With a roaring crowd keeping her company down the final stretch, Kenai's Allie Ostrander on Saturday blazed her way into the Alaska track and field record book for the second day in a row.
Ostrander, a junior who ranks among the nation's top high school distance runners, turned in a stunning performance in the 1,600 meters, lowering her personal best while wiping out not only the 2003 state record set by Kris Smith of West, but bettering the 1977 mile record set by Betsy Haines of East.
Ostrander finished in 4 minutes, 49.47 seconds, taking five seconds off her previous PR (4:54.82), erasing Smith's time of 4:55.89 from the state record book and surpassing Haines' mile time of 4:56.3. The mile is nine meters longer than the 1,600, but Ostrander topped Haines' time by more than six seconds.
Meet officials at Dimond High did a good job during the race informing fans about the run for the record, and for the final 100 meters the crowd cheered Ostrander, who ran alone for nearly the entire race.
"That crowd and that energy, it was just awesome," Ostrander said. "I just focused all the way through the finish. I knew I had to keep the hammer down."
The victory capped one of the greatest individual efforts in Alaska track and field history. On Friday, Ostrander won the 3,200 in 10:13.87 to break the 1986 record set by Kristi (Klinnert) Waythomas of Kodiak.
Ostrander opened her 1,600 race with a 1:10 lap, recorded 1:14s on the next two laps and finished with a swift 1:10.
"That was probably 50-50 adrenaline and speed," she said of the fast finish.
To find another state championship performance that matches Ostrander's, go back to 1984, when Bartlett's Doug Herron set records in the 800 and 1,600 that still stand.
The temptation is to say Ostrander's marks will also live long into the future. But Ostrander, who also won Saturday's 800 meters, still has another season of high school track. And she's already talking about going even faster.
"It's cool that now I have these times to improve on," she said.
Ostrander's effort was the most splendid in a Class 4A meet filled with great performances.
Colony's Peggy Mathis earned four individual titles -- the 100, 200, 400 and long jump. Her 40 points carried the Knights to their first team championship in track. In most years that would've made Mathis the athlete of the meet.
But that award clearly belonged to Ostrander. She owned the fourth fastest 3,200 time in the nation coming into the meet (10:03, recorded at a California invitational meet) and her race Saturday gives her the 15th fastest 1,600 time in the nation.
West's Leroy Elliott was named the athlete of the meet for the boys, thanks to wins in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump and a third-place showing in the high jump. He came up short in his bid to beat the state record in the 110 hurdles, but that disappointment was eased by a personal best in the triple jump, where he bettered his previous record by more than two feet.
"It was a goal to get the state record," Elliott said of the 110 hurdles, "but a win's a win."
Thunder Mountain's Naomi Welling was another triple winner, with victories in both hurdle races and the triple jump. She clocked quality times in both races.
Also winning three events was Kodiak's Levi Thomet, who looked both powerful and graceful in winning the 3,200 on Friday and the 1,600 and 800 on Saturday. He and teammate Levi Fried gave the Bears a 1-2 finish in the 800, and those two also helped Kodiak to victory in the 3,200 relay.
Three other athletes were double winners -- Lathrop's To'a Levi (girls shot put and discus), Eagle River's Ed Hall (boys shot put and discus) and Dimond's C.J. Parker (200, 400).
Parker helped Dimond capture the boys team championship for the fifth time, and the first time since 2011.
"Last year we finished second to Kodiak by three points," Parker said. "So that summer we got together and did workouts, hoping to take it this year."
Football players who also compete in track helped lead that effort, he said: "We'd tell everyone to eat healthy and get everyone to run and weight-lift. Even at the beginning of this season, we knew we'd have to work to be contenders."
The defending state champion Dimond girls, who had won four of the previous five state championships, came into the season knowing they were contenders for another crown.
But then came recent injuries to jumper Chrisalyn Johnson, who injured her knee in practice, and sprinter Malia Lyken, who sprained her ankle in a Wednesday soccer match. Together, those two represented a potential 40 or 50 points for the Lynx, who had to adjust their mindset as a result.
"When we found out about all of these injuries, we had to get back on our feet and do what we can," said Vanessa Tufaga, who helped Dimond win the 4x200 relay. "It's about getting back up and doing the best you can, even if you don't win state."
Reach Beth Bragg at email@example.com or 257-4335.
By BETH BRAGG