Brooks Peters ’23 is making the most of his final collegiate cross country season. Last Tuesday, Peters earned First Team All-NESCAC honors after placing seventh in the NESCAC Championships and helping men’s cross country secure fifth place—its best finish since 2013.
Peters found himself in first place a quarter mile into the race and finished the 8k in 25 minutes and 31 seconds.
“We’ve started to just go from the gun,” Peters said. “This was by no means the plan, but I was just so excited. There were so many things going on at the starting line. There’s bagpipes playing … it’s just an intense scene.”
He attributes much of his success to training and bonding with teammates over the summer, which boosted his confidence going into the season.
“I wanted to leave no stone unturned, and so I was on campus with a couple teammates,” Peters said. “I’d become a little bit obsessed. I’m pushing a little harder than I normally have … I was just having a lot of fun with it and so far it’s translated to some really good races.”
Among these races was an early season win at Colby College—Peters’ first individual win in a collegiate race. He followed with a third-place finish at the Bates Super-XC Invitational and placed second at the Maine State Championship.
“[I] ran kind of out of my mind: performances that I didn’t think were possible last year,” Peters said.
Part of his success stems from healthy competition with teammate Will Goddard ’25. Peters values having a partner to pace with during races. Their training has paid off, as they lead the team and fuel each other’s competitive drives.
“We push each other a lot; we talk to each other. We don’t beat around the bush about wanting to beat each other, but at the same time, we’re very much on the same team,” Peters said.
While growing up in Bozeman, Mont., running was not always Peters’ priority. Peters grew up playing soccer through his freshman year of high school before switching to cross country. Peters credits his dad with sparking his running journey by dragging him along on runs at a young age.
“Brooks is a running brand and so he got me a Brooks running brand poster that said, ‘Run happy: Brooks.’ That was in my room for a while and I just remember feeling … I’m meant to be a runner,” Peters said.
Peters’s high school cross country team won the Nike Cross Nationals his first year on the team, which he views as a turning point in his relationship with the sport. Seeing his teammates succeed on a national stage made Peters realize his own potential, so he pushed himself to compete collegiately at a high level.
Last year, Peters qualified individually in the NCAA Division III Championships. This year, he hopes to make it back and qualify as a team.
“We’ve had this day circled. We knew our best race would have to be this Saturday for a long time,” Peters said. “We’ve all done this so many times, just trusting in ourselves, I think, will be what’s going to be stressed most.”
Peters has a few pre-race rituals he hopes to do before his race this weekend.
“I’ve been listening to the Barbie soundtrack—‘Speed Drive.’ That’s the last song I listened to before a lot of these races,” Peters said.
Peters will compete in the NCAA DIII East Regional on Saturday at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H.