Allie Ostrander is presented her award by Stacia Rustad at the Alaska High School Hall of Fame's Class of 2023 induction ceremony on Sunday, May 7, 2023, at The Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. (Screenshot)

Ostrander wins tuneup race for Olympic Trials

Allie Ostrander, a 2015 graduate of Kenai Central, set a new personal best in winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Portland Track Festival in Oregon on Saturday, June 8.

The next race for Ostrander will be at the qualifying round at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on June 24. The finals are set for June 27.

The top three in that race make the Olympics, assuming the top three all have the Olympic qualifying standard of 9 minutes, 23.00 seconds.

With six American women having already run under the standard this year, the top three are almost certain to make the Olympics.

Ostrander has thrust herself into the Olympic conversation with three strong performances in the steeplechase this year.

Before that, she had not competed in the steeplechase since the Olympic Trials in Eugene in June 2021. She ran her previous personal best of 9:26.96 and finished eighth.

Early this year, Ostrander did not give herself much chance of making the Olympics.

“I think obviously there are different levels of athletes,” Ostrander told letsrun.com on March 29. “For me, any USA team is a really special opportunity.

“I understand a lot of people are prioritizing only the Olympics but I have a 1% chance of making the Olympics. So I’m going to enjoy the opportunity and use it as training leading up to that.”

Ostrander was speaking the day before the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, where she would finish 30th and second among Americans. Ostrander had last represented Team USA in the steeplechase in the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in September 2019.

At the Payton Jordan Invitational in California on April 26, Ostrander qualified for the Olympic Trials by finishing fourth at 9:37.65.

At the Track Fest in Los Angeles on May 11, Ostrander knocked that time down to 9:32.87 in finishing fourth again.

She then went to an altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado, with coach David Roche to enter a peaking phase for the trials.

The result was her victory at the Portland Track Festival in a new personal best of 9:24.70.

“I have been having personal-best workouts and I wanted to be able to translate that into a race,” Ostrander said in a video on her YouTube channel, which sat at 81,000 views Wednesday morning. “I still don’t quite believe that that fitness is there so I really need to prove to myself that those workouts are an accurate representation of where I am at.”

Ostrander said in the video that her main goal going into the race was getting a personal best. She ended up getting her first victory on a track since the 3,000 meters at the Millrose games in February 2020.

The last steeplechase victory for Ostrander had been in June 2019, when she won her third straight NCAA Division I steeplechase title for Boise State.

In the YouTube video, Ostrander said a big focus now will be getting better going over the barriers for the Olympic Trials.

On the World Athletics performance list, Ostrander is eighth among Americans. Valerie Constein leads at 9:14.29, while Courtney Wayment is right behind at 9:14.48.

Also Saturday, Notre Dame senior Olivia Markezich ran 9:17.36 to finish second in the NCAA Division I steeplechase. Gabrielle Jennings also is under 9:20 at 9:18.03.

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