BOISE, Idaho--Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander is back in Boise, preparing for Saturday's NCAA National Cross Country Championships with her team.
Ostrander captured the NCAA West Regional Championship by 22 seconds and helped the Boise State team finish second behind Oregon last Friday in Seattle. Ostrander, who has finished first or second in every race this year, was named West Region Women's Athlete of the Year at the conclusion of the race.
Ostrander joins former Bronco great Emma Bates as the only winners of the award. Bates was honored with Women's Athlete of the Year in 2013.
The likeable Ostrander said she was buoyed by running next to fellow Broncos Brenna Peloquin and Mindu Hukka for most of the race.
"It was a great boost for our team score to have 3 people in the Top 10 and it was just awesome to be able to run with each other and push together, and take energy from each other," she said. Peloquin took fourth at Regionals while Hukka was right behind in fifth.
Allie has won four races this season by an average of 13.5 seconds. Bronco coach Corey Ihmels acknowledged that his freshman is the favorite Saturday, saying "She's beaten everybody."
How has a freshman been able to come in and dominate the way Ostrander has? A good part of it is her God-given talent, add in that she has one of the most successful distance coaches in the country and the fact that she has worked hard all year in one of the best training environments for a cross country runner, and you have the nation's #1-ranked female collegiate runner, according to FloTrack.com.
"I've been feeling good the last few weeks and training's good, and I have a lot of confidence in coach Ihmels," Ostrander said. "He's been having us do what we need to do all season."
Ostrander feels the training at Boise State is top notch. "The foothills are Boise State's best facility. They're a big reason why I came here and they're so conveniently located and perfect for training."
Ostrander is confident about this weekend but doesn't really feel added pressure. "I see it as just my first go at it and if I don't perform as well as I'd like to, I have a lot more years to improve on that."
The Lady Broncos, who finished eighth in the nation last season, are set to run Saturday at 10 AM Mountain Time.