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Peters outkicks the leaders down the stretch; will compete in national meet Saturday.

COURTESY PHOTO: EASTBAY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS - Lake Oswego junior Kate Peters crosses the finish line to win the Eastbay Cross Country Championships West Regional meet in Walnut, California, on Saturday, Dec. 5.Lake Oswego's Kate Peters is a woman of her word.

Back in October, Peters — a Lake Oswego junior — said that her season goals included winning the Three Rivers League title, winning the Class 6A state meet and winning the Eastbay Cross Country Championship West Regional.

So far, she has checked all three of those boxes successfully, most recently winning the Eastbay regional meet under sunny skies at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Peters won the event in a field of 99 that included the best runners from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and U.S. citizens in overseas military installations.

KATE PETERS

"I was hoping to win the race — that was my goal from the beginning of the season."

— Kate Peters

"I was hoping to win the race — that was my goal from the beginning of the season," Peters said. "I felt very comfortable. I was trying to use as little energy as possible to win the race and save as much as I could for nationals next weekend."

Peters ran with the leaders for most of the 5-kilometer race, then hit the accelerator in the final 600 meters to win with a finishing time of 17 minutes, 19 seconds on the challenging, hilly course.

"It was really tough," Peters said of the course. "We started in a parking lot (for a mile) … and then we went up this giant hill. … After the switchbacks (on the hill), we went downhill and up another humongous hill, then back down again and up one more hill. It was definitely challenging."

Peters beat runner-up Sadie Engelhardt (a freshman from Ventura, California, who finished in 17:24) by five seconds and Olivia Williams (a sophomore from Lafayette, California, who finished at 17:26) by seven. Kaiya Robertson, a senior from Franklin High School, was the next-best Oregon finisher, placing sixth overall at 17:43.

"I decided to go behind the leaders the whole way, and then about 600 meters out, I was able to outkick (them)," Peters said. "I was pretty familiar with most of them because I had been racing them for several years, and I did a little research before (the race) on each of them."

Next up, Peters will compete against runners from the Midwest, South and Northeast regionals meets in the Eastbay Cross Country Championships National Finals, set for Saturday, Dec. 11, at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego.

"I won the regional one, so I feel very confident for (nationals)," Peters said. "It's really good. I'm very happy to get to the national meet. Because of COVID, there was no national meet last year so I'm very thankful for the opportunity."


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