Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander turned in a jaw-dropping performance at the UW Invite at the Dempsey Indoor on Friday in Seattle.
Ostrander, a freshman at Boise State, posted a time of 15 minutes, 21.85 seconds, in the women’s 5,000-meter race to place second in a stacked field.
The Dempsey Indoor meet features an oversized 307-meter track — larger than the indoor standard of 200 meters — which means Ostrander’s time, which would rank seventh on the all-time collegiate list, will not count. Among oversized track performances, her race ranks third all-time. The time also is the best by a collegiate runner this season.
The only woman that beat her Friday? 2012 Olympian Kim Conley, who won with a time of 15:09.31.
The 2015 Kenai Central graduate praised the training regimens and support from the Boise State coaches, especially head coach Cory Ihmels. Ostrander attributed the sizzling time to Ihmels’ relaxed training program.
“I definitely did not think I’d go that fast in my first 5K on track,” Ostrander said via phone on Saturday. “It’s a testament to really solid training from my coaches.”
The performance shattered the previous Boise State school record and Mountain West region records as well, both held by former Broncos runner Emma Bates at 15:50.78.
With Conley taking off early on the heels of a pace runner — known as a “rabbit” — Ostrander was left to duke it out for second place in the chasing pack. Ostrander said she didn’t feel comfortable pushing the pace as aggressively as Conley was, so she sat around third to fifth place for most of the first three kilometers, then moved into second and began distancing herself. Ostrander ended up finishing nearly 24 seconds ahead of third-place Amy Van Alstine, a pro runner. The closest collegiate runner was Boise State teammate Minttu Hukka in fifth with a time of 16:09.36.
“It’s exciting to know I have that sort of fitness, and can continue to push that late into a 5K,” Ostrander said.
Her time was also below the 2016 United States Olympic Trials 5K qualifying time of 15:25. She said that the opportunity to participate in the 5,000-meter trials is one she would gladly take.
With the first round of the women’s 5,000 meters being held July 7 in Eugene, Oregon, the trials would keep Ostrander from doing Mt. Marathon on July 4.
“As long as I’m healthy, I definitely would want to participate,” she said of the trials. “It’s been a dream of mine, and I didn’t think it’d come so soon in my career.
“The opportunity to get that experience, I’m willing to make that sacrifice.”