The next couple of days feels a little bit like Christmas Eve! The United States Track and Field Olympic trials begin at the newly reimagined Hayward Field in Eugene this Friday. Three former Boise State athletes could toe the line for a chance to represent Team USA! 

Let me preface this by saying that I am a total Track and Field nerd. I wasn't popular in high school so I never imagined that I'd actually win a senior superlative in our yearbook. That's why I was stunned when I found out that I'd won "Track and Field is My Life." I was a distance runner (because only people who a special kind of stupid agree to run the 3200) and have religiously followed the sport for years.

That's why I'm so excited for nine straight days of track and field! I'm even more excited knowing that THREE incredible female Boise State distance alums have achieved the Olympic Trials qualifying standard in their events. If they choose to run (and I'll explain why I say that a bit later in the article,) finish in top three at the trials and have the Olympic qualifying standard, they're bound for Tokyo! So who are these fantastic women? What events have they qualified for? Let's meet them!

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Marisa Howard - Class of 2015

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Marisa literally trains in my backyard. There have been times where I've been at the track at the same time she's training and I'm just blown away watching her run. She's achieved the Olympic Standard in the 3000 Meter Steeplechase and comes into the trials with the seventh best time amongst American women. She worked part-time as a school nurse for six years, but recently resigned in order to pursue running professionally full time. The career move comes with Marisa recently earning her masters degree in nutrition and human performance. All three of the women who made Team USA for Rio in 2016 will also be in this race, but Marisa is a legitimate contender!

Emma Bates - Class of 2015

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When I watched the first female runner cross the finish line for the 30K Payette Lake run in 2019, I didn't realize I watching such a rockstar. It wasn't until the awards ceremony when they announced her name that I realized that she was Boise State's 10,000 meter run NCAA Champion from 2014. She's a marathon specialist, but is stepping down to the 10,000 meter run after failing to qualify for the Team USA in the marathon. The trials for the marathon were held in February 2020 before the pandemic hit. Emma finished 7th in that race, just 2 minutes, 11 seconds behind the winner.

Allie Ostrander - Class of 2019

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While Allie Ostrander is by far the most well known of these three athletes, she's the biggest question mark. Just last week, Allie posted a very raw and real video about entering treatment for an eating disorder at the direction of her sponsor, Brooks, and United States Track and Field. In the video, she stood firm that her priority now is treatment over training but did not say she was scratching from the Olympic Trials. Right now, the USATF entry status page lists her as declared to join Howard in the Steeplechase, Bates in the 10,000 and as a scratch in the 5,000. If she does compete, she comes into the Steeplechase with the eighth best time (right behind Howard) and is just .85 seconds shy of hitting the Olympic Standard. After reigning World Champion, Emma Coburn, received an automatic bid into the 2019 World Track and Field Championships in Doha, Allie was selected as the fourth and final member of Team USA's steeple team. No matter what Allie decides to do, we're sending her a lot of love and encouragement in her recovery.

So when will we know if any of these ladies are headed to Tokyo? The first round of the Steeplechase takes place this Sunday night with the finals to follow on Thursday, June 24. The 10,000 final takes place on Saturday, June 26.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

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