Peachee looks to put icing on track career
Dakota Peachee could have called an end to his college running career.
He had plenty of reason to do that after coming home with a fifth-place finish last month in the NCAA 3,000-meter steeplechase final, which earned him All-America honors and selection as the Big South Conference male track athlete of the year.
But by roaring to conference, school and personal-best time of 8:43,04, Peachee saw the possibility of being accepted to compete in the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Des Moines and the opportunity to put a litle icing on his cake.
He filed an entry and last week got the word that it had been accepted.
So, instead of devoting all of his attention toward getting into dental school, Peachee will be off Thursday to compete in search of more personal and conference bests.
“I guess you could look at it as icing on the cake,” Peachee said. “If it is, I want it to be a darn good cake.”
The frosting for Peachee would running fast enough to become one of the 12 to advance out of heats Friday into Sunday’s final. His time ranks 24th-best among the 30 entries and is 20-35 seconds off the pace of the runners who will be considered likely to finish in the top three and advance to the world championships.
“Just to make the final and be one of the 12 best in the nation would be pretty cool,” Peachee said.
To even have a shot of advancing out of the Friday’s heats, Peachee will likely have to lower his personal record by 10-12 seconds. He is hoping that the time needed to get to the final is a little slower than that, somewhere in the 8:35 range, which is slower than best times for the top 15 entries.
Peachee believes he can get to 8:35.
“Most of the races, there hasn’t been the speed that will be in this race,” Peachee said. “Most of the races that I’ve run have been tactical races, where you go out slower and then close fast. If you can close big, it’s indicative of your fitness level and that you can run faster times, I’m confident that I can run 8:35.”
One of his tactical races came in the NCAA final. Knowing that he would have a hard time keeping pace with the top three, Peachee tried to stay at the front of the second pack. He led that group at the start of the last laps, was passed by a runner from Brigham Young coming home and finished fifth.
“I wanted to go faster but it was all about placing,” Peachee said. “It was about beating the next guy. My goal was to finish in the top 8 and make All-America. The greater goal was to finish fourth. It was good to fall in between those.
“It was nice to see my coach happy because we haven’t always gotten along the best. It was nice to do something like that for the program. I worked hard to leave with some positive results.”
For this week’s meet, he will get in one last training session here on Wednesday and then fly to Des Monies on Thursday
“I would have liked to have gone out a day earlier just to acclimated,” Peachee said. “But, it’s not that big of a deal. I’ll go somewhere to run and loosen up and will be ready to go.”
After this weekend, Peachee is unsure of how much more competitive running he will do.
“I’d like to find a 1,500 meters or a mile race somewhere,” Peachee said. “I’d like to do the 1,500 and set another conference record. If I can’t find one, then I’d want to see if I can run a sub-4-minute mile. That’s what you dream about in high school. That would be more for me than anything.
Eventually, he will have to make a decision about whether to continue running or focus more on getting ready for dental school entrance exams in September.
“After I take some time off, I’ll sit down and reevaluate whether I keep running or not,” Peachee said. “Right now everything is up in the air. I might continue to run because an athlete has such a short window of time when he can compete, and I could always come back to dental school. But, I don’t know what I might do. I’m just taking things day-to-day.”