A pair of peninsula track sensations put a exclamation point on the 2017-18 indoor track and field season Saturday with big performances.
University of Alaska Anchorage junior Dani McCormick captured the 800-meter Division II championship in Pittsburg, Kansas, with a final lap surge.
McCormick, a 2015 Soldotna graduate, became the first female champion in track and field in UAA school history in winning with a time of 2 minutes, 7.79 seconds, just .19 seconds off her personal and school record set last year. McCormick pulled away in the final 300 meters to beat second-place Rachael Walters of Grand Valley State by almost half a second.
At the Division I level, Boise State sophomore Allie Ostrander finished second in the women’s 3,000-meter championship race in College Station, Texas, running a time of 8:54.35, just .08 seconds off her personal and school record that she set as a freshman in 2016. Race winner Karissa Schweizer of Missouri beat Ostrander by .99 seconds.
Ostrander’s runner-up result stands as the best by a Mountain West athlete in the women’s 3,000 meters at the indoor level, and the 2015 Kenai Central graduate claimed the fifth All-American honors of her career.
“(Schweizer) is a great competitor, if I’m going to lose to someone, she’s not the worst option,” Ostrander was quoted as saying in a Boise State press release. “It’s my personal best, and I haven’t run that in two years, so it’s good to see that I’m moving in the right direction.”
Ostrander and Schweizer pulled away from the rest of the pack with about 1,200 meters to go as the field strung out. Ostrander held tight to Schweizer until the backstretch of the final lap, when the Missouri runner finally put a small gap on Ostrander, which was enough to take the win.
“I wish I would’ve had a little more on that last lap to outkick her,” Ostrander said. “I was just trying to be a leech and stick on her, and hopefully outkick her in the end.”
Ostrander also ran in the women’s distance medley relay on Friday, joining Broncos teammates Alexis Fuller, Chelsea Walker and Amy Pfaff to finish fifth. The team ran 10:58.93, the fifth-fastest time in school history without an altitude conversion, with Ostrander capping the race with a 1,600-meter anchor leg.
Ostrander said that the 5,000-meter event is one of her next targets in the upcoming outdoor season. Ostrander has not run a competitive 5K in track since last June when she finished fourth in the Division I Outdoor championships, just 75 minutes after winning the Division I steeplechase crown.