Kenai Central senior Allie Ostrander crossed the finish line Saturday on the Bartlett High School running trails to claim the Class 4A girls state cross-country running title, something she has done twice before.
But after the finish, she did something she’s never done before — she finally got the chance to meet Kristi Waythomas, the former state champion who has seen most of her records taken by Ostrander in the last three years.
Ostrander won Saturday’s race with a girls state cross-country record time of 17 minutes, 5 seconds, bettering her own mark from last year of 17:49, which was also the standard that Waythomas (formerly Klinnert) set in 1983.
After she came through under the finishing arch, Ostrander proceeded to work her way through a long finishing chute, where she was met by Waythomas ready to congratulate her.
“That was amazing, she came up to me and said, ‘Allie it’s so nice to finally meet you, I’m Kristy,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, Kristy Klinnert!’” Ostrander said. “It was awesome.
“She’s been something I’ve been chasing after all four years of high school. She’s such a legend, and it was so cool to finally meet her.”
The race was the final cross-country event of a glorious high school career for Ostrander, who has won every race she has finished the last four years. The lone exception was the 2011 state meet, when she collapsed midway through the race her freshman year.
“I learned a lot from that experience,” Ostrander said. “Of course it was a huge disappointment, but it really showed me that getting really nervous before races and putting a lot of pressure on myself isn’t going to help me race better.”
Ostrander said that after the incident that first year, running the state meet had been a mental challenge, one that she has had to confront every year since the races have been held at Bartlett.
Now, however, as a fully fledged and battle-tested senior, Ostrander has cleared that hurdle and has proven to be one of the nation’s top prep runners.
“More than being nervous, it made me excited,” Ostrander said about Saturday’s season finale. “This is just the end of my high school career in cross country, but it’s also the beginning of the next part of my life, going on to college and possibly other things.
“I had so much pump in me before the race, my teammates kept making fun of me because I would randomly spaz out.”
Another reason for Ostrander’s excitement was the fact that she actually had fellow Kenai runners competing with her, instead of just cheering along the trail.
Kenai freshman Riana Boonstra finished ninth with a time of 19:25 in her state debut, and was followed by fellow rookies Addison Gibson in 22nd, Ithaca Bergholtz in 26th and Kasey Paxton in 70th. The new depth on the team helped the Kenai girls to a third-place finish in the 4A team standings.
“We call them the ‘Freshmen Force,’” Ostrander said. “We had four freshman on our varsity today, which was awesome.”
The culmination of Ostrander’s illustrious cross-country career was felt and seen on the faces of those that have been around a while, including longtime Kodiak coach Marcus Dunbar.
“With the times she’s produced, she’s the best runner the state’s ever seen for a female,” Dunbar said. And that is coming from a coach that has coached the prep legends of the state, including Waythomas and his own state champion son, Trevor.
“The impressive thing is she’s gotten better every year,” Dunbar said. “She started off as a phenom, as a freshman, and has just continued to improve, and that’s not easy to do.”
Dunbar added that any college program in the country would place Ostrander as a top-five member of the team, making her collegiate options much simpler.
“There’s a national-calibar talent,” Dunbar replied when asked what goes through his mind when he sees her run. “Maybe a future Olympian, or just a college runner that can go anywhere she wants.”
One athlete that will be happy to see Allie leave to college is Soldotna’s Olivia Hutchings, who finished second Saturday, a whopping 1:38 behind Ostrander.
Since she is a junior, Hutchings made no attempt to hide the fact that she is glad to see Ostrander graduating in the spring, which will naturally leave Hutchings as one of the state’s top challengers for next year’s state crown.
“But she’s a fun competitor and a nice girl,” Hutchings said. “She’s an inspiration.”
Hutchings led the Stars to a runner-up finish in the Class 4A team standings as well, scoring 74 points to West Anchorage’s 50. It’s the second straight year that the two teams have finished 1-2.
“I’m just really proud of my team, and there’s nothing else we could’ve done,” Hutchings said. “I knew we pushed ourselves to our limits and there’s nothing else we could ask for.”
