Herald-Whig

'Intrinsic motivation': Push from within drives Blue Devils' Peter

on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 15, 2020 1:20 am

QUINCY

Blake Peter's approach to wrestling is going to have major carryover to his college courses and post-academic career.

He will need to remain surgical and precise.

The Quincy High School senior plans to study pre-medicine at Quincy University in the fall with the goal of going to med school and becoming a doctor. The hard work, diligence and determination it takes and the years of study that await are qualities he already has.

"It has to come from within," said Peter, a 120-pound wrestler and two-sport athlete. "Intrinsic motivation, as my psychology teacher would say."

That teacher also happens to be his soccer coach, and Ron Bridal saw those qualities emerge as Peter developed into a starting defender and team captain.

That's carried over to the wrestling room where Peter prides himself on his work ethic.

"At practice, I work hard," Peter said. "I do the extra sprints. I run that much harder than everyone else. Not only that, but every time I'm out there, I put my heart into it and try as hard as I can."

Such effort has put him in position to challenge for a podium spot in one of the deepest and most talented weight classes at this weekend's 50th Quincy Invitational.

Peter, who is receiving honorable mention in the Illinois Class 3A state rankings, is one of five wrestlers mentioned in their respective state polls at 120.

Palmyra freshman Colin Arch is the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Missouri Class 1, Belleville Althoff's Shawn Minick is No. 5 and Central's Zach Foote is No. 6 in Class 1A, and Cahokia's Zion Dooley is honorable mention in Class 2A.

So getting a medal, let alone a spot in the title match, will be a chore.

"You want to do well, especially at home," Peter said.

That opportunity can't be squandered considering what has happened in the past.

Last year's event was canceled because of inclement weather. Three years ago, when Peter was a freshman, nine of the 23 teams in the field didn't make the trip because of weather-related concerns.

"It's the last time to wrestle in this tournament," said Peter, who finished as a runner-up at 106 pounds as a sophomore. "That's become a common theme."

A four-year varsity wrestler, Peter has taken note at each tournament of the finality his senior season brings. He finished second at the 30-team Mascoutah Invitational and the second at the Lincoln Invitational.

"Everywhere I go, I know it's the last time I get to go there," Peter said. "I give it my all everywhere."

He knows no other way.

"You can't blame anyone else but yourself," Peter said. "If you don't put the work in, you're going to be the one that loses."

He doesn't want to settle for that, not when the Blue Devils play host to the Class 3A sectional in mid-February and postseason success would give him one final opportunity to wrestle in front of the home crowd.

"You can win tournaments all year, but if you don't do good in regionals, you're done," Peter said.

Displaying effort that is surgical and precise, Peter is far from done even with the end in sight.