University of New Hampshire standout runner Elinor Purrier (Montgomery, Vt.) closed out a tremendous junior season with a fourth-place finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
Purrier battled Allie Ostrander of Boise State, the race winner, over the last couple of laps. She grabbed the lead late, but was unable to hold it.
“I tried to take it and couldn’t finish as fast as I wanted,” Purrier said after the race. “Props to Allie. She ran an amazing race. I think maybe I took the lead a little too early and had some self-doubt and I think that certainly affected me. The last barrier before the water jump I stumbled a little bit and mentally, coming back from that was a little challenging.”
Ostrander won in a time of 9 minutes, 41.31 seconds. Madison Boreman of Colorado in 9:46.48 and Tori Gerlach of Penn State in 9:46.76 finished second and third.
Purrier finished in 9:48.06.
“Obviously she gave it her all,” said UNH coach Robert Hoppler. “She totally went for the win and ran a terrific race. One of the things you get from Elle every time she runs is you get everything she has. She gave it her all and today she ended up fourth.”
Purrier ran to first-team All American honors in each of her three seasons this year. She finished seventh at the NCAA Cross County Championships in the fall and was second in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships during the winter.
“I’m proud of my race,” Purrier said. “There are a lot of variables that go into running track and I’ve sacrificed a lot this year. I’ve had one of my best seasons and one of my best years overall and I’ve had some amazing support through this. My family and friends. All my coaches. My strength coach. It’s been a great year. I’m maybe a little disappointed with where I placed. But there’s so many variables it just wasn’t my day I guess.”
Hoppler long has raved about Purrier’s consistency and her ability to compete at the highest levels at various distances and in various events.
“She’s a seven-time All American overall,” he said. “This year she had personal bests in the mile, the 800, the steeplechase and cross country at 6K. She’s established herself as one of the best athletes in the country both in her competitive ability and her consistency. She showed that again today. I’m very, very proud of her and look forward to her fifth year.”
Saturday, she was edged on the final lap.
“Any time you go for a national championship . . . That’s what sports is all about,” Hoppler said. “There are ups and downs in all athletics. I’m proud of her efforts and the work she put in this year and the way she raced. It would have been nice to win, but I’m very proud of her ability to mix it up. She’s always a part of it.”
Purrier was asked during her media interviews about the fact that her shoes both became untied late in the race.
She said that had never happened to her in a race and she didn’t know why it occurred. While she found it “distracting,” she downplayed any role it might have played in the race.
This was Purrier’s third straight year in the NCAA finals and third time as an All American. She finished third last season and seventh in 2015.
Courtesy: UNH Athletics
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