If national titles are the bar by which greatness is measured, Allie Ostrander is now the best athlete in Boise State history.
The redshirt junior won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase for the third year in a row at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday in Austin, Texas. She is the first Bronco to win three national titles, surpassing the two held by Gabe Wallin in the men’s javelin in 2004 and 2005.
“I think she’s got a good knack that when it comes time to race, she’s pretty focused and knows what she needs to do,” Boise State coach Corey Ihmels said in a Boise State press release. “I think today was just another example of getting out there and competing at a very high level.”
Ostrander crossed the finish line in 9 minutes, 37.73 seconds, which is a Mike A. Myers Stadium record and personal best time despite running in 98-degree heat. She finished nearly 7 seconds ahead of second-place Charlotte Prouse of New Mexico to maintain her career unbeaten streak in the steeplechase.
“I feel so hot right now, and not like the attractive way. I feel like I am really low on the scale in that department,” Ostrander joked with ESPN2 in a television interview immediately after the steeplechase.
“It’s so special. I mean, it’s never been done before, and I feel like most of the stuff I’ve done in the NCAA is stuff that other people have done and I’m just replicating it, but this one is all mine and that feels really special.”
The native of Kenai, Alaska, who graduated from Boise State in May with a degree in exercise science and a GPA of 4.0, ran in the 5,000 final about 75 minutes after winning the steeplechase. It was Ostrander’s third straight year running both races, and she earned second-team All-American honors this time around with a 16th-place showing in 16:28.19. She was fourth in the 5,000 in 2017 and eighth in 2018.
With Saturday’s victory, Ostrander becomes the first woman to win three consecutive national titles in the steeplechase and the first woman to claim three national titles in the event since Colorado’s Jenny Barringer (2006, 2008-09). She also is only the 15th athlete on the women’s side to win three straight national titles in an event in NCAA history.
“I thought it was going to be a slow race (because of the heat),” Ostrander told reporters after the race. “But, you know, once we started going I just think that the adrenaline kicked in and we staved the heatstroke off, luckily, and it ended up OK.”
Boise State sophomore Kristie Schoffield earned first-team All-American honors with her sixth-place finish in 2:03.86 in the 800 meters. She is the first Bronco to advance to an 800 final and was making her second straight appearance at nationals. Schoffield was tripped up entering the final lap but was able to recover.
“I always knew I could be there and I could be in the top — I didn’t know it was going to be this year, so that’s exciting,” Schoffield said. “The coaches have been really supportive and my teammates are so supportive. I think it just takes people believing in you like the coaches have this whole season.”
The Broncos tied for 20th in the women’s team standings, earning four All-American honors at the meet. Senior Alexis Fuller made the honorable mention team in the 1,500 semifinal prelims on Thursday.
“I think you have three distinctly different athletes that have found success. I think that’s what we’re trying to build,” Ihmels said. “Allie came in very heralded, and she’s a three-time national champion. Kristie was really good in high school but maybe not as heralded as Allie, and she’s finding success. Alexis was not highly recruited and she’s found success. We’re going to keep working hard to uncover those types of kids.
“It’s a tribute to those three, and they’ve helped us keep the momentum going and build the program to what we wanted it to be. We’re 20th in the country and it’s only three kids — but we want more, and we’re going to continue getting better.”
Although Ostrander already has earned her undergraduate degree, she has applied for her master’s degree in athletic leadership at Boise State. She can try for a fourth straight national title in the steeplechase next season, but also could compete for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.
“The plan right now is to run next year,” Ostrander said earlier this week. “I’ll have to talk to coach about how we’ll try to plan racing around the Olympic Trials and that buildup.”
BOISE STATE NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Bill Shaw: Skiing (Slalom), 1974
Boise State football team: Division I-AA, 1980
Jake Jacoby: Track & Field (High Jump), 1984
Eugene Green: Track & Field (Triple Jump*), 1991
Kirk White: Wrestling (165 pounds), 1999
Gabe Wallin: Track & Field (Javelin), 2004 & 2005
Ben Cherrington: Wrestling (157 pounds), 2006
Eleni Kafourou: Track & Field (Long Jump*), 2009
Kurt Felix: Track & Field (Decathlon), 2012
Emma Bates: Track & Field (10,000 meters), 2014
Allie Ostrander: Track & Field (3,000-meter steeplechase), 2017, 2018 & 2019
*Indoor track season