Darien senior Alex Ostberg came to the starting line wearing the big number 1 as the favorite in the Penn Relays Carnival's 3000m on April 25, 2015. Perhaps the main reason he was the top seed was that he was the top returning runner from the 2014 Penn Relays 3000m, an epic race that saw Loudon Valley VA sophomore Drew Hunter beating out St. Michael's College Prep Canada senior Justyn Knight with a fantastic 8:16.31 time. Ostberg had placed 3rd with a CT state record 8:20.14.
Ostberg's senior season had had its ups and downs. During XC season he had won the prestigious Manhattan Invite's Eastern States race, and then had swept through wins at the CIAC Open, New England Championship, and Foot Locker Northeast Regional before finishing 9th at Nationals with a performance that was at his standard speed rating level in a very strong field. Hampered a bit by injuries during the 2015 indoor season in which he finished in close 2nds in both the Open's 1600m and 3200m, Ostberg's Open win in the 2014 XC race would end up being his only state championship to go along with five 2nds and a 3rd. He did also get a National title in his junior year at NBON in the 5K when he ran a 14:16.61 for the current CT state record.
But kicking off his outdoor senior season's display in major competitions at the 2015 Penn Relays was a big relief for Ostberg, who took the lead from the start and then held off a challenge from Saratoga NY star Aidan Tooker to win in a time of 8:23.95, a little off his SR time from 2014. Two weeks later Ostberg would lead the 3200m at the Loucks Invite in NY for most of the way until Northport NY's Mikey Brannigan blasted by late to set an NY state record of 8:42.92 while leading ten runners in under 9:00. Ostberg was a very close 2nd with a still-standing CT state record mark of 8:43.93. The Loucks race ended Ostberg's senior season in major competitions, He went on to run very well for Stanford, three times finishing in the top 25 in the NCAA D1 XC championship with a high-water 13th place in 2018 to help Stanford take 5th.
Two further notes. The following year at Penn Relays, Brien McMahon senior Eric Van Der Els made it two in a row in the 3000m for CT runners, and his winning time shaved .03 off Ostberg's SR at 8:20.11. And if you are wondering why we had to use a fuzzy screen shot from the race video as a cover photo, of the 46,764 photos from twelve posted albums for the 2015 Penn Relays, not one is from the boys 3000m. The race video was the second most watched film, so there was high interest in the 3000m. As a robotic character from the 1960s used to say, "This does not compute."