Kodiak’s Keith Osowski has evidently figured out how to peak for the most important meet of the year, and that’s why he can add NCAA Division II track First-Team All-American to his running resume.
The steeplechaser for Black Hills State University of Friday delivered a personal and school record for the second straight day Friday to finish fourth at nationals in Allendale, Mich. Osowski clocked 8 minutes, 48.42 seconds in the 3,000-meter race over hurdles and a water barrier to slash another 1.20 seconds off his standard.
Osowski on Thursday clocked 8:49.62 to advance to Friday’s final.
The senior in the last year has lowered his steeplechase personal record by an astounding 23.77 seconds in a race that covered seven and a half laps.
Osowski’s performance highlighted a day in which several Alaskans and Alaska-connected athletes excelled at national championship meets on, and inside, the oval.
UAA heptathlete Elena Cano came up big in the 800 meters, the seventh and final event of the competition in Allendale to finish 12th and seize the final Second-Team All-American honor.
Cano clocked 2:22.50, which lifted her into 12th after sitting 14th through six events.
Her Seawolves teammate Joshua Wagner obliterated his UAA and Great Northwest Athletic Conference record while advancing out of the 110-meter hurdles preliminaries. Wagner clocked 14.00, an improvement of .15 over his standards, to finish seventh overall in the prelims, advance to Saturday’s final and assure himself All-American status.
In NCAA individual events, the top eight finishers earn First-Team All-American status and the ninth- through 12th-place finishers earn Second-Team All-American status.
The men’s 110 hurdles also included former West High star Leroy Elliott Jr. of Adams State (Colo.), but he did not qualify for the finals. Elliott finished 11th overall among 17 racers in 14.35. That was well off his personal best of 13.89.
Meanwhile, at the NAIA nationals in Gulf Shores, former Soldotna High football and track and field star Galen Brantley III peaked much like Osowski to finish 14th in the shot put.
Brantley, of Dickinson State (N.D.) entered the day with a personal-best of 51-0.75 inches. He beat that on all three of his throws, going a PR 52-2 on his first heave, 51-8.25 on his second effort and finishing with another PR of 53-1.
That 53-1 bettered his personal best entering the day by a sliver over three feet, a monumental improvement in a discipline in which PRs usually are measured by inches.