Junior champions repeat; girls' record shattered

Doyle Woody

SEWARD -- Alexander Babos closed his junior career on Mount Marathon in style Sunday morning, and record-busting Allie Ostrander again showed she could be dominating for years.

Babos and Ostrander repeated as champions of the boys and girls divisions, respectively, in the race to the halfway point of the 3,022-foot mountain overlooking Resurrection Bay and back into town.

Babos, 17, of Eagle River, held off race rookie Jack Novak, 17, of Anchorage, to win in 27 minutes, 29 seconds - that was 67 seconds faster than his winning time last year.

Ostrander, of Soldotna, crushed the field in the race for kids 17 and younger and shattered Aubrey Smith's 1997 junior girls race record. Ostrander's 31:15 not only demolished Smith's record (33:01) by nearly two minutes but also slashed 3:09 off her winning time last year.

Oh, and Ostrander's just 13, so she has four more years of junior eligibility.

Ostrander now owns the girls' records for overall fastest time, fastest in the 12-14 age-group and fastest in the 11-and-under age group -- she set the latter mark came in 2008, when she finished second overall.

"I'm happy,'' Ostrander said. "I think it's just more experience on the mountain.

"Since I live in (Soldotna), there's not really any mountains. But every year I get more experience (on Mount Marathon) and get more sure of myself.''

Ostrander said she practiced on Mount Marathon three times this summer.

"On the weekends, when I don't have a soccer tournament or other stuff, the whole family comes here and we do the mountain,'' she said.

Ostrander ran wearing a yellow T-shirt that honored a family friend, the late Mathias "Matti'' Martin of Kenai. Martin, 9, who finished 45 th overall and second among boys 11 and under last year, died in a livestock accident last August at the Kenai Peninsula State Fair in Ninilchik.

Ostrander's T-shirt featured a picture of Matti and a legend that read: "In Memory of Matti Martin.''

Babos won in his last year of eligibility in the junior race. He said he didn't have to look back and see Novak on the descent to know the newcomer was in hot pursuit.

"When we were coming down the shale, I could hear his footsteps behind me,'' Babos said.

He topped Novak (27:38) by nine seconds. It was Novak's first race.

"He was just a little bit faster on the road,'' Novak said. "This race comes down to guts, and he had them.

"I'm happy for him, but I sure would have loved to win. (But) I'm happy. I'm totally psyched with how I finished.''

Peter Mamrol, 16, of Anchorage, took third place among boys in 28:36, which was Babos' winning time in 2009.

Anne Liotta, 17, of Anchorage, finished second among girls in 37:04. Mira Hopkins, 16, of Anchorage, claimed third in 37:45.

Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335