LAKEWOOD — The Gig Harbor boys won the Westside Classic district meet at American Lake Golf Course and the Tides’ girls placed fifth on Saturday. Both teams earned spots at the Class 4A state meet, which will be held Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Heavy wind was prevalent the entire afternoon, but the Gig Harbor boys cruised with 54 points. Tahoma came in second with 109.
The Tides’ Wolfgang Beck, Mahmoud Moussa, Logan Carroll and Tristan Peloquin ran in a pack the entire race. They finished together and took the fifth through eighth spots.
Peloquin said pack-running was their strategy.
“We were going to work through the field together as a group, because it was important for us to qualify for the state meet, and this was a big one, because the field was strong, individually and team wise,” Peloquin said. “So the goal was to stick together and work through the field as a pack, and work our way up through the race and finish strong.”
Gig Harbor head coach Mark Wieczorek said the team wanted to pace itself to prepare for the weeks ahead, but he still wanted them to run well.
“We wanted to keep the guys under control while still getting in a good effort,” Wieczorek said. “We don’t want to completely let ourselves go flat or anything. I didn’t want them to go two weeks in a row. We’ve got state, regionals and hopefully nationals coming up. It’s going to be a long stretch of racing, and I just wanted to make sure they were all ready to go. They looked good, and they executed the plan perfectly.”
Peloquin said the team was prepared for the rough conditions, given the history of the district meet this time of year.
“The wind at times would hit me in the face pretty good,” Peloquin said. “The past two years, it’s been pretty rough here, so we were prepared for it. It’s normally pretty wet here, but the conditions were fine. Apart from the wind, it was fine.”
The overall times were a bit slower than other meets, likely due to the conditions. Wieczorek said the field started out cautiously.
“I think the whole race went out a little tentative because of the wind,” he said. “I don’t think anyone wanted to go out in the lead. Some of the earlier races today, kids were kind of dropping out, really struggling out of the second loop and coming around into the finish. So I think a lot of coaches might have told the kids to be a little more cautious, because the course is tough with this wind.”
The Tides, ranked first in the nation, are confident and running well heading into the state meet.
“Everything is going perfect for us right now,” Peloquin said. “We’re feeling good, and we’re healthy. We went through a stretch last week where some of the guys were beat up and kind of sick, but we’re back now, and we’re ready to roll for the state meet, and hopefully we can grab a title there.”
The Gig Harbor girls totaled 154 points and also qualified for the state meet. Brenna Peloquin came in seventh overall in 18 minutes, 59.71 seconds.
The Tides were considered a bubble team going into the race, hovering right around teams like Olympia and Union.
Peloquin said she paced herself.
“That was not my hardest effort. I kind of just ran it controlled today,” she said. “I could’ve finished harder, but I let those people go because I want to save it for state. I don’t want to go hard every single race, and then end up being too tired at state.
“Obviously, I still ran decently enough to help my team get through, but once I knew that I secured a top 10 spot, I just kind of relaxed and kind of hung in there, and felt really good at the end,” she said.
Wieczorek said keeping Peloquin under control was the plan.
“She backed off just a hair,” Wieczorek said. “I just wanted her to make sure she didn’t go over the edge a few weeks in a row. We’re just trying to make sure we keep her healthy.”
Wieczorek said the team ran its best race of the year.
“The girls all came through,” he said. “They ran the best race they’ve run since I’ve been coaching here. I’m super proud of all of them. By far, our best race of the season.”