Skip to main content

Lake Oswego star Kate Peters about to face a whole new level of competition at world track championships: ‘It excites me and motivates me to train for it’

“It’s going to be a fun experience, competing against the best under-20s in the world.”

By René Ferrán  

Kate Peters’ commitment to Oklahoma State University has already paid dividends to her career.

The rising Lake Oswego senior won’t enroll in Stillwater until next fall, but since announcing her commitment to the Cowgirls program, she has been in constant contact with the coaching staff.

One coach a few months ago broached the subject of Peters running at the U.S. U-20 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“He asked if I would be running in it, and I said, ‘Yeah, sounds like a lot of fun,’” Peters said.

So, there Peters was Saturday evening, toeing the same 3,000-meter start line as a month ago at the OSAA Class 6A state championships.

And just like on that day, she came away a champion — only this time, with the bonus of qualifying for the U-20 world championships in August in Cali, Colombia.

Peters took control of the race in Lap 3 and never let anyone get back into it, winning by almost seven seconds in 9 minutes, 34.78 seconds.

“I’m very excited,” Peters said Sunday morning. “It’s going to be a fun experience, competing against the best under-20s in the world.”

Peters followed the same strategy Saturday that she did at the state meet — seizing the initiative early and setting a withering pace — although that wasn’t her plan initially.

When she saw that several of her top rivals, including Massachusetts prep phenom Ellie Shea and three college freshmen (Mia Barnett of Virginia, Kaybree Christensen of Utah State and Hayden Gold of Baylor), had dropped out, plans quickly changed.

“Once I noticed my biggest competitors decided not to run, I felt I had a better shot by taking control of the race and stringing it out,” Peters said. “So, I hung with the pack for two laps, then I decided to take the race. It worked out well.”

Peters steadily increased her lead until with two laps to go, the gap had increased to more than 18 seconds. She couldn’t keep that pace forever in the late-afternoon heat, but while BYU freshman Analee Weaver (Thursday’s 5,000 winner) ate into her lead, Peters had enough in the tank to close out the victory.

Peters became the seventh athlete with Oregon prep ties to qualify for worlds and the sixth who’ll make the trip to Colombia. She’s looking forward to having some familiar faces like fellow U-20s distance champion Tyrone Gorze of Crater and Lakers teammate Mia Brahe-Pedersen joining her on Team USA.

“It’s so cool that so many Oregon kids qualified,” Peters said. “It’s nice to have that connection being in a new place for a whole new experience. I’ll be around people I recognize and know, so that’ll be really nice.”

As for the experience itself, Peters knows she’s about to enter deeper waters than what she’s faced the past year. She initially thought she'd have little chance at a top finish, but after doing a bit of research into the competition she’ll face in Colombia, her outlook brightened.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be an hour ago,” she said. “My goal would be to finish in the top 10. I’m very excited, because I could be in the mix. It excites me and motivates me to train for it.”

More Oregon track and field stories