With Boise State emblazoned across Allie Ostrander’s chest, the Sophomore runner crossed the finish line in fourth place in the 5,000 meter at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday.
Her time of 15:27.13 qualified her for the final taking place on Sunday. The teenager from Soldotna, Alaska, was the only college student of the 23 women that raced.
"It felt awesome," Ostrander said by cellphone to the Alaska Dispatch News. "I didn't know what to expect going into the race, and I was happy I felt so good. It just felt natural."
Her presence alone at the Olympic Trial is an impressive feat given Ostrander was uncertain if she would compete after a knee injury sidelined her for eight weeks due to overuse. After focusing on cross training and slowly getting back into running shape her coach, Corey Ihmels, informed the Olympic Committee in late June that she would compete .
Embracing the Boise State underdog mentality going into the final on Sunday, Ostrander will face U.S. Women’s 5,000 meter record holder Molly Huddle. With a time of 15:26.33 Huddle, a prior Olympian, finished only eight-tenths of a second ahead of Ostrander in the Semifinals.
Ostrander needs to finish in the top three to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, which is not outside of the realm of possibility given she qualified for the Olympic Trials with a 15:21.85 in the 5,000 meter in January.