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Yearbook Hall of Fame: Sereck Peterson
After growing up in the foster care system, Sereck Peterson found a family in athletics
Published: 5/5/2020 12:03:50 PM

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Growing up was a blur for Sereck Peterson.

“I didn’t enjoy my childhood like a normal kid,” said the Mackay High School senior. 

From late night hoop sessions to moving out of the house as a fourth-grader, Peterson seemed to cherish any possible way to escape a household not suited for a child.

“My biological parents were in and out of prison and it was hard because there was nowhere to go,” Peterson said. “From second to fifth grade, I was basically on my own. I was always outside doing something like playing basketball with friends until 11 at night and I would walk back to the motel that we were living in.”

Originally from Gallup, New Mexico, Peterson spent a large part of his formative years in the foster care system after he and his family moved to the southeast corner of Idaho. After living in Richfield, Rupert, Jerome, Twin Falls and Burley, Peterson never had the chance to establish roots until arriving in Mackay and eventually finding a loving family to adopt him in Michelle and Chris Peterson. 

But Peterson’s childhood method of escapism — playing outdoors — stuck with him well into high school. 

“That kid’s got a motor, and it’s going to take him a long way in life,” said Peterson’s head basketball coach, Kelvin Krosch. “There’s not a kid that could or would outwork Sereck.”

It didn’t take Peterson long to find a sense of belonging in the Miners’ athletic program. As a three-sport athlete, there was rarely a moment in Peterson’s four years he wasn’t competing. 

“When I was growing up, I was playing football and basketball with my older siblings. I quickly fell in love with the game,” he said. “When I moved to Mackay, my dad was the head basketball coach, so I was helping out in practice. I just love to be active and competitive in everything I do.”

Peterson made a splash coming into high school on the basketball court, earning a starting position in his first year, a rare sight according to Krosch. 

“You can probably count on two hands how many kids have been a four-year starter at Mackay,” Krosch said. “I’m a huge believer in effort, and that’s exactly what Sereck is about. He’s going to empty his tank every day at practice and in every game.”

On the football field, Peterson terrorized opposing quarterbacks in eight-man play, filling in at defensive end for the Miners and earning a second-team all-Idaho selection his junior year. But his contributions didn’t stop there. As team captain, Peterson also played tight end and was the Miners’ place kicker. 

In 2019, he joined the Lost Rivers Pirates, a co-op team between Mackay and Butte County. With the Pirates, Peterson helped his squad reach the 1ADI state championship game and was named as a first-team all-Idaho selection.

“What sparked my interest in football was the physical aspect of the game and the competition,” Peterson said. “I really like playing defensive end because I love hitting the quarterback.”

On the basketball court, that same fierce competitiveness drove Peterson to become a defensive menace.

“I was the go to guy to shut down the opponent’s best player,” he said. “I was the spark on defense.”

And while on the court Peterson was known for his aggressive nature, his actions off the court couldn’t have been more caring. 

In his senior year, Peterson took it upon himself to coach Krosch’s brother, Luke, through the Special Olympics in Blackfoot. Luke had become a mainstay of Mackay athletics, Peterson said, always there to hype up the team. And with Peterson’s help, Luke placed second in the 25- and 50-meters. 

“We called him Coach Luke. He was there at every home game and district or state games,” Peterson said. “He was the life of the party.”

But for Peterson, the chance to hit the track for his final spring season was quickly squandered, as the IHSAA announced the suspension and eventual cancellation of athletics statewide.  

Krosch, who’s had a four-year front-row seat to how determined Peterson can be, said the news didn’t stop the young Miner, who he frequently spots running the empty streets of town in the early morning to keep in shape.
“He’ll be remembered for a long time as a player and a person here in the community,” Krosch said. “That just shows you the kind of person he is. He’s got a huge heart.”

Peterson said after graduation, he plans to attend either Montana Western or Idaho State University to study fish and wildlife biology.

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