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Snyder closes Cats career at Nationals

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BOZEMAN, Mont. - Montana State University sophomore distance runner Alyssa Snyder has been hard at work in Bozeman preparing for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the premier stage in collegiate track and field.

"It kind of feels like a dream come true right now, because this is the moment I've been working for since I came on the team last year," Snyder said.

Snyder qualified in the 10,000-meter run by finishing eighth at the NCAA West Regional Preliminaries in Austin, Texas, with a time of 34 minutes, 42.95 seconds.

The Coalville, Utah, native was fresh off Big Sky Conference Championships in both the 10k and the 5k.

She has been logging plenty of miles since the fall with cross-country and indoor track, so her training workload has been reduced weekly to help keep her fresh.

Bobcats distance coach Lyle Weese says all the tread on Snyder's tires will actually be an advantage in the championship race.

"We're not necessarily trying to time and have everything be perfect for this meet," Weese said. "We're just counting on the fact that she has such a high level of fitness from an extended period of years and years of training."

Snyder enters the 10,000 meters at nationals ranked 20th out of 24 runners, but she is shooting for a Top-8 All-America finish and has shown the ability to exceed expectations.

She entered the regional race ranked 13th and finished five spots ahead of her ranking.

"The last 10k I ran was a little bit more strategic," Snyder said. "We're just hoping to run some more steady, even splits and run a faster time. If I do that we're thinking I can probably crack that Top 8."

Becoming an All-American would just add to the already impressive list of accomplishments in Snyder's young career.

In addition to the two conference titles she holds the school record in the 10k (33:45.87), ranks second all-time in the 5k (16:32.56) and eighth in MSU history in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (11:08.65).

But this will be Snyder's last race in the blue and gold after making the decision to transfer to Utah State in order to be closer to her family.

"Certainly, we'll always be proud that we were part of her development, and we'll always be fans for Alyssa Snyder," said Bobcats Track and Field head coach Dale Kennedy

"These guys have done so much for me, and I just wanted to do everything I could to represent them well one last time," Snyder said.

The NCAA Women's 10k Final is scheduled to start at 8:08 p.m. Mountain time Thursday.

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