KENT — Peter Kesting’s smile was as big as it could ever be as he walked off the track and toward Olympia High School track and field coach Jesse Stevick.
Kesting beat his personal record in the 1,600 meters by more than 8 seconds with a time of 4 minutes, 11.54 seconds and set an Olympia High record in earning the top seed out of the West Central/Southwest bidistrict championships to the 4A state championships.
After hugging Stevick and speaking with his family, Kesting was still in disbelief Friday.
“Where that came from, I couldn’t tell you. But it felt great,” Kesting said.
Kesting missed the district and state meets last year because of the flu and said he had been hampered by tendinitis in his upper right leg for the first half of this season.
He trailed Federal Way’s Mitch Stewart heading into the final lap but passed him on the first turn and sprinted into the finish.
Kesting also defeated some of the state’s top distance runners in Gig Harbor’s Logan Carroll, Wolfgang Beck, Mahmoud Moussa and Tristan Peloquin — who were part of the Tides’ national championship cross country team in the fall.
It made Kesting do some goal re-evaluation.
“Considering I beat Wolf and Logan, I’ll put (a state championship) as my goal,” Kesting said. “I have no idea where this came from, but I have a new goal: win state.”
Said Stevick: “I wouldn’t say I expected this, but I told him before the race that he had a chance to win if he could hang with that front pack because then it would just come down to his kick at the end. I think he has a lot of room to be able to improve off of this.”
Olympia’s Sofia Kane wasn’t as successful in the girls 1,600. But that was because she lost to the state’s new all-time fastest 1,600 runner.
Kane placed fifth in 4:59.84 to qualify for the state championships. Camas’ Alexa Efraimson, who beat Kane in the 1,600 race last year, won in 4:37.85 — passing Bellarmine Prep’s Brie Felnagle (2005) for the state’s all-time fastest outdoor 1,600.
Central Kitsap’s Rose Christen placed fourth in 4:59.76, and Gig Harbor’s Brenna Peloquin was third in 5:59.76.TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 email@example.com @TJCotterill