Tristian Merchant had read about Levi Thomet.
He had watched videos of Levi Thomet.
Over the weekend, the Anchorage Christian Schools star finally met Kodiak High’s running legend.
Merchant aimed for Thomet’s 3,200-meter state record at the Brian Young Invitational all-star meet Saturday at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
And Thomet was on hand — in a Kodiak yellow and blue singlet — to pace Merchant.
“I’ve been hearing his name but had never seen him face to face,” Thomet said. “I’m a supporter of speed and records are meant to be broken. I wanted to give him everything he could to try and smash it.”
Merchant’s effort on a crystal-clear Saturday fell short of Thomet’s 8-minute, 45.28-second record, which was converted from his 8:48.32 2-mile time on the New York City Armory’s 200-meter banked track at the 2015 New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Merchant — a Northern Arizona University commit — ran an 8:53.49 in front of the Kodiak fans. The senior went 8:52.53 at last week’s Division II State Track and Field Championships, which ranks 18th in the nation on athletic.net.
Despite not topping his personal-best time from last week, he was still stoked about running at BYI.
He said the slight breeze slowed him down, but he was still pleased with his performance.
“I liked it. I got paced by two super good guys,” Merchant said.
Thomet and Camron Herron — No. 2 on the state’s 800 list with a 1:51.64 — alternated pacing Merchant every two laps.
Thomet dug his spikes out from the closet when meet organizer Marcus Dunbar asked his former star runner for help.
Having Matthew Maton — a two-time All-American at Oregon — as a roommate helped in preparing Thomet for the 800 segments.
“It is always a good training regimen when you have him as your roommate,” said Thomet, who lives in Eugene, Oregon.
After a record-breaking high school career, Thomet landed at the University of Oregon.
He qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships as a freshman, but he struggled to remain healthy after that.
His final appearance in an Oregon singlet was in 2019.
“It was fun to race and get that DI collegiate experience in,” Thomet said. “I just had a blast.”
He still runs, but just to remain in shape now.
“I would like to get back into mountain running,” Thomet said. “That is something that I really enjoyed in high school.”
Thomet recently started a direct market company — Thomet & Co. Salmon — that ships Bristol Bay fish across the to restaurants across the country.
“I grew up fishing. My family grew up fishing. When you grow up doing something, it is easy to continue it on,” he said. “I have this mindset of getting salmon into the world of sports and athletics.”
A pair of Kodiak athletes produced runner-up finishes at the BYI — an all-star meet for high school athletes.
Orion Harper took second in the shot with a mark of 48 feet, 4 inches. Bartlett’s Shaistin Naufahu Gaspar won the event with a toss of 49-0.5.
A week ago, the two flipped places when Harper won the Division I state title with a personal best of 50-08.
Elan Hilty took silver in the high jump by clearing 4-10.
East Anchorage’s Khadijah Morgan won with a mark of 5-5, which skyrocketed her into a tie for fourth in state history.
The Cook Inlet Conference girls’ 3,200 relay squad set a meet record with a time of 9:34.49.
The team included West Anchorage’s Payton Smith, Service’s Zoe Chang, and South’s Lucy Young and Indio Hobson.
The old record was a 9:41.80, set by the Southcentral team in 2013.
South Anchorage’s Brady Burrough and West Valley’s Hadley Blasey were voted athletes of the meet.
Burrough won the mile (4:28.58), the 800 (1:56.96) and was runner-up in the 3,200 (9:51.48).
Blasey grabbed first in the discus (112-01), second in the high jump (4-10) and shot put (35-03.5) and fourth in the triple jump (31-09).
Naufhu Gaspar earned the Kip Thomet Good Sport Award. He won both the throwing events.
The Cook Inlet Conference all-stars swept team honors. The boys won with 171 points, ahead of Southcentral (123) and North/Southeast (109).
The girls took first with 154 points, ahead of Southcentral (131.5) and North/Southeast (118.5).
Dunbar creathed the Brian Young Invitational in 2013 to honor Brian Young, a prominent Kodiak fisherman and advocate for youth sports who died in 2011 while summitting Denali.
