PALMER - Uh oh, Region III. There's a new kid on the cross-country running trail.
Valley running fans caught their first glimpse of Kenai Central freshman Allie Ostrander. And depending on the vantage point, it was probably not much more than a glimpse.
Ostrander ran uncontested to a victory during the Colony Invitational cross-country running meet at Colony High School Saturday.
Ostrander clocked a time of 17 minutes, 19.2 seconds, on the course, which fell 190 meters short of five kilometers. Ostrander was deep into the trail by the time another runner reached the end of the football-field length starting chute.
She led by more than 45 seconds at the halfway point, and finished 51 seconds before runner-up Bailey Beeson even hit the final 100 yards of the finish chute.
"She's a freshman coming out with these crazy fast times. I'm really excited for her to see what she does," said Colony junior Audrey Michaelson, who led all Valley runners with a third-place finish.
While Ostrander was the clear champion Saturday afternoon, Beeson and Michaelson battled for position in the top three. Beeson finished at the 18:21 mark, seven seconds ahead of Michaelson.
"She is awesome, she pushed me the entire time," Michaelson said of her Kenai rival. "Otherwise, I don't think I would have been able to go as fast. I'd love second, but Bailey is such a worthy competitor. I'm happy with third."
While Michaelson said she's amazed with what Ostrander's accomplished so far, she's excited for the freshman. Last week, Ostrander beat Service's Jenette Northey by nearly a minute to win the Skyview Invite. Northey was the state runner-up last year.
"I'm excited for her. I feel real lucky to get to race with her. Of course, I'd like to get as close to her as I can," Michaelson said.
Ostrander was one of three Kards to finish in the top five. Hope Steffensen had a fifth-place finish. Team scores were not available.
Bailey Meier also posted a top-10 finish for the Knights, placing sixth with a mark of 18:45. Hana Bohman led Palmer, finishing seventh at 18:46.
Ostrander was the clear winner in the girls race, but four-tenths of a second separated the top two runners in the boys race.
West Valley juniors Kuba Grzeda and Peter Noon sprinted to the finish line, with Grzeda winning the individual title by a hair.
Grzeda clocked a time of 15:23.06, just ahead of Noon's 15:24.
Palmer senior Mason Minturn continued his stellar run through his final season with his third top-four finish in three weeks. Minturn finished third with a time of 15:53.
"I felt I could have done better, but I'm pleased with third," Minturn said. "The competition here is legit. West Valley is a killer team and I'm happy to be up there with them."
Minturn stood in third for virtually the entire race, holding his ground as the two West Valley juniors shot to the front.
"They hit the 1K mark and just popped," Minturn said.
Senior Schyler Knopp also scored a top-10 finish for the Moose, placing eight with a time of 16:26.
"Schyler is a big part of our team. Schyler and Joe Day," Minturn said. "They step it up at regions and we take regions."
Day finished 19th Saturday.
Brandon Schafer led host Colony with a 12th-place finish.
The Wolfpack placed five runners in the top nine of the field. Freshmen Jordan and Jonah Thiesen placed ninth and 10th respectively for Kenai.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/matsu_sports.
Girls individual results (4,810 meters, Top 20):
1. A. Ostrander, Ken 17:19; 2. B. Beeson, Ken 18:21; 3. A. Michaelson, Col, 18:28; 4. K. Wilson, KL 18:40; 5. H. Steffensen, Ken 18:42; 6. B. Meier, Col 18:45; 7. H. Bohman, Pal 18:46; 8. E. Arnold, Gra 18:46; 9. E. Rorabaugh, WV 18:52; 10. C. Trujillo, Gra 18:56; 11. C. Ohotnicky, Hfa, 18:58; 12. E. Jorgenson, Pal 19:03; 13. T. Ostrander, Ken 19:07; 14. M. Thompson, Col 19;15; 15. B. Davis, Gra 19:26; 16. C. Applegate, Gra 19:31; 17. A. Trujillo, Gra 19:36; 18. M. Burroughs, Was 19:37; 19. P. Mathis, Was 19:38; 20. K. Schmitz, NP 19:46.
Other Peninsula finishers:
22. N. Schmitter-Schrier, 19:53; 34. C. Soistman, Hom 21:01; 40. P. Jantzi, Hom 21;12; 47. V. Mastolier, Hom 21:58; 51. A. Miller, 22:09; 52. C. Keifer, Ken 22:10; 62. M. Peters, Hom 23:49; 67. K. Duran, Ken 24:23.
Boys individual results (4,810 meters, Top 20)
1. K. Grzeda, WV 15 minutes, 23.6 seconds; 2. P. Noon, WV 15:24; 3. M. Minturn, Palmer 15:53; 4. E. Hoefler, 16:01; 5. J. Klein, 16:02; 6. M. Sayre, WV 16:03; 7. D. Serventi, Gra 16:24; 8. S. Knopp, Pal 16:26; 9. M. Donaldson, WV 16:29; 10. J. Theisen, Ken 16:30; 11. Jon. Theisen, Ken 16:31; 12. B. Schafer, Col 16:32; 13. J. Thomas, Gra 16:35; 14. B. Kowalski, WV 16:38; 15. F. Machaud, Ken 16:41; 16. M. Hatter, Grac 16:42; 17. H. Karlberg, Gra 16:43; 18. I. Isaacs, Gra 16:50; 19. J. Day, Pal 16:51; 20. D. VanderWeide, Gra 16:54.
Other Peninsula finishers:
34. N. Mole, Ken 17:20; 37. J. Vantrease, Hom 17:27; 39. C. McCarron, Hom 17:28; 47. A. Springer, Ken 17:46; 55. J. Worsford, Hom 18:07; 56. D. Brown, Hom 18:08; 64. B. Beachy, Hom 18:25; 86. J. Walsworth, Hom 20:15.