UPDATE: Boise State sophomore Allie Ostrander finished second in the 3,000 meters Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas.
Ostrander, the national champion in the steeplechase at outdoor nationals last year, finished in 8 minutes, 54.35 seconds, behind Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer (8:53.36). Schweizer won the 5,000 meters at outdoor nationals, where Ostrander took fourth.
“If I’m going to lose to someone, she’s definitely not the worst option,” Ostrander said. “It was my (personal record) ... so it’s good to see I’m moving in the right direction.
“I was kind of waiting for an opportunity, it came down to the last lap and I didn’t quite have it.”
It was the best finish at the indoor championships for a Boise State athlete since Eleni Kafourou won the 2009 women’s triple jump title. Ostrander last reached the indoor nationals in 2016, when a foot injury forced her to be unable to finish the 5,000 meters the first day of the meet. She redshirted last indoor season.
The Broncos’ distance medley relay finished fifth Friday in 10:58.93, just less than 7 seconds behind the winner, Oregon. Senior Amy Pfaff stepped in for junior Sadi Henderson to start the DMR after Henderson fell in the 800 semifinals.
“The DMR was a big disappointment ... (Pfaff) stepped in and did an amazing job,” Ostrander said. “It wasn’t quite enough for to be as competitive as we wanted to.
“I really hope we can keep the momentum going, continue to break barries within the Boise State program.”
There is a special affinity a track and field coach can have for a strong relay team.
It’s a combination of some of the team’s best runners and it requires teamwork when most events require big individual efforts.
Boise State’s women’s distance medley relay heads into the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday with the No. 1 time in the country. It has been exactly what coach Corey Ihmels has waited to see.
“It’s a really neat group, and we’ve known for the last couple years we had the potential to be really good, but it’s been a matter of getting everyone healthy at the right time,” Ihmels said.
The Broncos’ quartet of runners — junior Sadi Henderson, freshman Chelsea Walker, junior Alexis Fuller and sophomore Allie Ostrander —focus plenty on achieving their goals of reaching nationals in their solo events. But they have built a bond and a desire to win this event.
“Getting better individually obviously goes into that, but we’ve all become closer, knowing we have each other’s support, knowing we all can take care of our leg, it’s big,” said Fuller, the Mountain West’s mile champion. “Did I think we’d be No. 1? Not necessarily, but I knew we could be good.”
At the Mountain West championships in Albuquerque on Feb. 22, the Broncos claimed their third straight medley relay crown with a school-record time of 11 minutes, 5.39 seconds. Adjusted for altitude, it was 10:55.32, tops in the nation.
It is the first time any Boise State relay team has reached indoor nationals, and it’s just the second relay team to reach the national championships. The Broncos narrowly missed out on nationals last year.
In New Mexico, the Broncos had Henderson run the opening 1,200-meter leg, followed by Walker in the 400, Fuller in the 800 and Ostrander in the 1,600. As soon as Ostrander crossed the finish line, Henderson rushed out to celebrate.
“She was cheering all of us on, and was so excited, she ran onto the track to hug Allie, but they had to move her off since the other teams weren’t done yet,” Fuller said.
Henderson’s attitude is par for the course for the four.
When Fuller outkicked Ostrander late in the mile, Ostrander tweeted soon after, “I’ve never been so happy to get outkicked.” The highly decorated sophomore, last year’s outdoor national champion in the steeplechase, is savoring not just being the anchor, but being part of the team.
“She’s done everything in the book, individually, that you can think of, but I think her next big step is to become a better teammate,” Ihmels said. “Not that she isn’t a good teammate, but when you’re so successful, the next step is to do it for something beside yourself.
“She’s bought into it wholeheartedly. When you’re so good, so young, it’s all about you. So to see her take that in, and her teammates see it, that really pushes them, too.”
Ostrander will compete individually this week in the 3,000 meters. Henderson will compete in the 800 and sophomore Clare O’Brien will run in the 5,000. All had top-10 national qualifying times.
Boise State’s previous record for the number of female athletes at indoor nationals was three, set in 1996, so this year a top-10 team finish is certainly a possibility.
“They’re excited about it. They know if they all run to their ability, there’s no reason we can’t be in the mix,” Ihmels said.
Boise State at NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
Events to be held in College Station, Texas
▪ Sadi Henderson to run 800 prelims at 6:25 p.m. Friday; finals at 4:40 p.m. Saturday
▪ Clare O’Brien to run 5,000-meter finals at 7:25 p.m. Friday
▪ Allie Ostrander to run 3,000-meter finals at 5:25 p.m. Saturday
▪ Distance medley relay (Henderson, Ostrander, Alexis Fuller, Chelsea Walker) at 8 p.m. Friday