To many, the idea of a young woman growing up in Alaska and moving to a new city 2,500 miles away to begin work on a college degree, being highly touted as the #1 women's cross country recruit in the nation, and traveling to Wales in your second meet as a collegiate student-athlete is daunting, to say the least. To Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander, all of these things represent a new opportunity and a learning experience that provide the framework for what she wants to accomplish.
Ostrander, who was co-valedictorian at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, has excelled in distance running, beating 198 other contestants in the 5,000 meters at the 2014 Nike Cross National Championships, winning Alaska 4A state championships three times and setting Alaska state high school records in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. She was highly recruited out of high school, and chose Boise State over other high-quality programs such as Oregon and Arkansas.
(BroncoCountry video by Shelby Ransom)
Ostrander said that a key factor in choosing the Broncos was that "It really seemed like they (coach Corey Ihmels and the Boise State coaching staff) cared about me not just as an athlete but as a person, and continuing to help me grow throughout my years at college."
With the Ostranders, running is in the family. Both of Allie's parents (Teri and Paul) ran, and when her sister, Taylor, started racing in middle school, Allie went to their practices and ran with the team. Taylor is now a champion distance runner at Williamete University who finished 13th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships earlier this year.
The two sisters are close, talk often, and cherish when they get together for activities such as making pancakes. These aren't just your basic flapjacks--Allie and Taylor put a good deal of imagination and thought into their creations, experimenting with flavors such as lemon poppyseed, almond poppyseed, orange cranberry, pineapple coconut, banana peanut butter, pumpkin and sweet potato. The experience isn't just about making pancakes, but rather spending quality time with her sister.
Allie was just 11 when she came in seventh among girls 11-12 year old in the 800 meters at the Hershey Track & Field Games North America Final in Pennsylvania. It was here that Allie and her family realized that she was really good. Allie finished sixth at the same venue the following year.
Now, Allie has a scholarship at Boise State and is running for the Bronco cross country team. Coach Ihmels is happy to have her in Boise and is excited about what she can achieve. "She was probably the number one recruit in the country; she chose us over some really good schools," Ihmels said, "so she's going to be one that's going to be really exciting to see what she does this fall."
Ostrander won her first event last Saturday at the Dual at Speedway Meadows in San Francisco, covering the six-kilometer race in 20:44.4. The Bronco team ran together as a group for the first three kilometers, then Allie said she took the lead at about the 4K mark and ran faster to the finish. Broncos Minttu Hukka (20:58.3) and Brenna Peloquin (21:00.4) finished second and third, respectively.
As the Broncos have two weeks to prepare for the next team meet at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota September 26, Ostrander will travel to North Wales to join the United States Junior Mountain Running Team at the 31st World Mountain Running Championships, with the championship races scheduled for this Saturday, September 19 in Snowdonia, North Wales. The junior course is a four-kilometer lap with an elevation change of about 820 feet. Ostrander, who was selected to the team this past August, was a six-time champion in the Junior Division of the Mount Marathon Race in Alaska, which represented an elevation change of over 3,000 feet.
Ostrander talked about the Bronco team and what they hope to accomplish this year: "Our team discussed goals together and we definitely want to make an impact at the national meet," she said.
Allie is just getting acquained with her Bronco teammates, and likes what she sees so far: "So far, the entire team, I feel like we're really strong and got an incredible recruiting class, and I'm really excited to see how we can do in some of the bigger meets."