Soldotna placed four runners in the top 30. Hutchings was followed by senior teammate Dani McCormick in fourth with a time of 19:11, Daisy Nelson in 20th, and Molly Erickson in 28th.
Soldotna coach Ted McKenney, who matched his runners with a dash of sparkling blue-and-white glitter on his cheeks, said his squad just did not have the kind of depth shown by West, a school that annually draws around 100 runners a year to the team. Soldotna, on the other hand, had its largest turnout in a number of years in 2014 with close to 40.
“My third runner was my fifth runner today,” he said. “You see that earlier in the race, and know they’re struggling, so at that point you just hope for a strong finish.
“If they run hard, we’re happy with whatever comes. I’ve been doing this for a long time, there’s no reason to be disappointed afterward.”
McKenney was also proud to point out the strong competition among the Kenai Peninsula teams and others in the Region III.
“If you look at it overall, there’s eight awards at that table,” McKenney said. “Five of them are going to the Peninsula or Kodiak. All southern teams, so it’s a strong culture.”
In the Class 4A boys race, Kodiak sensation Levi Thomet once again ran away from the field to win his third straight state crown with a time of 15:10, pacing the Bears to their first state championship since 2008, when Alaska running ace Trevor Dunbar was with the team.
The Kenai boys took home fifth place, edging Service by three points. Leading the way was senior Jonah Theisen, who like his teammate Ostrander, capped a strong high school cross-country career with a runner-up finish and a time of 15:43, a personal best.
“I was only 32 seconds behind (Thomet) I think, so I’m happy with that,” Theisen said.
Theisen was followed across the line by Chugiak’s Ty Jordan — a rival of his — and brother Jordan Theisen, who finished sixth in 16:19.
“I went out fast for the first 2K, and my previous two times I went out really slow, so this was way sub-pace for me,” Jonah said.
The Kards placed three runners in the top-20, but three more below 70th. Senior Travis Cooper was 19th in a time of 16:50.
Jonah said that chasing Thomet may be tough, but the thought had crossed him mind more than once during the race.
“At one point and looked up a hill we were running up, and we closed the distance by half, but I think on the flat he just took off,” Theisen said.
Since the Kenai boys varsity regularly trains with Ostrander on the girls side, he was able to offer a personal perspective of the kind of athlete that she is.
“I don’t think her records will ever be beaten, honestly,” he said confidently. “She’s the one that pushes us in practice. She keeps us from slacking off.”
When asked whether she thinks that another girl will someday burst onto the Alaska running scene and break her current records — perhaps resulting in another meeting like the one she experienced with Waythomas — Ostrander simply said that anything is possible.
“Records are made to be broken,” Ostrander said. “I want to see Alaska continue to produce outstanding athletes.
“I see all these girls improving so much, and we’re kind of putting Alaska on the map.”
2014 ASAA First National Bank Alaska Cross-Country State Championships
Saturday, at Bartlett Running Trails
Class 4A girls
Team scores: 1. West, 50; 2. Soldotna, 74; 3. Kenai, 86; 4. Colony, 111; 5. West Valley, 125; 6. South, 131; 7. Chugiak, 149; 8. Eagle River, 162; 9. Lathrop, 224; 10. Juneau-Douglas, 287.
