Previously published in June 8, 2005 edition of the Sentinel
Webster coaches finally got something to cheer about after a series of bad breaks when Peter Walsh stunned the crowd with his two-mile run to second place.
LACROSSE–– The Webster camp desperately needed something to cheer about- and just when they need it most, along came Peter Walsh.
Still physically shaken by the missing Char Edwards, reeling from losing Elizabeth Quenzer from a groin injury and still upset because Wes Olson missed state in the 800-meter run by 1/1,000th of a second, Webster’s contingent and faithful needed a transfusion.
It was Walsh who provided it.
Trailing in the back of the pack early in the 3,200-meter run Friday, the Webster freshman carefully, methodically picked his spots, kept moving up and finally was in a position to make a run for second place at the wire.
Malachi Cate of Iola-Scandinavia ran away with the race early and would finish in 9:35:72. It was second place that became the prize.
“Somewhere down the stretch Peter must have decided, oh, what the heck, I’m going to go for it,” laughed Coach Jeff Postler.
Eric Werner of Boyceville was just ahead when Walsh made his move. By the time they got to the wire, it was a photo finish- with fans left to conjecture on just who did finish second.
“I kinda leaned into the line and I had to put my foot down before he did. He kinda did this (puffed out his chest) to get across and hit me. He said sorry about that,” said Walsh.
Werner then told Walsh, “I think you might have got me but I was wondering until they announced it,” said the Tiger freshman.
The final results revealed Walsh had finished in 9:46:99 and Werner in 9:47:03. The young man from Danbury had a silver medal.
“I was trying to stay close, then, at the end I thought I had a stronger kick than him and saw I was getting him and tried to put it in the highest gear,” said Walsh.
Walsh probably fulfilled the exact design of running sticking to a plan, heeding his coaches’ advice and picking his spots. “I knew the pace and the coaches told me a bunch of people always start out too fast and I heard at 1:10 that was a good pace and I sawt he guy who won it was back there with me and also Werner, so I just stayed and slowly passed people, that’s what the coaches said,” Walsh explained.
“I wasn’t going for a place until the end,” Walsh added.
“High school practices are a lot tougher and those guys worked me pretty good. Today, they felt, since I didn’t have to run the mile the same day, I would be really fresh.”
Walsh looks back on his season and says the Flambeau meet, in which he ran one extra lap and discovered just how much he had left, was a turning point in his season. “After that I thought I had a chance to go to state but I didn’t think I could take second.”
He also credited senior Wes Olson, his running mate, for helping him discover and maintain a pace. “He helped me a lot this year,” said Walsh.
Walsh surprised everyone when he showed up at the meet without his hair. He had it all shaved off, “It’s been getting in my eyes and for the summer it’s nice and I figured maybe people wouldn’t recognize me,” he laughed.
While Walsh felt the 3,200-meter run was good preparation for Saturday’s 1,600-meter tun he said, “The mile’s going to be tougher.”
Walsh’s distance coach and cross country coach Jim Muus credited Walsh’s success to diligent training. “He puts in all that hard work,” said Muus. “That’s the key. You have to have the right attitude and motivation… that self-motivation. He’s been that kind of person. He’s worked hard all year and all season and he’s had people around him to help,” the coach said.
“It’s been a pleasure to come to practice because they all work their tails off pushing each other, encouraging each other all through the season,” the coach said, adding, “That’s why it’s such a joy to coach.”
“When you’re willing to push yourself, it all pays off,” said the coach.
“I was hoping he’d have a great race and he certainly did.”
“We needed this. We needed a good performance,” the coach added.
“I honestly think he had that race time perfectly. He was very consistent, he surged at the good times and he knew when to recover and finished with a split (final lap) of 1:08 and that was a beautiful finish,” said Ward.
“How many people can say the two mile is that fun to watch?” quizzed Ward. “That was great.”
“He leaned way in… I said to myself, I think he got it,” said Ward.
“We finally got one to go in our favor,” said coach Postler.