“If you don’t already know her, allow me to reintroduce Allie Ostrander."
Drowned by the noise of hundreds of high school athletes shouting her name, those words from the public address announcer rang in the air as Boise State University’s All-American Ostrander was introduced last out of 14 athletes competing at the Big C Relay’s Skinny Raven Laird Prosser Memorial Mile at The Dome on Saturday.
Among those athletes were fellow class of 2015 Kenai Central High alumni Jordan and Jonah Theisen — NCAA Division II All-Americans for Black Hills State University.
Also making an appearance at USA Track and Field’s 10th Big C Relays was featured-athlete and Olympian Manteo Mitchell. Mitchell, who was also the 2015 relay’s featured athlete but didn’t race, is Western Carolina University’s most decorated athlete in school history and a 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 4x400 relay.
In the Memorial Mile, Jordan Theisen led the way with a time of 4 minutes, 7.73 seconds — his personal best by almost five seconds.
“We had great competition, there was nobody that could run a sub-four (minute mile) which was kinda nice since we all had a pretty even playing field. It was the perfect meet to run a (personal) best time," Theisen said.
Finishing a few seconds behind Jordan was his twin brother Jonah (4:11.56), who is younger by one minute.
Ostrander, who was one of two women in the race, finished 12th overall with a 4:41.03.
Ostrander and the Theisen twins received an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd during their introductions. During the race, fans continued to cheer loudly and chase them from The Dome’s inner turf as they ran by.
“I could definitely feel the energy in the crowd and it was cool to see a lot of my old teammates, my friends and my family of course — it was just a cool opportunity,” Ostrander said.
Also running the Memorial Mile were Kodiak alumni Levi Fried (third, 4:12.07) and Keith Osowski (6th, 4:14.21) who also run for Black Hills State with the Theisen twins.
“It was cool that they all got to race each other again. That was a matchup I saw many times in high school,” Ostrander said.
When invited by the Big C Relay’s meet director Marcus Dunbar, Jordan Theisen was ecstatic to “bring Kenai and Kodiak back together to get the rivalry going again.”
“I found out (Dunbar) texted Allie also and asked her, so we all got in contact and decided ‘We gotta make it here.' "
In the meet’s 300-meter special event race, Mitchell raced against Ohio State’s Champ Page and Team USA’s Paralympic Guide, Mason Rhodes — both of whom are elite runners.
When the starting pistol fired, Mitchell, Page and Rhodes took off at a neck-breaking pace. The high-school athletes in attendance watched in awe, with most commenting how unbelievably fast they were.
Mitchell won the race with a 33.42-second time, with the public address announcer announcing that their times were on par with the world’s top-20 fastest 300-meter times.
Despite having been a guest athlete in the 2015′s relays right before The Dome’s collapse, this was Mitchell’s first time racing in Alaska.
“It’s good to be back ... I did a lot of sightseeing and got to actually explore Alaska and see what it’s all about, it’s been fun," Mitchell said.
The decision to run a 300-meter race as opposed to Mitchell’s signature 400 meters was made by his coach in order to make the race a viable training session.
“It was a great atmosphere to run in, these kids love the sport so it’s great to let them see what hard and dedication can get you to if you really want to pursue that level."