Allie Ostrander looked into the bleachers and held up three fingers on her right hand.
The Boise State redshirt junior, who seemingly makes history every time she competes in cross country and track, became the first to win three straight 3,000-meter steeplechase championships Saturday in sweltering heat in the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Austin, Texas.
“I feel so hot right now and not like in the attractive way,” the Kenai, Alaska, native said in a television interview afterward.
Ostrander won in 9 minutes, 37.73 seconds, topping Mountain West foe Charlotte Prouse of New Mexico by more than seven seconds. It was a personal best and facility record.
She’ll get a chance to make it a four-peat next year. She said she plans to return to Boise State even though she graduated last month. She earned a degree in exercise science while posting a 4.0 grade-point average.
About 90 minutes after her history-making victory, Ostrander lined up for the 5,000 final. Obviously drained from the win, she managed to finish 16th in a time of 16:28.19 — quite a ways behind winner Dani Jones of Colorado (15:50.65).
Saturday was about the steeplechase, though. And Ostrander had plenty to say about her win.
“It’s so special. It’s never been done before and I feel like most of the stuff in the NCAA is stuff that other people have done, and I’m just replicating it,” she said. “But this one is all mine, and that feels really special.”
Ostrander was prepared to outkick the competition if it came down to it, but she pulled away and didn’t have to worry about it.
“I’ve definitely been working on my kick this year, but if I can make it more of an endurance race it’s definitely something I’m interested in doing,” she said. “I felt coming off that third to last water jump that it was a good time to try to move into the lead. I was a little bit boxed in so I had to maneuver to get around, but I was glad when I got into the lead.”
Ostrander earned her berth in the final by cruising to victory in her Thursday preliminary.
“Coming out of regionals, it was the fastest West Regional ever,” she said. “In prelims (Thursday) I felt like it was probably the fastest ever. There are so many competitive ladies this year and I also had the added pressure of two past titles, so to be able to pull this off was something really special.”
Saturday’s final was held during the hottest point of the day.
“I thought it was going to be a slow race (because of the heat),” Ostrander told reporters. “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.”
Teammate Kristie Schoffield, a sophomore, took sixth in the 800, finishing in a time of 2:03.86. Jazmine Fray of Texas A&M won (2:01.31).
Schoffield earned first team All-America honors.