Beaver Falls was missing one of its 3,200-meter runners at the Beaver County Invitational April 12, so Tigers coach St. Clair Williams decided to throw Dom Peretta into the race.
It was the last race of the day for Peretta, who had already won the 800 and 1,600 meters at the event.
So Williams told him to take the first mile slow and then give whatever he had left on the second mile.
Peretta had enough to win the event in 10:16.
"We told him to just take it slow at first and to just go and win it," Williams said. "For him to take the first mile at 5:30 and then still end up that fast was incredible."
Peretta, a sophomore, has been incredible for the Tigers all season. His fastest times in the 800 (1:56.24) and 1,600 (4:24.74) also are the fastest reported times in WPIAL Class AA this season.
Last season, he took fourth in the 800-meter race at the WPIAL Class AA meet with a time of 2:00.57 to qualify for the PIAA championships.
"Every day he gets better and better," Williams said. "He's so determined. He's just figuring out now what he can do."
Peretta only started competing in track in eighth grade, so he's relatively new to the sport. He also runs cross country and plays indoor soccer.
He credits his improvement to the sweat he's put in on the track.
"I just try to work harder than everyone else," he said. "I don't want to lose, so I worked hard in the offseason and have improved a lot."
Peretta said he has aspirations to one day run on scholarship for a Division I program and to become an Olympian. But first, he'll set his sights on this season's district and state titles.
Peretta is the top returning WPIAL Class AA runner from the 800 last season, and his best time this season in the event is three seconds faster than the next closest AA competitor, Vincentian's Andrew Koryak.
Peretta's toughest competition in the 1,600 could also come from Koryak, who is five seconds behind Peretta's best time in the event.
Peretta said he wants to get his 800 time down to 1:54 and his 1,600 time into the 4:15 range. Both he and Williams expect him to win the WPIAL championships and place highly at states if he runs his best race.
But how fast Peretta's best race can be is something Williams said he may never know.
"His potential is unlimited really," Williams said. "We give him a time to reach before every race and he always beats it.
"So us coaches are always asking: 'Should we have given him a faster time?'
"We may never know how fast he can go until after he graduates.
"So hopefully I can set a time for him at the WPIAL and state meets that is enough for him to win."