Alyssa Snyder remembers running with Miner Ben Saarel when she was a sophomore at Park City High School.
Saarel was one of the nation’s premier runners, locking up accolades such as the Gatorade Utah Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year and breaking numerous records.
The two crossed paths during workouts and even had the same running coach outside of school. Back then, Snyder never dreamed of becoming as successful as her male counterpart.
“We used to watch [Saarel] winning Arcadia and the Dream Mile and all these huge meets,” Snyder said. “I was just like, ‘Holy cow.'”
Last weekend at the NCAA Division-1 Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Snyder felt the same success Saarel is used to experiencing.
The former Park City graduates went to different colleges — Saarel went to Colorado and Snyder goes to Montana State — but both were at Hayward Field in hopes of becoming first team All-Americans (top eight finishers in each event).
Saarel, now a junior, has been named All-American in other capacities but, until this year, never earned the first team distinction during the outdoor track season. By finishing eighth in the 1500-meter last weekend, Saarel added a new All-American honor to his list of accomplishments.
Snyder, who wasn’t as heavily recruited or decorated as Saarel coming out of high school, surprised herself and those in attendance by finishing fourth place in the 10,000-meter race.
“I was definitely shocked,” Snyder said. “I still don’t think it’s really set in completely. After, my coach asked, ‘How are you feeling?’ I was like, ‘I can’t believe that just happened.'”
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