High School Sports

Gig Harbor’s Peloquins ‘check-the-box’ with state-qualifying runs at district cross country meet

These are interesting fall days around the Peloquin dinner table.

Never before has a brother-sister duo captured Washington Interscholastic Activities Association state cross country championships in the same season.

But Gig Harbor High School’s Tristan and Brenna Peloquin have a legitimate shot to become the first siblings to achieve that.

First things were first Saturday — qualify for the state meet out of the Westside Classic, the West Central District championships held at American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood.

Brenna, the second-ranked girl runner in Class 4A behind Richland’s Lindsey Bradley, easily won the WCD title in cruise control. She covered the 5-kilometer soggy terrain under dry skies in 18 minutes, 41.18 seconds — good enough for an 11-second victory over Tahoma’s Delaney Tiernan.

Tristan, the No. 1 boy runner in Class 4A, was also in smooth-sailing mode — and placed seventh in his WCD race behind winner Austin Jex, of Beamer. And afterward, he explained the Tides’ program-wide philosophy to racing in district meets.

“Today is a check-the-box day,” Tristan said. “It is a day when the goal is to qualify for state. We went hard last week (at the Narrows League championships). This week, it was to make a good effort and get the job done so that next week, we will be ready.”

The only other local to win a district title was Auburn Mountainview’s Christian Rotter, the 3A boys SPSL champion. He sprinted by a tiring Austin Blankenship, of Columbia River, in the final five meters to win the WCD crown in 16:13.16.

Neither of the defending WCD and reigning state team champions in Class 4A — the Gig Harbor boys or Bellarmine Prep girls — repeated Saturday. They were upended by the Bellarmine Prep boys and Tahoma girls.

With the state meet approaching — and given how dominant both Peloquin twins have been this fall — has dual state-title talk entered the household?

“We’ve talked about it once or twice,” Brenna said. “Maybe it is because I am superstitious, I don’t really like to say things out loud. We are thinking it in our heads.”

With Tristan taking it easier than normal, that left the door open for Jex to capture the 4A WCD boys title.

Part of a lead pack, Jex, a senior, broke away in the final 150 meters to win in 16:04.75. Stadium’s Shay Glackin-Coley was second in 16:11.38, just ahead of SPSL 4A champion Graeme Schroeder, of Tahoma (16:11.50).

When asked what were the odds he’d become Beamer’s first district cross country champion. Jex chuckled loudly as he gasped for air.

“One-thousand-to-1, maybe,” he said. “I fed off those other elite guys up there who were running for their teammates, keeping close splits.”

Not only did Rotter fly like a superhero down the final straightaway to overtake Blankenship, he also spotted SPSL 3A rival Eric Hamel of Enumclaw struggling to maintain his balance after he finished the race.

Rotter grabbed Hamel to hold him up, calling for medical assistance. He would not leave the Hornets’ top runner’s side until help arrived.

“Cross country, unlike other sports, you don’t have (bitter) rivals,” Rotter said. “Those guys in my league, I am friends with them. I don’t want to see them give up. I don’t like to see them fail. I like to help them out.”

Other action:

•  The Prairie girls won their third consecutive 3A district team title. Falcons’ standout Michaela Bruns won the individual race, too, in 19:16.85. She got a huge break when Capital’s Lauren Pierson, the 3A Narrows champion, hit a wall and lost a huge lead over the final 1,500 meters.

Enumclaw’s Samantha Engebretsen was second in 19:30.10.

•  Franklin Pierce’s Stephan Hull had a 40-second personal-best time on the slow American Lake Golf Course layout to finish fifth in the WCD 2A boys race (16:23.49). Sammamish’s Nick Martin won the race in 16:00.27.

•  Paced by three top-10 placers, including a fourth-place effort by Selena Mildon, the Vashon Island girls captured the 1A WCD crown with 46 points.