Boise State’s Allie Ostrander missed her Olympic dreams by just 14 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Sunday in Eugene, Oregon.
The soon-to-be sophomore finished with a time of 15 minutes, 24.74 seconds in the women’s 5,000-meter race, which was good enough to earn her an eighth-place finish, beating half the field in the process.
However, only the top three finishers qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“The race was not exactly what I was hoping for,” Ostrander told reporters in Eugene after her race. “I was hoping to compete with the top girls a little bit more. The slow start to the race put a damper on my sort of racing style, where I like more of a steady pace. The constant pick-up of the entire 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 Kenai, Alaska, native started the race in the inside of lane one and hung around that spot for most of the race.
Ostrander spent most of her time in the middle of pack before moving herself into fourth place with only a mile to go.
But she was unable to keep that pace up for long and fell behind for the eventual eighth-place finish.
However, some good news came out of it as Ostrander claimed the Mountain West outdoor record with that performance. She now owns both the indoor and outdoor Mountain West 5,000-meter race records.
“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.”
While the 19 year old came up just a tad short, her performance at the trials is nothing to scoff at.
She was the only collegiate athlete in the field, and in the prelims Thursday, Ostrander finished with the fourth fastest time of 15:27.13.
That time, as well as her time on Sunday are even more impressive when you consider the fact that these races were her first in more than four months due to a tibial stress fracture she suffered in her lower leg earlier this year.
“Until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to be at the trials,” Ostrander said. “So I was just really thankful to be here. I had a huge smile on my face just walking out onto the track.
“This did a huge amount for my confidence. Coming back from the injury, I wasn’t sure where my fitness was at, and there is always the fear that you’ll never run fast again. So it was awesome to get out there and run with some of the best in the nation and put a really solid effort out on the track.”
The reigning Mountain West Cross Country Athlete of the Year and National NCAA Runner-Up will now turn her attention back to the Broncos with the cross country season a mere two months away.
But this experience is one she won’t soon forget.
“I didn’t have the race that I wanted to have today, but I’m just looking forward to getting back to training and improving upon the performance I put out this weekend,” Ostrander said. “Coming out and being able to run at Hayward Field in the Olympic Trials, and make the finals, it’s just all worth it, even though it was really hard while I was doing it. It was a completely different experience, one I’ve never had before.”