see the success for him,” Ley said.

“He is an incredibly friendly guy,” Eager said. “He’s going to University of Portland and I think he’ll continue to excel there.”