Donovan Peek wrote down his goals for the season and posted them on his bedroom mirror.
It didn’t take long for the senior on the Green Valley wrestling team to complete the list, either.
“I’m just trying to win state,” Peek said, “and improve on what I’ve worked on for the past four years and a little bit before high school.”
Peek finished second at the NIAA state tournament each of the past two seasons, and the Gators’ 160-pound standout hopes to avoid a similar fate in February.
Peek also is a big reason Green Valley is expected to contend for its third consecutive state team title.
“He’s on a mission,” Gators coach Jon Ferry said. “He sets his goals high. They’re realistic goals, and it’s very obtainable for him this year, not only to perform his best at the state tournament, but every tournament we go to, we will get his best.”
As a sophomore, Peek lost 4-3 to Drew Smith of Damonte Ranch in the 152-pound state final. The two met again last season for the 160-pound state title, and Smith came away with a 9-5 decision.
Smith graduated in the spring, though, leaving Peek as one of the favorites this season in the 160-pound weight class.
“It’s something I think about every day, about not winning state twice and losing to the same person,” Peek said. “It just gives me that extra motivation every year to try to work a little bit harder and improve on myself, so that way I don’t have that happen to me again for my senior year. That’d be kind of a bummer.”
Peek comes from a military family — his father is retired from the Army and also served in the Air Force — and said he moved every three years.
Peek, who has attended six schools, was born in Panama and has lived in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi and Maryland.
Peek went to Reservoir High School in Fulton, Md., as a freshman before arriving at Green Valley, where he made an immediate impression on the Gators’ coaching staff. Peek is hoping to attend one of the service academies and plans to major in mechanical engineering.
“He is an ideal athlete, not just wrestler,” Ferry said. “He’s a quiet leader, and he’s probably the toughest guy in the room. He’s got all the tools.
“He’s got the respect of everybody, and that’s not always easy to do. Kids look up to him because of how he carries himself. He’s successful, yet he’s humble.”
Peek is the two-time defending Sunrise Region champion and finished third at the Western Junior Regional Freestyle in April to qualify for the USA Wrestling/ASICS Junior National Championships.
Peek can wrestle “toe-to-toe with anybody on their feet,” Ferry said, but he needs to improve his ability to control and turn opponents when he is in the top position.
“We’re trying to improve his mat wrestling,” Ferry said. “We’re trying to develop him into a more well-rounded wrestler instead of a one-dimensional wrestler. ... I’m pretty confident we’ll help him improve in that aspect of his game.”
Peek is one of three captains for the Gators, who return 14 letterwinners and will be tough to unseat at the state tournament because of their strength at the lighter weights.
Two-time state champion Sean Cannon will move from 113 to 120 pounds, while Josh Temple, the defending state champ at 120 pounds, will wrestle at 126. Also, 132-pounder Jared Brathor won a state title in 2012 before placing fourth last season at 126.
“The schools around here have good wrestlers, not taking anything away from them,” Peek said. “It’s just that we always have that goal (of a state title). If we keep putting in hard work, I think that goal will be more likely achieved because of the sweat and the blood we put in.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.