MOUNTAIN IRON — Since he was a freshman, it’s been a goal for Jericho Peterson to make it to state in track and field. As a senior, that goal has been accomplished and Peterson has his eyes set on coming home with the gold in the 100 meter dash.
Peterson enters this weekend’s state meet seeded third in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.07. He’s also competing in the 200 meter dash and is seeded ninth with a time of 22.78.
Finishing fourth in the 100 last year at the 7A championships, Peterson says the biggest difference to help make the jump to state this year was his own personal motivations.
“I just had to motivate myself a lot more I think,” Peterson said Tuesday at the Mountain Iron-Buhl High School. “I knew going in that it was my last year and it would be a disappointment not to make it to state. As an athlete, I just like to better myself and I think making those improvements to get to state was what I needed to do.”
For his coach, Eric Drake, Peterson advancing to the state meet was something he had expected to happen for quite some time.”
“He wasn’t not going to state this year,” Drake said. “I knew going into the season that he was primed to have a great season in the 100 and the 200 turned out to be a nice surprise.
“In the past, it was hard to get him and some of the other guys to run more than 100 meters but he tried it once and we could tell we found another race for him.”
Looking at the seeds, Peterson said he’ll focus most of his attention on the 100 but still hopes for decent success in the 200.
“I’ll try my best in both,” Peterson said. “But in the 100 you need to get all the minor details of the race down perfect if you want to get your best time. In the 200, I’m seeded ninth and I want to make those finals so I’ll just need to give it my all in that race too.”
Coaching the seasoned sprinter, Drake says Peterson’s times in the last four weeks leading up to state have been nothing short of remarkable.
“His times have been getting consistently better in both of the races over the last month. Even in the 100, as short as the race is, he’s continuing to shave off two-tenths of a second off his time and that’s really unheard of.
“I told him now you don’t need to shave off two-tenths, just get one more tenth and you’re a state champion.”
Looking back, Peterson and some of his past teammates had aspirations of state as early as their freshmen year of school, but finally getting it done in his senior year has a much bigger meaning to Peterson.
“It’s pretty awesome to get to go to state twice as a senior,” Peterson said referencing the MI-B football team that advanced to state earlier in the year. “I’m glad I get to go to state in another sport and experience that atmosphere one more time. It should be a lot of fun.”