Niwot’s Elise Cranny, Silver Creek’s Valarie Allman earn third-place finishes at NCAA track finals

In a crowded pack at the end of a thrilling, almost photo-finish race, Elise Cranny couldn’t quite reach the tape first.

Nonetheless, it was a stellar NCAA final for Cranny as well as Valarie Allman, two Stanford stars who call the Longmont area home.

Cranny, a senior at Stanford, placed third in the 1,500-meter run during the final day of the NCAA track and field championships Saturday in Eugene, Ore. It was an incredibly tight finish, as the top four runners crossed the finish line within 0.84 seconds of each other. Cranny finished just 0.74 seconds behind the winner, Oregon’s Jessica Hull.

Hull outpaced the runner-up, Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas, by 0.39 seconds.

It was Cranny’s third consecutive appearance in the outdoor 1,500-meter run championship, with her best finish occurring with a second-place effort in 2016. She set a Stanford school record with that runner-up finish at 4 minutes, 9.54 seconds. Though she finished third on Saturday, she turned in a slightly better time than two years ago (4:09.49).

A two-time cross country state champion at Niwot, Cranny finishes her collegiate career with 11 All-America honors.

Allman, a graduate of Silver Creek, also placed third in the discus, earning All-America honors with a throw of 194 feet, 3 inches. Allman, who represented the United States at the IAAF World Championships last year, also placed third in the discus at the 2016 NCAA finals. On Thursday, Allman placed eighth in the hammer with a mark of 208-5.

Pat Rooney: or