One of the most decorated long distance runners in Boise State history is gearing up for another shot at Olympic gold.
Emma Bates – 12 times All-American at Boise State from 2010 to 2015 – will compete in the 10,000-meter at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials June 18-27 at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where the NCAA Championships are currently being held. The 10,000 final is scheduled for June 26.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. The opening ceremonies are now scheduled for July 23, and officials are still debating whether to admit fans.
Bates won a collegiate national championship in the 10,000 in 2014. She admits that she’s more of a marathon runner these days, but she’s thrilled to be taking on many of the world’s best runners once again.
“I didn’t really plan on getting back on track very seriously this season,” Bates told the Idaho Statesman on Friday. “Qualifying for practice was my biggest goal. I have no other expectations than to put everything forward.
Bates ran only one race this year – a 10k in Los Angeles at the end of May – and she qualified for the Olympic trials with a time of 32 minutes, 4 seconds, which was nine seconds faster than his previous personal best. She has, however, spent most of the past four years training for marathons, and says she has a lot to learn about running the 10,000 races, which are much shorter, because strategy is everything.
“In a marathon, I like to run my own run because it’s so long to run you really have to know your body to run itself,” said Bates. “In a 10k you try to cover moves all the time to stay in the race. Some runners will try to run very uneven sections to make it harder to anticipate what they are doing, so you need to be prepared to adjust your pace.
She will have the opportunity to put this strategy to the test on Saturday in the New York Mini 10K – an annual women-only road race, which has been held every year since 1972 with the exception of last year, when it was canceled due to COVID-19.
Bates finished fourth in the event in 2019, and she’s looking forward to her first big race since the pandemic brought it to a halt just over a year ago. The last major event she participated in was the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta. She didn’t make the cut.
“I am surprised at the strength of the field considering that the Olympic track trials are in two weeks,” said Bates. “No one wanted to take anything for granted, especially on a road course. We are all very excited for this race to take place.
She’s heading into this weekend’s race on the heels of a move to Boulder, Colo., Where she revamped her training with a new team. While living near Boise, Bates spent much of her time training alone in the mountains, but training with a team again has its perks, she said.
“I’m reaching new heights in training and pushing myself further than I ever thought I would,” said Bates. “It helps to have teammates there to push you. Sometimes their strengths are your weaknesses, and you can really nurture each other. “
Bates will face one of her teammates on Saturday against fellow American Laura Thweatt, and she is delighted that, unlike the last time she raced the New York Mini 10K, international runners are also allowed to compete.
She can’t wait to test herself in case she dominates in college, but Bates has no plans to return to the track full-time. In fact, she plans to run another marathon this fall.
After a year of cancellations and uncertainties, she is just excited to go out and compete again.
“The whole last year with the canceled races it’s been kind of rolling with the punches the best you can,” Bates said. “It will be fun (Saturday) to see what I have left.”
BSU’s O’Brien Wins All-American Honors
Boise State senior Clare O’Brien clocked a career best time of 32 minutes, 36.96 seconds in the women’s 10,000-meter for sixth place in the event Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
This is O’Brien’s fourth career All-American award, but it’s her first time on the first team.
“I’m really proud of Clare. She made the most of her last season away from home, ”Boise State coach Corey Ihmels said in a press release. “She worked hard to put herself in that position and have a chance to score in the top eight.
“I think she ran extremely well throughout the race and finished with a great finish. Now she’ll be resting, recovering and getting ready for Saturday’s 5K.
O’Brien also qualified for the national 5,000m competition, which will be played at 5:55 p.m. MT on Saturday.
Fellow Bronco Kristie Schoffield clocked 2: 07.2 in the women’s 800m to finish 21st overall and earn an honorable mention at the All-American recognition.
Select field events and heptathlon events will air periodically throughout the day on Saturday on ESPN3. Saturday’s TV show begins at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.
Football: defensive transfers from BSU
The Boise State football team have now lost three members of their 2020 recruiting class to the transfer portal.
Defensive end Robert Cooper announced his decision to transfer Thursday night on Twitter. He follows offensive tackle Brandon Hernandez, who left the team last week, and cornerback Donovan Clark, who announced his transfer on Wednesday.
Cooper thanked Boise State coach Andy Avalos, defensive line coach Frank Maile and defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson in his farewell message, which ended with, “I find he’s in my interest in entering the transfer portal. My recruitment is therefore 100% open.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound native of Spanaway, Wash. Joined the Broncos as a three-star rookie from Bethel High. He didn’t appear in any game last season.