May 8, 2013 10:02 PM by Andrew Masuda

Legend in the Making: Cal Poly freshman star Laura Hollander

Cal Poly star Laura Hollander will look to continue her historic freshman year this weekend at the Big West Conference Track and Field Championships at Northridge. Hollander is the latest athlete deemed by KSBY a legend in the making.

Hollander burst onto the national season in the fall when she won four cross country titles, including the Big West Conference championships when she broke the course record by 45 seconds. She went on to finish ninth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to become the first Cal Poly woman to earn All-America honors at the Division I level.

"It's still shocking. It takes a long time to sink in and it's hard to grasp it all. But I think for me I just a have a lot more belief in myself," said Hollander.

The freshman continues to impress this spring on the track. In her first meet of the season last month, Laura set a then Big West record in the 5,000 meters race with a time of 15:53 at Mt.SAC. She was three seconds shy of Cal Poly's 30 year record. The following week she won the 1,500 in a dual meet against UCSB with a time of 4:25.80.

Head coach Mark Conover has nothing but praise for his freshman phenom. " You can't ever predict a freshman will do that. I think a lot of what got her to performances is what she's done herself," said Conover.

"I know what I'm capable of because if I'm putting in the work, trying really hard and taking it seriously, I know that I can just keep improving and hopefully get better," Hollander added.

Her second 5K will be later this week at the Big West Championships when a title will be on the line. From there, Laura will run in the NCAA West Regional later this month in hopes of earning a spot at the NCAA Division I Championships.

Conover says ultimately he sees Hollander upping her mileage to focus on the 10K, similar to what Mission Prep graduate Jordan Hasay is doing her senior year at Oregon.

"I want progression. I want to make sure we're doing this smart so that she can have longevity is the goal of her career. And we really want her to be running her best as a post-collegiant," said Conover.

The Big West women's 5K final is set for 4:46 pm on Saturday. The NCAA Regional is in two weeks in Austin, Texas with the NCAA Championships scheduled for early June in Eugene, Oregon.



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