In the fifth grade, baseball was the favorite sport of Loyola track star Peter Archibald. He and his team had taken to the field for a warm-up before a game. While Archibald was playing catch with a fellow outfielder, one of his teammates called his name. As he turned around, he could see in his peripheral vision one of the pitchers winding up to hurl a fastball in his direction. This ill-timed game of “think fast” cost 10-year-old Peter one tooth and two trips to the dentist for root canals. His mother also never let him play baseball again.
“It wasn’t funny at the time,” said Archibald. “But it’s a good story now.”
This incident eventually led him from the outfield to the asphalt. Now a senior member of the Loyola track and field squad, Archibald has put together a dominant 2015-2016 season so far. The mid-distance juggernaut ran his personal best times in the 600 meters and 800 meters events. Archibald has not been beaten in any of his three races this calendar year and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Even before coming to Loyola, Archibald had early success with the sport, which elevated from a hobby to his passion. He was named to the varsity squad as a sophomore at Geneva High School in Geneva, Illinois, and in 2012, he took second place in the 800 meter race at the state meet.
This success was not found without guidance from others. Andrew Nelson, a senior member of Archibald’s squad, saw potential in the young runner and took an interest in mentoring him. Nelson also went on in college and is currently training to run for the U.S. Olympic team in the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
“He had very similar times and skill sets [to mine],” Archibald said. “It was good to have him be there as a support and a guide from someone who had already walked the path.”
Nelson and Archibald still train together when they return home on breaks.
As influential as Nelson was to training Archibald as a runner, his efforts do not outshine the support of family. Archibald’s parents and two brothers make regular appearances at his collegiate meets despite the lengthy travel times and busy lives. Track and field has been a fixture in the Archibald family for years as Archibald’s older brother, Nick, had a successful high school track career and took his talent to Indiana Wesleyan University. Archibald said he always looked up to Nick growing up.
“My mom held up my older brother as an example both on and off the track,” the marketing and management double major said. “Now she’s holding me up as an example to Timmy, my younger brother, but really [my parents and brothers] are an example to me. I love them to death and can’t do anything without them. They are more than supportive in anything I do on and off the track.”
Tim Archibald has run track for the last few years and plans to run in high school next year.
Loyola track and field head coach Randy Hasenbank said Archibald is a leader on the team.
“[Archibald is] very approachable and wildly talented,” said Hasenbank. “He maintains a relaxed and confident demeanor and leads by example.”
Senior sprinter Chris Strup agreed with the coach’s observation and said Archibald is a “selectively vocal” leader.
With well under one hour of racing time left in his Loyola track career, Archibald has decided to maintain a dual focus. There is the obvious job search that all seniors face as they wrap up their undergraduate degree, but Archibald said he will also heed his parents’ advice.
“I’m going to take as many moments as I can over these next four months, spend them with my teammates, and enjoy them,” Archibald said. “It’s been one heck of a ride.”
Archibald will join some of his fellow Ramblers at the Iowa State Classic on Feb. 13 in Ame s, Iowa.