The Kenai Peninsula running phenom known as Allie-O commanded the attention of the national track scene Friday afternoon with another dazzling performance.
Inside the atmospherically controlled conditions of the Dome in Anchorage, Kenai Central senior Allie Ostrander kicked off her final high school track campaign with a mind-bogglingly fast time of 9 minutes, 59.33 seconds, in the elite coed 3,200-meter race at the Big “C” Relays.
“I’m just so excited and happy,” Ostrander said Friday night from Anchorage. “If I would’ve gotten ten (minutes) flat, I was gonna be so mad.”
She was joined by two other national-caliber distance runners, Kodiak senior Levi Thomet and Conner Mantz of Utah. Thomet also set a national high for boys in 2015 with an 8:54.24, which would easily eclipse the Alaska state record. Of course, official records can only be set at the state meet. Mantz finished second, 1.7 seconds behind Thomet.
According to milesplit.com, which was live-streaming the meet, Ostrander’s mark stands as the sixth-fastest time ever run indoors among high school girls.
“It’s huge,” said Kenai coach Chris Hanson. “I’ve never seen that, and I don’t know if I ever will again. It’s pretty special.”
The time is a new personal best for Ostrander and the first time an Alaskan high school girl has dipped under 10 minutes in the 3,200. Last year’s fastest girls indoor time was a 10:19.26, while the current fastest indoor time this year is 10:30.82.
It was almost one year ago to the day that Ostrander broke out on the national running scene with a runner-up finish at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles. She set a time of 10:03.66 that night, which has since stood as her PR for nearly a full year. Ostrander also set the new official Alaska state record last May with a winning time of 10:13.87.
Since Arcadia, Ostrander said it was her goal to crack 10 minutes.
“When I first crossed the line, my first thought was did I break ten minutes?” she said. “There wasn’t a clock, so I wasn’t sure.”
Hanson, who said he was keeping track of her splits on the backstretch, said he clocked her at 9:02 with 300 meters to go on the final lap, giving him hope that she could do it. Sure enough, just moments after finishing, the official time was announced to the crowd of over 1,000 athletes.
“Allie is a tremendous talent, and she’s been running all winter along with playing basketball, and she just does everything at a high level,” Hanson said.
The race, billed in the preceding week as the “battle of the sexes” on milesplit.com, began with Ostrander getting a 70-second head start on the boys. After completing the first two laps, Ostrander was then joined at the front by Juneau runner Riley Moser, who served as a pacesetter for two laps before moving aside at the halfway mark.
“I didn’t know how close (Thomet and Mantz) were, I didn’t look back,” Ostrander said. “I was just running, just focused on PR’ing.”
She also had fellow Kenai teammate Jonah Theisen pacing her for laps four through seven. Theisen eventually peeled off and let Ostrander do the rest.
“The pacers definitely helped, and it was just a great atmosphere,” she said. “Having Conner up from Utah, trying to outlast them … there were a lot of cheering people.”
Saturday, Ostrander is planning to run a leg on two relays, then will be taking off for a senior all-star basketball game, the last one of her high school career.