High School Sports

Peloquins fall short of individual honors, but Gig Harbor boys defend state cross country title

The Peloquin twins’ bid to make history — in sport and family — was not to be, a bittersweet footnote on a day that one half of the sensational sibling tandem still managed to help keep his team atop the state’s 4A cross country mountain.

Gig Harbor senior siblings Tristan and Brenna Peloquin came into the Class 4A state cross country championships here Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course hoping to become Washington’s first brother-sister tandem to win individual titles. But after promising first miles for each, the Peloquins faded.

In the girls race, contested an hour-and-a-half before the boys’ finale, Brenna placed 18th overall in 18:24.70.

Tristan, who led a congested pack of runners at miles 1 and 2, settled for fourth.

“It wasn’t a bad day,” Gig Harbor coach Mark Wieczorek said — before he had learned the Tides boys had repeated as state champions, edging Eisenhower 122-126. “From the outside, this wasn’t a sexy race. There were four or five deep, strong teams.”

Tristan Peloquin finished third in 2013 behind teammates Logan Carroll and Wolfgang Beck as Gig Harbor destroyed the field and beat second-place Redmond by 82 points. Carroll and Beck graduated, and Peloquin had hoped to trace their tracks. He bolted to a strong start, but runners were called back for a restart. Peloquin was able to “keep to my plan” over the first mile of the redo but ran out of steam.

“I didn’t have it,” he said. “I tried to surge. But (champion Aaron Roe of Henry Jackson) ran a hell of a race.”

Peloquin said he wasn’t going to put extra pressure on himself if his sister had won.

“This was my big one. This was my race,” he said. “I’m disappointed not to win, but the only time I can be truly disappointed is when I leave something on the course. I didn’t. I could barely finish.”

Only 14 points separated the top four boys’ teams, as Gig Harbor’s depth proved crucial. Peloquin (15:27.64) had support from Ryan Gregory, who recovered from a midrace fall to place 23rd in team scoring at 16:05.46, as well as senior Michael Hammer (25th, 16:10.95), sophomore Jack Shields (41st, 16:31.34) and senior Charlie Carpenter (62nd, 16:54.19).

Tahoma finished just five points out of first place, sparked by junior Keegan Kirkpatrick. He placed 11th overall in and 10th in team scoring at 15:41.10.

Camas avenged its narrow defeat to defending 4A girls’ champion Bellarmine Prep, led by its stellar freshman quintet, with four Papermaker ninth-graders finishing in the top 25 for team scoring. Camas had 64 points to second-place Issaquah’s 91, with Prep in fifth (164).

Bellarmine senior Laura Staeheli was 23rd overall and 14th in team scoring with a time of 18:40.47, one pack behind Brenna Peloquin.

“She’s fit — and the season’s not over,” Wieczorek said of Peloquin. “She hit the mile mark today and her legs felt flat, zapped. Bodies sometimes just go out.

“She’s a really good competitor. She’s passionationate. She’ll come back at (next weekend’s Nike Cross) Regionals with a vengeance.”

Capital’s Pierson finishes strong

A step up in classification didn’t prevent Capital senior Lauren Pierson from wrapping her prep career in elite company.

Pierson shaved almost 13 seconds off of her 2013 state time, when she placed fifth in the 2A race, and was seventh overall among Class 3A runners on Saturday. Pierson’s 18:30.88 race was good for sixth in team scoring and helped the Cougars secure a 10th-place finish.

The key to her race was the first mile; Pierson struggled to finish in last week’s district meet, and put a premium on her pacing Saturday.

“I felt like a started with a smart first mile,” Pierson said. “I was really happy with my pacing. Coach tells us that there’s a big hill a little past the 1.5-mile mark, and that’s where you either give up mentally or push.

“I felt like I really pushed. My teammates did, too.”