This coming fall, Allie Ostrander will be taking her talents to Boise State University and join the Broncos.
In a small signing ceremony held Wednesday morning at Kenai Central High School, the Kenai senior put pen to paper and committed to running cross-country for the Division I Broncos, in Idaho this fall with a full ride scholarship.
Ostrander said it was a tough decision between Boise State and her “dream school”, the vaunted University of Oregon Ducks, but it ultimately came down to her gut instinct.
“In the end, I just felt more comfortable there, and more at home,” Ostrander said. “That was the most important aspect of the college.”
Wearing a blue shirt emblazoned with the orange-and-white words, “The Blue”, Ostrander said it felt great to finally break the news that she knew for nearly three weeks, after hearing questions for months from friends and fans about where she will be headed for college.
“I’ve just been waiting for this day to finally make my decision official,” she said.
Ostrander said she will be likely pursuing a degree in Kinesiology.
The talented three-time state cross-country champion runner that holds Alaska state high school records in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races will be joining an elite group of runners that finished second at the Mountain West Conference championship meet last October in Fresno, California.
It wasn’t just Ostrander that was making a commitment. The ceremony also included fellow senior teammate Jonah Theisen, another one of the state’s top prep distance runners. Theisen signed his intent to run at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, a Division II school in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Theisen will also be competing for the Yellow Jackets track and field squad in the spring.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Theisen said about signing. “I was kind of stressing out about it, picking out a college. Now I can focus on getting ready to go there next year.”
With the two runners and friends being able to jointly sign their letters, it was a big day for Kardinal fans.
“It’s pretty cool, I’m probably post about it on Instagram or something,” Theisen joked.
Theisen will also be joining fellow Alaskans Levi Fried of Kodiak and Michael Marshall of Seward on the team.
With a high school running resume that most college coaches would drool over, Ostrander had a fair shot at several elite schools. Ostrander holds a record six junior girls titles in the prestigious Mount Marathon race held every July 4 in Seward, including her final run last summer when she beat all the boys as well, and has made a habit of smashing high school state records in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter events. Less than a week ago, the diminutive senior posted a sizzling time of 9 minutes, 59.33 seconds, in the 3,200 at the Big “C” Relays in Anchorage, placing her No. 1 in the nation.
In her quest to pick a college, Ostrander said she visited the Boise State, Oregon and Arkansas campuses, which only left her more conflicted on where to pursue her degree and running career. With coaches visiting her in Alaska, Ostrander said she decided to wait a few weeks before coming to the conclusion. Ultimately, she chose Boise State not only because it felt right but also because she sees the Broncos as a team on the rise.
“They have a lot of good recruits coming in, and I know they have some foreign transfers,” she said. “It’ll be interesting to see where I fit in.”
Ostrander said she is already familiar with a few of the runners on the team, namely soon-to-be-roommate Brenna Peloquin of Washington state, who was a Northwest region teammate of Ostrander’s at the Nike Cross Nationals meet in December. Ostrander also named Juneau runner Maddie Hall as a familiar rival that will become her teammate.
Ostrander said it was a phone call with Boise State head coach Corey Ihmels that also helped sway her decision, before she even visited the school.
“I said, ‘Mom, I think I wanna go to Boise State,’ and she said, ‘No, you can’t just make a decision this fast, you haven’t even been there,’” Ostrander said. “But I just had a feeling about this.”
“I just want to see how far running can take me,” Ostrander said.
Ostrander’s parents — mother, Teri, and father, Paul — were among the group of about 15 friends and family members at the signing.
“We’re really happy for her, and supportive of her decision,” said Ostrander’s father, Paul. “We’re excited to see where she goes.”
Theisen said he also made visits to South Dakota School of Mines and University of Minnesota-Duluth, but made the decision to run in South Dakota on Monday, when he verbally committed to Black Hills State head coach Scott Walkinshaw over the phone. Theisen said he is thinking about pursuing a Physical Science degree.