EUGENE, OR--Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander finished fourth in the second heat of the women's 5K at the U.S. Olympic Trials this afternoon to qualify for the final Sunday. Ostrander, running competitively for the first time since she was injured with a tibial stress fracture in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 11, crossed the finish line in 15:27.13, just eight-tenths of a second behind first place Molly Huddle, who broke the tape in 15:26.33.
Ostrander began the race near the back, content to draft from the other runners and conserve energy without running a longer distance on the outside. With about three laps to go, she began moving outside, positioning herself for a run at the nation's elite female runners. One by one, Ostrander began to pass them and was in fourth at the bell lap. She briefly moved into third, but with the top six in the heat automatically qualifying, settled for fourth.
The heat was much faster than the first heat, as Ostrander's time was fourth overall as well. Katie Mackie finished second, followed by Shelby Houlihan, Ostrander, Marielle Hall and Abbey D'Agostino, the six automatic qualifers form the heat. Ostrander was the only collegiate runner in either heat going up against seasoned professionals.
(Exclusive BroncoCountry.com photo by Shelby Ransom. All rights reserved by BroncoCountry.com)
Ostrander thus qualifies for the U.S. final of the 5K this Sunday, set for 5:28 p.m. Mountain Time. The top three finishers in that race will make the U.S. Olympic Team, provided they have met or exceeded the Olympic qualifying standard. Ostrander, by virtue of her 5K time of 15:21.85 at the UW Invitational in Seattle on January 29, has already done that. If she finishes in the top three Sunday, she will make the U.S. Olympic Team.
The women's 5K final will be nationally broadcast by NBC-TV.