Gateway: Sports

Peninsula High senior Lauer has strong showing at Hole in the Wall Invite

Up north over the weekend, the weather was awful and the field conditions at Lakewood High were even worse. The race was a mud pit.

It was cross country racing at its finest.

So when Peninsula High senior Dominic Lauer saw the landscape Saturday at the Nike Hole in the Wall XC Invite, he knew this was the time to step up his pace for the Seahawks.

“I’m expecting a good race because the weather right now was perfect — just a little bit of sprinkling,” Lauer said an hour before his race.

And then the rain never let up and as the races wore on, the field taking on a cookie dough-like texture, causing runners to trudge along.

Even as it looked like it was going to be the toughest test to date, Lauer felt ready for his shot.

“I’m ready to turn it on. We haven’t had very many hard courses so this will be a good test to see where I’m really at,” the senior said.

Placed in the first heat with the boys who have a season average time under 18 minutes in a 5K, Lauer faced his toughest task yet.

Lauer finished in 30th place out of 153 runners with a time of 16 minutes, 53.2 seconds. It was the senior’s best time in his last three races, and only seven seconds off his top time of the year (16:46.5).

“It’s that time — we’re training through things still, and this will give a good indication of where (he’s) at as with championships two weeks away,” Peninsula coach Joel Wingard said.

From his showing at the Hole in the Wall, Lauer will be ready for those races, too.

Ryan Gregory nearly took the field as the Gig Harbor senior finished in 4th place in the boys top group with a time of 16:03.6.

It is Gregory’s slowest time by nearly 40 seconds since he set his personal best (15:25.42) Sept. 26 at the Nike Portland XC Invite.