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Patty Ley

Distances and Head XC Coach

Patty Ley is the premier name in our sport from the greater Gig Harbor area. As a multi-time state champion, multi-event state record holder, and multi-team title winning athlete at Gig Harbor in both cross country and track and field, she has progressed from athlete to Hall of Fame coach and mentor in her long and storied career.

Patty spent three years at Gig Harbor from 1981 through 1983. She left with two track team titles, two cross country team titles, three individual state titles in track and field and another two individual cross country titles, as well as two other 4x400m relay titles. Upon finishing her career, her name was etched atop the record board at Gig Harbor in the 800m, 1600m, 3200m, and 4x400m Relay.

After running for both the University of Oregon and Washington State University, Patty finished her collegiate career as a multi-event All-American at Pacific Lutheran University, where she again attained school records in the 800m and 1500m that were still standing as of 2020, 28 years after she set them. Her senior year was capped off by qualifying for the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 1500m.

Immediately after finishing her career at PLU, she returned to Gig Harbor to teach and coach, mentoring the finest distance runners in the state during Gig Harbor's outstanding run of championships in the mid 1990s. In 1999 her high school coach and mentor Joel Wingard turned the program over to her, and by the mid 2000s her teams went on the most dominant run in state history for a 4A school. During this time, the girls cross country team at Gig Harbor placed 2nd in 2004 (losing on a tiebreaker), won in 2005, 2006, and 2007, then placed second by a single point in 2008. In 2009 they were 4th. The 2005 team was invited to the Nike Cross National Championships, and the 2007 boys were 4A state runners-up, coming 3 points short of winning. More recently the 2021 Tides squads finished 2nd (boys) and 3rd (girls) as the sport returned from the COVID pause. Individually, Patty coached over two dozen podium athletes in boys and girls XC and track and field, including champions Miles Unterreiner ('07 XC, '08 1600m and 3200m), Anna Kalbrener (2008 800m), and Alyssa Andrews (2008 XC).

Patty moved on to collegiate coaching in the fall of 2010, eventually taking the helm of the women's distance program at Gonzaga University. With few scholarships and no tradition to speak of, she molded her team in 2015 into NCAA National XC qualifiers.

Our program counts itself blessed that Patty chose to return to coach our distance runners in 2019, just in time to mentor Bradley Peloquin in his senior year to dominating state championship and school record performances in the 1600m and 3200m. Patty is not only recognized by us as a living legend; she has been inducted into the Gig Harbor High School Hall of Fame and the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame as well. Objectively, no one has contributed as much to the sport, our program, and this community as she has over the course of her career.