Individual 5K results
1. Allie Ostrander, Kenai 17:06 2. Olivia Hutchings, Soldotna 18:44 3. Morgan Lash, South Anchorage 18:59 4. Dani McCormick, Soldotna 19:11 5. Jill Bowker, Colony 19:16 6. Kayle Blackmore, West Anchorage 19:18 7. Naomi Welling, Thunder Mountain 19:18 8. Jenna Difolco, West Valley 19:24 9. Riana Boonstra, Kenai 19:25 10. Megan Fink, East Anchorage 19:28 11. Molly Gellert, West Anchorage 19:36 12. Ruby Woodings, Palmer 19:37 13. Lydia Blanchet, West Anchorage 19:38 14. Zoe Bigley, Kodiak 19:43 15. Hannah Brown, South Anchorage 19:45 16. Riley Burroughs, Wasilla 19:46 17. Victoria Mayer, West Anchorage 19:47 18. Fiona Fick, West Anchorage 19:47 19. Sara Hartke, Chugiak 19:49 20. Daisy Nelson, Soldotna 19:51 21. Aislin Waite, Service 19:54 22. Addison Gibson, Kenai 19:56 23. Erin Wallace, Thunder Mountain 19:57 24. Fiona Pedrick, Bartlett 20:00 25. Alex Mathis, Colony 20:03 26. Ithaca Bergholtz, Kenai 20:05 27. Nikole Boggs, Eagle River 20:05 28. Molly Erickson, Soldotna 20:08 29. Brooke Gottmeier, West Valley 20:11 30. Elisabeth Bowker, Colony 20:11 31. Maggie York, West Anchorage 20:14 32. Nieca Murphy, West Valley 20:15 33. Autumn Fournier, Lathrop 20:21 34. Emily Maynard, West Valley 20:28 35. Erika Rodanhisler, Ketchikan 20:33 36. Hannah Booher, Chugiak 20:34 37. Melissa De Guzman, Kodiak 20:35 38. Emma Nelson, Chugiak 20:38 39. Allison Hebard, Lathrop 20:39 40. Kaylee Manwaring, Chugiak 20:44 41. Summer Frazier, Eagle River 20:46 42. Coleen Geraghty, Colony 20:47 43. Sadie Fox, Soldotna 20:50 44. Emily Evans, South Anchorage 21:00 45. Catheryne Powers, Colony 21:03 46. Kate Paskievitch, Eagle River 21:05 47. Peyton Young, Eagle River 21:07 48. Emily Werner, Soldotna 21:07 49. Emma Tvelia, Eagle River 21:08 50. Cinnamon Monterrosa, West Anchorage 21:08 51. Abbigail Osgood, South Anchorage 21:11 52. Kaitlyn Bailey, South Anchorage 21:11 53. Alex Bergholtz, Kenai 21:12 54. Chase Stewart, North Pole 21:13 55. Veronica Stewart, Eagle River 21:14 56. Kailey Fowlkes, North Pole 21:22 57. Naomi Kiekintveld, South Anchorage 21:24 58. Maddy Handley, Juneau-Douglas 21:27 59. Sophie Prichard, West Valley 21:32 60. M. E. Meyerhofer, Colony 21:34 61. Lupua Oba, Lathrop 21:34 62. Lauren Devine, Chugiak 21:48 63. Kellie Arthur, Soldotna 21:52 64. Sarah Cool, Ketchikan 22:01 65. Tessa Heagy, Eagle River 22:03 66. Zoe Ratzlaff, West Valley 22:14 67. Aubrea Stoltz, West Valley 22:15 68. Jessie Gregg, Juneau-Douglas 22:20 69. Anna Campbell, South Anchorage 22:26 70. Kasey Paxton, Kenai 22:26 71. Mackenzie Parrott, Lathrop 22:41 72. Jocelyn Kopsack, Colony 22:41 73. Desiree De Mello, Ketchikan 22:47 74. Toma Kimlinger, Juneau-Douglas 22:58 75. Claire Uchityl, Juneau-Douglas 23:00 76. Katie Cooper, Kenai 23:25 77. Kaylah Duncan, Thunder Mountain 23:46 78. Cristina Mondelli, Lathrop 24:03 79. Grace Burrell, Lathrop 24:17 80. Rachel Rivers, Juneau-Douglas 24:45 81. Alicia Norton, Juneau-Douglas 25:01 82. Ashley Courter, Lathrop 25:07.
Class 4A boys
Team scores: 1. Kodiak, 49; 2. West, 81; 3. West Valley, 81; 4. South, 111; 5. Kenai, 149; 6. Service, 152; 7. Wasilla, 174; 8. Juneau-Douglas, 174; 9. Eagle River, 203; 10. Lathrop, 209.
