Sequim High senior Riley Pyeatt, pictured here with (from left) mom Tracie, cross country/track coach BJ Schade and dad Doug, signs a letter of intent to compete with the Abilene Christian track team on Nov. 10. Sequim gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim High senior Riley Pyeatt, pictured here with (from left) mom Tracie, cross country/track coach BJ Schade and dad Doug, signs a letter of intent to compete with the Abilene Christian track team on Nov. 10. Sequim gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Prep sports: Pyeatt picks Abilene Christian

Riley Pyeatt has been running down her dream of an NCAA Division I scholarship on Sequim’s track and trails for years now, and all the hard work, the interval training, long-distance conditioning and the dedication to self-improvement has paid off.

Pyeatt capped a heady stretch of days which saw her claim a fifth-place finish at the Class 2A state cross-country championships by signing her letter of intent last week to run track at NCAA Division I Abilene Christian University.

ACU is a Western Athletic Conference school located on the central plains of Texas about 2-and-a-half hours from Dallas.

The school earned some national notoriety last spring when its men’s basketball team upset the University of Texas in the first round of March Madness.

Pyeatt pledged herself to four more years in purple after a trip to Texas with her mom Traci.

“A couple of months ago, I received a text from their main coach, Christian Gilliard, and he offered to have us come out and visit,” Pyeatt said. “They showed us the campus and the facilities, and what I liked the best was they didn’t hold my hand.”

Secure in her faith and a 4.0 student, Pyeatt said her decision factored in her religion, academics and sports.

“The main aspect I chose ACU is my faith and religion and just about running,” Pyeatt said. “I feel like it’s home there. It’s far away, but I don’t think I’ll get too homesick.”

Other Division I schools such as Presbyterian in South Carolina and Boise State were in the mix, but Pyeatt went with the Wildcats.

Competing for a WAC team, in a conference with a geographic footprint stretching about two-thirds of the USA, also could mean a trip back home to compete with fellow conference member Seattle University.

Pyeatt said she’s likely to focus on the middle distances — the 800-meter and 1,500-meter races — on ACU’s “squishy, purple track.”

But first, she’s got a senior track season to prep for.

On the track, Pyeatt holds the school’s 400-meter record of 57.35 seconds and is second and within reach of Sequim’s best-ever 100. She is also third all-time in the 800 and 1,600.

Pyeatt also ran with the Kitsap Fliers Track and Field Club, taking the 800-meter title at the USATF Pacific Northwest Youth Championships in Tacoma in June, and placing 15th in the 800 at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in Jacksonville in early August.

She was fifth in the 400 at state as a freshman back in 2019, so a high finish on the podium is within reach, and some record-breaking also is part of the plan.

“Yes, I want to try and get the Olympic League 400-meter record which is 56.9 seconds and I’m 57.3. I want to get the mile too, maybe not the 3,200,” Pyeatt said.

Pyeatt was joined at her letter ceremony by her parents Doug and Tracie, her sister Bridget and her track and cross country coach BJ Schade, along with a large group of friends.

“My mom and dad are my biggest supporters, especially my mom, working with me to create all my profiles so I could get recruited,” Pyeatt said.

Sequim’s Riley Pyeatt makes her way of the first hill at the state of the 2A state cross country meet in Pasco on Nov. 6. Pyeatt finished fifth, earning her third top-15 finish at state in three chances. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Sequim’s Riley Pyeatt makes her way of the first hill at the state of the 2A state cross country meet in Pasco on Nov. 6. Pyeatt finished fifth, earning her third top-15 finish at state in three chances. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

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