Lake Oswego junior Kate Peters posts another great finish in the national championship.

COURTESY PHOTO: EASTBAY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS - Lake Oswego junior Kate Peters crosses the finish line to place sixth at the Eastbay Cross Country Championships National Finals on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego.Lake Oswego junior Kate Peters tested herself against the nation's best — again — and once again proved that she was up to the challenge.

Peters, who previously won the Eastbay Cross Country Championships West Regional on Dec. 4, stepped up again at nationals. Peters, running in the Eastbay Cross Country Championships National Finals on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego, ran to sixth place in what she agreed was the biggest race of her life.

"Definitely the biggest race so far," she said. "I was just trying to stay calm and think of it as any other race. I know that if I overthink it, I'll do bad, so I just tried to stay calm but also know it's the biggest race and get really pumped for it."

In addition to the day's great field — it included the best high school girls cross country runners from across the nation — the course at Balboa Park presented challenges, too.

"If you're familiar with the Mount SAC course (site of the West Regional), it's like the toughest cross country race in the U.S." Peters said. "But I found this one to be quite a bit more challenging, maybe because of the better competitors, but I found it very hard."

Peters, who previously won the Three Rivers League title, Class 6A state meet and Eastbay West Regional, entered the national race ranked third and eventually placed sixth among 39 competitors. Peters finished the 5-kilometer race with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds.

While she feels good about her efforts now, Peters admits that she was initially disappointed in her results.

"Right after the race, I was pretty irritated, but now I've had a few days and I'm like, it was actually a pretty good result," said Peters, who finished just five seconds out of fourth place. "I'm pretty happy with it. Sixth place is not terrible."

Natalie Cook of Flower Mound High School in Flower Mound, Texas — she was the South regional champion — won the event with a time of 17:15.0.

While her 2021 cross country season is effectively over, Peters said she enjoyed the experience of racing the country's best runners and vowed to learn from the experience.

"I just have to learn how to race them, because so far, I've been racing girls who are really good, but there's only like maybe one or two girls to challenge me in a race," Peters said. "Here, the whole group of 40 girls was super good — they were all up there with me and challenging me — so I feel like I have to learn, take this experience and move forward to learn how to do it next year in the upcoming races."

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!