This was the seventh installment of the meet and the first in Kodiak since 2018.
100 — Ali Joseph, West Anchorage, 11.61
200 — Brian Morris, Chugiak, 23.76
400 — Nathanael Johnson, Soldotna, 52.16
800 — Brady Burrough, South Anchorage, 1:56.96
1,600 — Brady Burrough, South Anchorage, 4:28.58
3,200 — Tristian Merchant, ACS, 8:53.49
110 hurdles — Riley Knott, Lathrop, 15.40
300 hurdles — Adrian Velasco, Dimond, 41.28
400 relay — North/Southeast (Ali Beya, Kuyler Ballek, Camren Hyson, Peyton George), 44.46
800 relay — North/Southeast (Ali Beya, Kuyler Ballek, Camren Hyson, Peyton George), 1:31.91
1,600 relay — Cook Inlet Conference (Adrian Velasco, Owen Lewis, Mark Sheperd, Jacob Lestina), 3:31.50
3,200 relay — Southcentral (Cole Frizel, Ryan Owen, Nathanael Johnson, David Sliwinski), 8:57.34
Shot put — Shaistin Naufahu Gaspar, Bartlett, 49 feet, 0.5 inches
Discus — Shaistin Naufahu Gaspar, Bartlett, 135-2
High jump — Riley Knott, Lathrop, 6-4
Long jump — Willie Zamora Jr., West Anchorage, 20-9.75
Triple jump — Owen Lews, Palmer, 38-08
200 — 13. Akio Viray, 26.02. 1,600 — 8. Jackson Roberts, 4:49.28; 10. Jerron Bruce, 4:54.37; 13. Bengt Anderson, 4:55.09. 3,200 — 8. Bengt Anderson, 11:00.28; 10. Maxwell Robinson, 11:09.40. 110 hurdles — 8. Elmar Barroga, 19.36. 300 hurdles — 5. Elmar Barroga, 47.36. Shot put — 2. Orion Harper, 48-4; 6. Mycus Fernandez, 40-8.5; 7. Aron Bautista, 40-0. Discus — 9. Orion Harper, 93-4; 10. Aron Bautista, 90-0; 11. Mycus Fernandez, 82-9. Long jump — 5. Akio Viray, 18-5.5.
100 — Olivia Manley, West Valley, 12.95
200 — Carissa Houck, ACS, 27.13
400 — Brennyn Edward, Grace, 59.66
800 — Lia Castillo, North Pole, 2:19.26
1,600 — Sophie Wright, Palmer, 5:14.11
3,200 — Payton Smith, West Anchorage, 11:24.19
100 hurdles — Iayanah Brewer, Thunder Mountain, 16.19
300 hurdles — Ada Odden, Ketchikan, 47.71
400 relay — Cook Inlet Conference (Makiya Singleton, Norah Brown, Tia Turvey, Olyvia Mamae), 51.38
800 relay — North/Southeast (Lindsey Bartoloba, Thea Millam, Olivia Manley, Essence Slate), 1:49.01
1,600 relay — Southcentral (Drystra Crosby-Schneider, Brennyn Edwards, Jordan Strausbaugh, Katey Houser), 4:13.01
3,200 relay — Cook Inlet Conference (Payton Smith, Zoe Chang, Lucy Young, Indigo Hobson), 9:34.49
Shot put — Autumn Fisher, Soldotna, 36-11
Discus — Hadley Blasey, West Valley, 112-1
High jump — Khadijah Morgan, East Anchorage, 5-5
Long jump — Tia Turvey, South Anchorage, 16-6.25
Triple jump — Drysta Crobsy-Schneider, Soldotna, 34-11
100 hurdles — 8. Marielle Mangrobang, 18.64; 11. Jiselle Blanco, 19.18. High jump — 2. Elan Hilty, 4-10. Long jump — 6. Elizabeth Parnell, 15-1.5. Triple jump — 6. Marielle Mangrobang, 27-9.5.