The Gig Harbor track and field team took eighth place this past weekend at the Oregon Relays at historic Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. The field, the site of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and World Junior Championships, is a far cry from the typical high school track.
“It’s an awesome rehearsal,” said Tides’ track coach Kevin Eager. “If you can hold your composure there in that environment, you’re probably going to be OK at Mount Tahoma. That’s why we go there. I want kids to step into the blocks or starting line and think to themselves, ‘I’m ready.’ ”
The meet brings elite high school athletes from around the Northwest, Alaska and British Columbia, giving them valuable opportunities to compete against some of the best.
The Tides’ talented distance team was on full display over the weekend. In the 1,500-meter race, senior Logan Carroll finished fourth with a time of 3 minutes, 58.30 seconds, junior Tristan Peloquin finished sixth at 4:03.39 and senior Wolfgang Beck finished 12th at 4:07.12. In the 3,000-meter, the Tides finished 2-4-6. Carroll finished second at 8:22.08, Peloquin finished at 8:25.41 and Beck finished at 8:26.94. While the 3,000-meter is rarely run in high school track — the 3,200 is standard — the times recorded were some of the nation’s best.
“That race was the No. 1 through 6 times in the nation for 3,000-meters,” Eager said. “Those times all converted to either just under or just over 9 minutes flat for the 3,200, national level status. So if you take that 3,000 and convert it, those are the sorts of times that win state at the end of the year.”
While the race does bring elite talent, it doesn’t bring an unrealistic level of talent in the races. Some races will have 30 of the best runners in the whole nation in one race, which creates an unrealistic pace, according to Eager. While the Oregon Relays were loaded with talent, it wasn’t completely stacked top to bottom, which creates a more realistic race in which the runners have to create and maintain their own pace, not run with the pace of an elite pack.
“The times are more true, what you can run in a real race,” Eager said. “It makes them look even better.”
The Tides also continued building some depth, as freshman Jack Shields finished in third in the 3,000-meter freshmen finals with a time of 9:24.46. Shields was a member of the Tides’ national title cross-country team in the fall, and is adjusting to track.
“The two guys that beat him there are more mature in terms of their speed than he is,” Eager said. “What Jack learned on that day is to trust himself a little more.”
Shields will have plenty of time to hone his skills throughout his high school career, and is already further along than most of his ninth-grade counterparts. The Oregon Relays provides an opportunity for all the athletes to evaluate where they can improve.
“We don’t go to Oregon to put on a show and display how good we are, that’s absolutely not the reason,” Eager said. “We go there to expose our weaknesses and learn what we have to do better in the future.”
Senior sprinter Garrett Steuk, who is coming off a series of injuries, had a strong showing this past weekend, coming in 19th in the 100-meter at 11.44 seconds, and 11th in the 200 at 23.06. Steuk is an integral part of the Tides’ state title aspirations, and Eager said he is pleased with his progress.
“His big thing is that his top gear isn’t there yet,” Eager said. “I was really surprised with his speed and his endurance, his ability to hold speed. We just got to work on that top gear. That’s the last thing to come back, he’s in a pretty good spot. He’ll be just fine. He’s really talented. It always comes around. It’ll come around by the time we’re at league.”
Junior Charlie Dahlstrom took 18th in the shot put and 11th in the discus, despite battling illness the past couple of weeks.
“Some of his technical stuff is really coming on,” Eager said. “We just gotta get him back into a groove.”
Senior Reese Carlson took 11th overall in the long jump with a distance of 6.43 meters. While Carlson has no shortage of natural ability, this is his first year in track, and he still has room to grow.
“Reese still actually has to do a lot of training,” Eager said. “We’ll see how much of that we get. Right now, the nice thing is he’s got himself a spot and should be one of the top guys in the league. When you get into districts, it’s really whoever is the best on that day.”
On the girls side, junior Brenna Peloquin stole the show, placing first in the 3,000 at 10:20.59 and fourth in the 1,500 at 4:45.72.
“The 3,000 was an easy day for her,” Eager said. “She actually could’ve run faster. That time she ran corresponded close to her PR (personal record). That’s a good day for her and a good confidence-builder.”
Eager said the 1,500-meter was the more difficult race.
“There were some freaks in the 15,” Eager said. “She actually ran a lot harder there; (she) ran four seconds off her lifetime best equivalent to the 16 (1,600).”
Eager said Peloquin has a lot of natural talent and he has to be careful not to over-coach her with special workouts.
In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Alison Corsi finished ninth at 15.85. In the 300, she finished eighth at 47.59, while freshman Leahi Manthei finished 18th at 48.26.
“She (Corsi) had a really good day in the 100-meter hurdles,” Eager said, adding that she beat her season-best time by half a second. “She had a poor start — we’re still working on that — but hurdles two through seven, she was one of the fastest in the race. The last three hurdles, she got a little wonky on them.”
The Tides, along with Bellarmine Prep, will travel to South Kitsap for its next meet Thursday.Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 email@example.com Twitter: @gateway_jon