Boise State sophomore-to-be Allie Ostrander was within striking distance of becoming the Broncos’ first female to compete in the Summer Olympics, but a late fade against an elite pack of runners resulted in an eighth-place finish in the women’s 5,000-meter final during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Sunday at Hayward Field.
Ostrander broke the Mountain West record in the event by crossing the line in 15 minutes, 24.74 seconds. American record holder Molly Huddle won the event in 15:05.01.
“It was not exactly what I was hoping for. I was hoping to compete with the top girls a little bit more,” Ostrander told reporters after the race. “I think the slow start to the race put a damper on my racing style, where I like more of a steady pace, and the constant pickup throughout the race was really hard for me to keep up with. And in the end, I just didn’t quite have the legs for it.”
The 10-time Alaska high school state champion and 2015 NCAA cross country runner-up started in Lane 1 and stayed inside the entire race, losing some ground on turns but carrying straight-line momentum. She started sixth, dropped to eighth for the middle stretches of the race and surged to fourth with a mile remaining.
She remained within a second of Huddle with three laps to go, but the lead pack broke away over the final 1,000 meters. After a 71-to-73-second pace throughout the race, Huddle ran a 63.23 final lap. Shelby Houlihan (15:06.14) and Kim Conley (15:10.62) also qualified for Rio.
Ostrander completes her first Broncos season with the Mountain West and NCAA West Region cross country titles, a MW indoor track and field championship in the distance medley relay and three conference track records — despite not competing outdoors this spring. Sunday’s effort accompanies her indoor 3,000 (8:54.27) and 5,000 (15:21.85) marks.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who encouraged me through this whole journey,” Ostrander said. “It wasn’t just my family, teammates, coaches and friends, it was also people around town, people sending me Twitter and Facebook messages and people yelling encouraging words as I ran by. I know all those things seem really small, but to me they add up and become even bigger, and I just appreciate all of it.”