NEW YORK >> A year ago, Darien’s Alex Ostberg wasn’t able to compete at the New Balance Indoor Track and Field Nationals due to an illness.
This weekend, the senior more than made up for the absence.
Sunday afternoon at the Armory in New York, Ostberg captured third place in the boys’ 2 mile, running a blistering time of eight minutes and 48.88 seconds to set an unofficial state record.
Ostberg also became the first runner in Connecticut indoor track history to run under nine minutes.
“It’s awesome,” Ostberg said of his performance. “Last year was very disheartening to come in with the U.S. No. 2 time and not be able to compete in the 5K and 4×1 mile, which was the plan. I just got sick at the wrong time. Things like this happen, but it motivated me to get back and start training harder…to be able to say I ran 8:48, it kind of blows my mind.”
Ostberg ran an honest pace, staying in contention for the win the entire race. The Stanford-bound senior led the highly-competitive field around the 5:30-6 minute mark. Andrew Hunter of Virginia, who finished in first (8:48.22) and Levi Thomet of Alaska (8:48.32) second, overtook him with about 400 meters to go.
Ostberg displayed a strong kick to stay with the two and clock under 8:50.
“The first 800 was much faster than anticipated, but I just tried to make a move with 800 to go, because I knew I would be a little bit tired from my 1,600 two days ago.”
Sunday’s performance capped off a phenomenal weekend for Darien as the distance medley relay team of Army Noonan, Carter Ashcraft, Arthur Cassidy and Ostberg placed second in an unofficial state record time of 10:05.47 on Friday evening. Ostberg ran a 4:06.80 1,600 anchor in the race.
“Yeah, I’m surprised with both times to be honest,” Ostberg said. “(The) 4:06 I really don’t even know where that time came from. I was just ready to go. We’ve been looking forward to the DMR for such a long time. It was a really fun experience. It was just so great to celebrate it with my teammates.”
Ostberg left the meet earning All-American status in both events.
“To exceed my expectations and exceed both my goals, I can’t ask for anything else,” Ostberg said.
Other Connecticut athletes that fared well included Brien McMahon junior Eric van der Els who finished in fourth place in the 5,000 meters on Friday, running 15:02.56.
The boys’ 4×2 relay final Sunday afternoon saw Windsor finish in fourth (1:29.49) and Weston fifth (1:29.59), both earning All-American status. Ridgefield’s 4×8 relay set an unofficial state record (7:48.90) on Saturday, while the Weston SMR won the emerging elite title in 3:31.05.
In the field events, Westhill’s Chris Rough and Windham’s Joe Fogarasi both cleared 15-10 to set an unofficial state record. Rough tied for sixth to gain All-American status.
In the boys’ one mile race walk, Hand’s Jonathan Lazor finished in fourth place (7:23.15) and earn All-American.
On the girls’ side, the Wilbur Cross SMR team of Gabby Curtis, Leah Rivers, Claudia Schatz and Danae Rivers finished in seventh place in a time of 4:05.40.