Kenai Central junior Allie Ostrander won the elite varsity girls race Saturday at the Adidas Cross Country Invite, hosted by George Fox University in Mission State Park, just outside of Salem, Ore.
Ostrander remained undefeated in her last two cross-country seasons by running five kilometers in 16 minutes, 47.8 seconds, a personal record.
Kenai Central coach Teri Ostrander said the race drew a lot of teams from Oregon and Washington, but runners from as far away as Colorado, Texas and California. The coach said Alaska also was represented well, with runners from West Valley, Lathrop, South and Kodiak.
“These Alaska kids — all of them were phenomenal to watch do well in a very competitive arena,” Ostrander said. “It really shows the upside and potential of Alaska athletes.”
Allie Ostrander showed her upside by being one of only two runners to drop below 17 minutes. The runner-up, Ella Donaghu, finished at 16:54. Donaghu is the top-ranked runner in Oregon and also in the top 20 nationally. Teri Ostrander said Allie ran shoulder-to-shoulder with the eventual runner-up before opening up a little gap at the two-kilometer mark.
Ostrander and Donaghu dropped the No. 2-ranked girl in Oregon about 1.5 kilometers into the race.
The coach said Allie was able to break 17 minutes due to a flat course and the tough competition.
“Allie was a surprise to a lot of people,” Ostrander said.
Teri Ostrander said she is not sure if Allie will run in some of the big national meets in December because the training season is just about over in Alaska.
But getting to taste cross-country in running-mad Oregon is enough for now. The meet had 10 different races and about 2,200 runners total.
“There were hundreds of fans lining the course,” she said. “There were as many fans as runners. It doesn’t seem like cross-country gets that type of focus in Alaska.”