Ostberg, DeBalsi each place second at Loucks Games
The best male and female distance runner in the state -- Darien senior Alex Ostberg and Staples junior Hannah DeBalsi -- each tested their skills in stacked fields from neighboring states in the 3,200 meter races at the Glenn D. Loucks Games in White Plains, New York on Friday afternoon.
Although both had to settle for runner-up finishes, Ostberg ran a personal best time of 8:43.93, an unofficial state record. Northport (N.Y.) senior Mike Brannigan edged Ostberg for the race win with a time of 8:42.92. The top four runners broke the meet record.
"This race is probably going to be the best 3,200, I would venture to say in the entire country this entire year," Ostberg said. "It's pretty incredible to be a part of that; just the fact that (Brannigan) was there to push me the last few laps, he just found a pace I couldn't keep up with the last 200 meters."
As he has all season, Ostberg led the field from the start of the race with a host of talented runners behind him. Ostberg led a fast pace throughout before Brannigan charged past him on the final lap to earn the win.
"I've learned my lesson in the past, if I want to run fast you have to take fate into your own hands," Ostberg said. "I knew the only way I was going to get to my PR was to just go out and really push the pace."
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DeBalsi (10:37.01) was also in front at the midway point of her race, but Arlington (N.Y.) senior Bella Burda (10:24.84) stormed past in the final 800 meters and won by more than seconds.
"Over the last 800 meters I felt fine, but my legs just wouldn't respond to it," DeBalsi said.
DeBalsi last ran in the 3,000 at the Penn Relays April 23 and finished sixth with a time of 9:51.33. DeBalsi missed out on indoor nationals in March due to bronchitis.
"I thought Penn Relays was bad, and this got worse to be honest," DeBalsi said. "I know I'm in better shape than that. I just need to get some rest; I haven't backed down from training."
DeBalsi won the event as a freshman with a time of 10:20.70 and helped the Wreckers DMR team win gold last year.
Both Ostberg and DeBalsi will now gear up for FCIACs, which is scheduled for May 26 at Danbury High School.
"I think there's a lot more to come, I think I can even run faster than this," Ostberg said. "I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks."
Many other local athletes participated in the meet, which started Thursday and ends Saturday. Ridgefield's Kristian Sogaard (1:55.714) and Jonathan Keating (1:55.719) ran nearly identical times to place eighth and ninth in the 1,600 while Danbury's Mike Morrow (20-04.50) placed 17th in the long jump and Leah Sarkisian (2:16.72) finished 13th in the 800.
Staples senior Bridget van Dorsten is competing in the pentathlon, and is in fourth place after two events.