Alaskan runners Allie Ostrander and Levi Thomet led the U.S. Mountain Running Team’s successful showing at the 2015 World Mountain Running Championships on Saturday in Betws-y-Coed, Wales.
Ostrander, a Kenai, Alaska, native who has made a name for herself by winning four junior titles at the daunting Mountain Marathon race in Seward, Alaska, won the 4.7K women’s junior race in dominating fashion. The 18-year-old Boise State freshman with a bright and engaging smile and personality crossed the finish line in 19:44—38 seconds ahead of runner-up Michaela Stranska of the Czech Republic. It was the second American gold medal in three years, following a win by Colorado’s Mandy Ortiz in 2013. Colorado’s Lily Tomasula Martin was the second U.S. runner, placing 30th in 22:49, while Virginia’s Katie Bowe finished 38th in 24:29.
Meanwhile, the 18-year-ol Thomet, who hails from Kodiak, Alaska, finished second in the junior boys race and led Team USA to second place in that race. Thomet covered the two-loop 8.9K course in 33:50, just four seconds behind winner Ferhat Bozkurt from Turkey. It’s the highest finish ever in the race by a U.S. runner. Colorado’s Ben Butler was the next American runner in ninth place in 36:49, while Utah’s Tayte Polmann was 17th in 37:46 and Texas’ Connor Wilson was 46th in 41:52.
The American women’s elite squad brought home the team silver medal, led by sixth-place finisher Kimber Mattox of Oregon. She covered the 8.9K course in 39:31. Vermont’s Kasie Enman and Idaho’s Morgan Arritola finished 10th and 11th, respectively, in 40:11, while Oregon’s Allison Grace-Morgan was 18th in 40:59, marking the first time Team USA placed its first four runners among the top 20 at the world championships. Great Britain won the team title with 9 points, followed by the U.S. with 28 and Uganda with 29. The U.S. women previously won gold in 2006, 2007 and 2012, and bronze in 2004, 2009 and 2014.
In the 13K men’s elite race, Colorado’s Joe Gray was once again the top finisher for the U.S., placing fifth in 51:16. Combined with Colorado’s Andy Wacker (13th, 52:25), Oregon’s Ryak Bak (22nd, 53:30) and Nevada’s John Patrick Donovan (37th, 54:44), the American men placed fourth out of 18 teams. Uganda’s Fred Musobo was the men’s overall champion in 49:00.