Once rivals, Barrett, Pegher now run together for Baldwin


Carson Chapel

Philip Pegher (left) and Andrew Barrett have run together since freshman year, but they ran against each other much earlier than that.

Carson Chapel and Adam Degenhardt

When they were young runners at different Catholic grade schools, seniors Phillip Pegher and Andrew Barrett were once rivals, but as they came to Baldwin High School they became a dangerous duo for other runners to face.

Pegher and Barrett began running against each other in third grade, but they have run with each other since they became freshmen at Baldwin.

“I initially met him because we were always close to each other in races and always in the front pack of top Catholic school runners together,” Barrett said.

These two found out that they were attending the same high school shortly before their eighth grade cross country season started.

“I was excited because I knew we were both talented, and our talent combined could put up a lot of points for Baldwin,” Pegher said.

Pegher attended St. Elizabeth and Barrett went to St. Gabriel.

“Andrew and I used to race against each other every race from third grade to eighth grade, since St. Elizabeth and St. Gabriel would be in most races together,” Pegher said.

As soon as Pegher and Barrett teamed up at Baldwin, they used their competition for motivation.

“Andrew pushed me to be better and keep up with him in workouts and races. I think there is a little rivalry, but not a bad one. It is a rivalry where we push each other to go harder,” Pegher said.

During their Catholic school days against each other, Pegher had his most memorable run in 2016, he said.

“I won the Pittsburgh Diocese Championship. I was coming into the race knowing I would be in the top. When I got into first place I knew I had to keep it and I did,” Pegher said. “It made me so happy and it was memorable that all my hard work that season paid off.”

Barrett, meanwhile, feels that his most memorable race was the WPIAL championship last year.

“Despite the tough course making everyone get slower times than usual, it was one of my best high school races. I showed that I was a top WPIAL runner by placing 24th and I improved my time on that course by 40 seconds from last year,” Barrett said.

Participation in the sport for Pegher started with his mom’s love for running.

“My mom really inspired me to run. She would go out in the morning and invite me to come along, and I fell in love with it,” Pegher said.

Pegher’s younger brother and teammate Max Pegher feels that no one works harder than Philip.

“People don’t know the hours and dedication Philip has put into the sport. I remember him running every day for years just to get better,” Max Pegher said.

Barrett also got into running because of his mom, and soon he realized he had a gift for running.

“She thought cross country would be a good way to keep me in shape for other sports at the time,” He said. “By the end of my first season, I realized I had some talent for running.”

Barrett trains almost all year around, by himself and with his team.

“I usually run six days a week all year round other than my couple weeks between seasons that I get a break from running. It’s very important to take those between season breaks to give your body a little bit of rest before you start training hard again,” he said.

Max Pegher complimented the two seniors on their dedication to their sport.

“They both have been running since elementary school and have put more hours into the sport than anyone could imagine,” he said.

Sophomore runner Andrew Winschel sees the leadership that the two bring to the team.

“They are good leaders and captains because they don’t forget about anyone,” Winschel said. “They are always looking out for others.”

They also motivate the people around them to get better.

“They help me get faster and gain endurance by encouraging me and teaching me how to run,” Max Pegher said.

Winschel agreed.

“I always try to work toward their goals and maybe break their personal records,” Winschel said.

While these two run cross country, the current indoor track season, and outdoor track, they both prefer outdoor.

“I like outdoor track better because I feel that it pushes me to be better with all the competition and all the people cheering me on and watching,” Pegher said.

“I prefer outdoor track because more people do it and it is much easier to train in the spring weather than winter weather, which makes it easier to improve my times,” Barrett said.

Colleges are looking at both of these runners, and St. Francis University is a top school for them both. They each have toured and met the St. Francis coach, they said.

“I am looking at the last few colleges before I make my decision. Some of my top schools are St. Francis University, Campbell University, IUP, and West Liberty University,” Barrett said.

With their senior season approaching, both Barrett and Pegher look to continue to outperform their opponents and reach new heights in WPIALs and states.