By Garrett Zatlin - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent
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The new coaching staff at the University of Oregon is already having an impact in the high school recruiting circuit.
That's because on Thursday, Oregon native Kate Peters made public her decision to flip from her original commitment of Oklahoma State to her home state Oregon Ducks in the fall of 2023.
The Lake Oswego High School senior originally committed to Oklahoma State back in March.
For those unfamiliar with Peters' accolades, let's get you caught up to speed.
The West Coast superstar has been a top-ranked Class of 2023 recruit for the last few seasons, producing elite distance marks on numerous occasions.
The newest Duck commit has run 4:49 for the mile, 9:25 for 3,000 meters, 10:11 for 3,200 meters and 16:40 for 5,000 meters on the grass.
Peters placed ninth at the 2019 Team XC National Championships and then sixth at the Eastbay XC National Championships this past fall.
Peters cited the hiring of Shalane Flanagan, Oregon's newest assistant coach, as a reason for her switch.
Flanagan is a now-retired professional runner who counts among the greatest-ever American women's distance talents.
Peters' sudden change of heart is monumental for the Oregon women. Not only will she provide the Ducks with elite distance talent, but she may even attract the attention of other top-ranked recruits who are interested in Oregon.
Over the last few years, Oregon's recruiting on the women's side has been very respectable. In fact, they've had a few of the deeper distance-centric freshman classes throughout the NCAA as of late.
However, the addition of a truly elite American high school star like Peters had previously eluded the Ducks.
Incoming transfers were limited during the Helen Lehman-Winters' coaching era and a highly-touted overseas recruit in Keely Small only toed the line for two meets this past year before leaving the program.
But with Peters set to join this program in 2023, the future of distance running for the Oregon women suddenly looks so much brighter.
And then there's Oklahoma State, a team that is on the unlucky end of this recent recruiting development.
The women's team has been rising in the cross country ranks over the last year or two, positioning themselves for exciting success this fall and in future seasons.
While that narrative will likely continue with or without Peters, it's also fair to say that she could have been a home-run hitter for the squad.
In theory, the Oregon native would have significantly extended Oklahoma State's window for a podium finish and maybe even a national title, especially after the team landed consensus No. 1 Natalie Cook over this past recruiting cycle.
Even so, Oklahoma State has an overwhelming group of young stars ready joining their roster this fall.
Not only did Coach Dave Smith and his staff land superstar high schoolers like Cook (TX), Kaylie Politza (IN), Cameron McConnell (TX) and Aubrey O'Connell (TX) from the Class of 2022, but they also added Kenya native Billah Jepkirui to their roster who has run 4:11 for 1,500 meters.
As disappointing as Peters' reversal may be for Oklahoma State, the program should still be primed for a continued streak of national-caliber dominance.
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