Ostrander runs to new heights

For those distance running enthusiasts out there, you better sit down before reading this.

Kenai Central junior Allie Ostrander finished second among 33 runners in the women’s 3,200-meter track race at the Arcadia Invitational Saturday night in Los Angeles, blazing to a time of 10 minutes, 3.66 seconds.

Ostrander’s time continued her fantastic progression of running faster than the Alaska high school state record in the girls 3,200, which she originally breezed past last May. The official Alaska state record was a 10:37 ran by Kodiak’s Kristi Klinnert in 1986. State records can only be set at the state meet, and Ostrander has yet to run in a state meet because she has played soccer instead. This year she has committed to running at the state meet.

Ostrander ran a personal best 10:17.10 just a week ago at the Big “C” Relays in Anchorage, but the mild conditions and strong competition in Saturday’s race pushed her to new heights.

“It was really awesome to see some really talented runners, and it was cool to be with such an elite bunch,” Ostrander said by phone Saturday night. “My strategy was to hang with the lead pack and try to hold on until the end.”

The Arcadia Invite, billed as the “Home of National Records,” certainly lived up to the hype. Washington’s Alexa Efraimson won the women’s 3,200 with a time of 9:55.92.

Ostrander said Efraimson immediately jumped out to the lead and never relinquished it, while the others were left to battle for second place.

“I was running in fourth place almost the entire race,” Ostrander said. “But I managed to outsprint two other girls.”

Both Bethan Knights and Anna Maxwell finished within 1.15 seconds of Ostrander at the finish.

Ostrander said she was not concerned with her split times, but did receive quite a shock when she completed the first mile (four laps) in 5:01.96.

“It was like, wow we’re moving along at a good pace here,” she described.

Allie’s parents, Teri and Paul, were in the stands, and Teri said it became obvious others realized that Allie was from Alaska when they began pulling for her.

“I think she surprised a lot of people,” Teri said. “I hope going forward that this gives Alaskan athletes a bit of street cred, and they give us a little more respect.

“Hopefully it translates to more interest in Alaskan athletes.”

Allie said in order to break the 10-minute mark, she would have to run with another fast pack like she contended with Saturday night. Currently, no other high school girl in Alaska has run under 11 minutes this season.

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