A year ago, Keith Osowski was on his way to winning three titles at the 4A state track and field championships.
Last Saturday, Kodiak’s talented distance runner made his outdoor track and field debut for Black Hills State University, an NCAA Division II school located in Spearfish, South Dakota.
Known for his speed in track’s long distance races, Osowski tried something new at the season opening Yellow Jacket Spring Open at Lyle Hare Stadium: the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The 3,000 steeplechase involves running and navigating 28 barriers and seven water jumps, an event not seen at the high school level.
Osowski, a 2017 graduate of Kodiak High School, impressed in his first race, finishing fourth in a field of 10 runners with a time of 10 minutes, 2.55 seconds. The top three finishers were also from Black Hills. The winning time was 9:43.18.
Osowski, who won the 1,600, 3,200 and was part of Kodiak’s winning 3,200 relay at last year’ state track meet, is not the first person from Alaska to have ventured into the steeplechase. In 2017, Boise State’s Allie Ostrander, a graduate of Kenai High School, won an NCAA Division I national championship in the steeplechase with a time of 9:41.31.
In 2016, Ketchikan’s Isaac Updike finished 12th in the steeplechase at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Kodiak's Miles Dunbar, Lucas Fried and Christy Roe also competed in the event in college.
Osowski was not the only graduate of Kodiak High School competing in the Yellow Jacket Spring Open as teammate Zoe Bigley ran in the women’s 1,500-meter race.
Bigley, a sophomore at Black Hills, finished 12th in the 17-person field with a time of 5:23.18.
Kodiak’s Levi Fried, a junior at Black Hills, is still nursing an injury he sustained during the indoor track season.