Individual 5K results
1. Levi Thomet, Kodiak 15:10 2. Jonah Theisen, Kenai 15:43 3. Ty Jordan, Chugiak 16:00 4. Levi Fried, Kodiak 16:09 5. Finn Walker, West Anchorage 16:13 6. Jordan Theisen, Kenai 16:19 7. Keith Osowski, Kodiak 16:23 8. Max Donaldson, West Valley 16:28 9. Chandler Lokanin, Dimond 16:29 10. Gillean Szeda-Mittel, Service 16:29 11. Spencer Mitton, South Anchorage 16:32 12. Luke Jager, West Anchorage 16:39 13. Hamish Wolfe, South Anchorage 16:43 14. Joe Bue, West Valley 16:45 15. Gus Schumacher, Service 16:45 16. Foster Birnbaum, West Anchorage 16:46 17. Alec Smith, Eagle River 16:46 18. Spencer Herron, West Valley 16:50 19. Travis Cooper, Kenai 16:50 20. Jacob Walsh, Eagle River 16:51 21. Michael Parnell, Kodiak 16:52 22. Jack Hannah, Kodiak 16:54 23. Tristan Sayre, West Valley 16:54 24. Zephan Ozturgut, East Anchorage 16:56 25. Riley Moser, Juneau-Douglas 16:58 26. Sam Loyer, Wasilla 17:00 27. Cannen Burgess, West Anchorage 17:01 28. Ti Donaldson, West Valley 17:02 29. Lyle Chamberlain, South Anchorage 17:04 30. Hunter Wonders, South Anchorage 17:04 31. Logan Mowry, Lathrop 17:04 32. Aaron Swedberg, Soldotna 17:07 33. Brian Britt, West Anchorage 17:07 34. Dakota Peterson-Tho, Colony 17:08 35. Sylvan Blankenship, Ketchikan 17:09 36. Alize Arthur, Juneau-Douglas 17:09 37. Richie McKinney, Kodiak 17:12 38. Justin Gentz, Wasilla 17:13 39. Quincy Fuller, Wasilla 17:13 40. Brycen Lynch, West Anchorage 17:14 41. Brian Holst, Juneau-Douglas 17:15 42. Anthony Rubina, Kodiak 17:15 43. Vance Underwood, Lathrop 17:17 44. Luke Meiwes, South Anchorage 17:18 45. Riley Howard, Service 17:18 46. Hunter Thompson, Service 17:19 47. Colton Pulver, Wasilla 17:21 48. Will Balcao, South Anchorage 17:22 49. Corey Box, Juneau-Douglas 17:23 50. Michael Lohrey, Thunder Mountain 17:24 51. Ethan Goebel, Juneau-Douglas 17:28 52. Karl Greathouse, Wasilla 17:29 53. Alex Beehler, Lathrop 17:31 54. Noah Tsigonis, Lathrop 17:32 55. Benjamin Koenig, West Valley 17:35 56. Christopher Llanos, Ketchikan 17:37 57. Derek Steele, South Anchorage 17:37 58. Lane Reed, Wasilla 17:37 59. Enoch Porter, Lathrop 17:39 60. Justin Carpenter, Service 17:42 61. Tracen Knopp, Colony 17:44 62. Luke Mouracade, Eagle River 17:45 63. Keegan Crow, Eagle River 17:47 64. Joaquin Monterrosa, West Anchorage 17:51 65. Parker Trosper, Lathrop 17:56 66. Fintan Nakada, Service 17:59 67. Isaak Bell, Wasilla 18:02 68. Bailey Milani, Service 18:15 69. Johnny Elliott, Juneau-Douglas 18:22 70. Leif Svenson, Ketchikan 18:25 71. Karl Danielson, Kenai 18:25 72. Trent Rodanhisler, Ketchikan 18:29 73. Jonathan Koenig, West Valley 18:30 74. Randol Denney, Eagle River 18:31 75. James Butler, Kenai 18:34 76. Michael Altenburg, Eagle River 18:45 77. Christian Fabacher, Eagle River 18:45 78. Ian Ashley, Kenai 18:52 79. John White, Juneau-Douglas 19:24 80. Tristan Landry, Kenai 19:25 81. Morgan Trosper, Lathrop 20:43.