Domenic Peretta is in a class by himself in his class.
However, the AA middle distance ace is driven to be the best regardless of the size of the school.
For the second consecutive year, the Beaver Falls runner stormed into Shippensburg as the heavy favorite to win PIAA gold. He picked up career state golds No. 3 and 4 without a challenge Saturday.
“We're already looking forward to college for him and just making sure he's healthy and ready to stay on track and that his times keep improving for next year,” said Amy Taylor, Peretta's coach. “I know that he doesn't settle for anything less than his best, and that's why he'll keep pushing for it.”
With a run-from-the-front, stay-in-front style, Peretta finished first in his prelims for Saturday’s finals in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. Chasing his bright orange uniform proved to be as difficult in the medal races as it was in the prelims, with the junior immediately opening leads that grew all the way to the line.
Peretta ran his fastest 1,600 of the season in the AA final, turning four laps in a PA#6 4 minutes, 13.92 seconds. Sebastian Curtin of Mercyhurst Prep was the runner-up in a distant 4:18.83.
In the 800, Peretta again bolted to the front and was off against the clock. Victory came in 1:53.30, with Mt. Carmel’s David Fletcher next in 1:56.40.
“I really don't know after today,” Peretta said of what he believes is his better event. “I thought it was the 8, but then I ran that 1:53.3. Wow. Maybe I’m better at the 1600.”
In addition to his top 10 state listing in the 1,600, Peretta is PA#5/US#16 in the 800 with his 1:51.50 from the WPIAL final and PA#2/US#19 in the mile at 4:11.53 from the Baldwin Invitational.
“I go back and forth on that all the time,” Taylor said of Peretta’s better distance. “It's hard to determine because he runs every race uncontested.
“When he's pushed, he can shatter the times that he's already run. He ran 4:11 in the mile this year, and I think if anything that would be the highlight this season.”
A three-year state track qualifier, Peretta will turn his attention to the cross country season where he is twice a state medalist after a possible trip to the Pennsylvania Distance Festival on June 2.
“He's stubborn in a good way,” Peretta’s coach said. “Even in the semis, you’ll see him relaxed but if somebody comes up on him, he’ll stay there and make sure that he gets that (place). I think that’s a testament to his hard work and diligence.
“He came here as a freshman, and he wasn’t happy. He didn’t make the final in the 800, which was the only event that he qualified in. You could see the hunger after that. Even before that, running in dual meets, I knew he was special. And if we kept after him, he would be more special.”
And looking further into the future, the Division I prospect wants two more golds at Shippensburg in 2016.
“I definitely want to win states next year in both events,” the soft-spoken junior said. “I would be really grateful if that happened.