Boise State distance standout Emma Bates will chase her first first-team All-American honor Friday in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship at Arkansas.
Bates, a junior indoors but a sophomore outdoors, finished 12th in the outdoor 5,000 meters last season.
She's ranked No. 7 in the indoor 5,000 this season - despite running it just once, last week in a last-chance qualifier. She needs a top-eight finish in the 16-woman race Friday to make the All-American first team.
"I always like to get what I rank or better, so that would be really great," Bates said. "All-American would be nice."
Last month, she defended her Mountain West title in the indoor 3,000. She failed to run an NCAA-qualifying time in part because she had to run the mile earlier in the day.
She planned to run the 3,000 at the last-chance meet, at Washington, but the field wasn't strong enough to push the pace. She entered the 5,000 instead and won with a school-record time of 15 minutes, 50.78 seconds.
The indoor 5,000 is a challenging race because of the banked curves - 50 of them at that distance.
"That takes a toll on the body," Bates said.
But longer races are her strength - she runs the 5,000 and 10,000 outdoors - so she's confident at this distance.
"I'm more nervous for the shorter races," she said, "so the 5k, I'm a little more comfortable in. It gives you more time to make up the time that you lost."
SOFTBALL PLUGS ALONG WITH NEW STARTERS
The softball team dropped the opener of a three-game series at No. 16 Arizona 9-5 on Thursday. The game was moved up a day to avoid bad weather Friday. There is a doubleheader Saturday.
The Broncos (9-11) make their home debut next week at Dona Larsen Park with the SpringHill Suites Invitational. They play six games in three days, beginning with Utah State at 2 p.m. March 15.
The fifth-year Boise State program has five new starters this season as it transitions away from the players who started the program.
"Obviously there were some games that we were hoping we were going to be able to come away with a win," coach Erin Thorpe said, "but with the relatively new roster we have on the team, it's been nice to see how we've come out and competed in some games. We're still learning how to play together and how to expect a certain level of play from ourselves every time we hit that field."