High School Sports

Gig Harbor Tides’ Peloquin twins aiming at twin state cross country titles

When it comes to the Peloquin twins, certain things are a given. Brenna remains two minutes older. Tristan runs 5-kilometer races more than two minutes faster. And both are incredibly competitive.

But whether the seniors at Gig Harbor High School can become the first brother-sister pair in Washington Interscholastic Activities Association history to win state high school cross country championships in the same season, well, that is the unknown.

“It’s definitely something in the back of our minds that we think we can achieve,” said Tristan, who with a best 5K time of 14 minutes, 59.4 seconds is the fastest boy in Class 4A.

“Everything would have to go right, and with championship seasons it doesn’t come easy … but there’s a shot, and it would be a really special thing to happen.”

Despite it being a goal, Brenna, who has the fastest time among 4A girls — 17:41.08 — and won last week’s Westside Classic, said they are reticent to put too much pressure on themselves.

“There’s a bigger picture,” she said, “but we have big goals for state, and we’ll see how it turns out.”

Coach Mark Wieczorek, who took over the Tides’ nationally ranked program when the Peloquins were ninth graders in 2011, said that it was clear early on they would have long running careers.

“They’re really consistent, they work hard and they’re super dedicated to the sport,” he said. “If anything, it’s been about keeping the reins on them and making sure they don’t do too much.

“They’re super competitive.”

At Gig Harbor, Tristan has been the picture of consistency, running at state every year. Brenna injured her right hip early in her sophomore year and was unable to compete until the end of track season.

Doctors were unable to pinpoint the issue; frustrated, she wondered if her running career was over.

“I just accepted that whatever was going to happen would happen, and after that, I got better,” she said. “Now it’s really good, because I’m so much stronger.”

The Peloquins have running in their blood. Their dad, Paul, won the 1983 West Coast Conference cross country title at Portland State. Their mom, Donna, is a longtime runner and former gymnast from Brigham Young University. Oldest brother Conner runs for BYU, and they ran with brother Casey when he was a senior and they were freshmen.

“It’s really special to see her so successful,” Tristan said of Brenna, the only girl of the six Peloquin children. “And to have so much success as twins.”

Despite being among the state’s elite, the twins, who Brenna describes as “closer than most brothers and sisters — but not besties,” train individually.

“If you’re a good guy and a good girl, there’s no comparison,” she said. “Although we’re both good runners, we would never be able to train together.”

One shared characteristic between the pair is their height. Tristan is 5-foot-5; Brenna is 5 feet — but neither are bothered by being among the shortest on the course.

“Some of the best runners in the world are short,” Tristan said. “It might surprise some people, but I think it comes down to once you get on that line and start, it doesn’t matter.”

And having the competition literally towering over you can be beneficial, Brenna added.

“They block the wind,” she said. “If it’s windy or rainy, just hide behind them.”

The honor students plan to announce their college plans after the state meet. Both intend to run at a NCAA Division I school. Brenna is considering a career in nursing, while Tristan is mulling going into business or firefighting.

Wieczorek said the Peloquins have done a “great job of building the culture” within Gig Harbor’s program.

And maybe making history?

“If they win, they win because they did everything right, and if they lose, it’s because someone was better,” Wieczorek said. “The focus has been more on them doing everything right for themselves rather than just beating everyone else.”

Tristan said that regardless of the outcome of a race, “There’s no better feeling than when you cross that line when you have been working so hard.”

Especially against strong competition.

“I don’t want to win because there are no good people,” Brenna said. “I want to win because I’m the best.”