Two Kenai Peninsula athletes were inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame on Sunday during an induction ceremony held at The Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage.
Allie Ostrander, a 2015 graduate of Kenai Central High School, was honored for her running and basketball careers. Joshua Gemmell, a 2001 graduate of Soldotna High School, was honored for his swimming career.
Ostrander and Gemmell are among 11 inductees this year, including athletes, officials and coaches from around the state. Each inductee received an award from the Alaska School Activities Association and a Legislative Citation.
In a speech by inductee Stacey Wayne during the ceremony, she described “running phenom” Ostrander’s career.
“As a senior track star, Allie ran the fastest 3,200 in the nation,” she said. “That same year, she beat all the boys in the 2014 Junior Mountain Marathon.”
Ostrander, Wayne said, is one of “an elite group” of Alaska athletes skilled enough to compete professionally.
The program for the event describes Ostrander as earning 10 state titles in her four years as a Kardinal and a four-time Gatorade Player of the Year. It says she earned four school records in track and six titles in the Junior Mount Marathon race. Ostrander earned an additional titles in the Women’s Mount Marathon race.
In addition to Ostrander’s running career, much of Wayne’s speech centered on basketball — Ostrander’s basketball coach Stacia Rustad provided stories about Ostrander’s high school career.
Wayne said that Rustad described Ostrander as a tenacious point guard who “never needed to be subbed out because she didn’t get tired.”
Gemmell, Wayne said, was a skilled swimmer remembered for his four wins at a state meet in 2000. She said he set records that stood “decades” in the 100-yard breaststroke, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 freestyle.
“He pushed himself, in the pool, in the weight room and academically to excel,” she said.
Wayne shared a story about Gemmell from his former swim coach Sohail Marey, who wrote from Israel.
Marey said that in high school, Gemmell told him that he had a new “training technique.” Frustrated with losing to rival Quincy Schmidt, Gemmell had written Schmidt’s name on a whiteboard and glued it to the ceiling above his bed. That, Gemmell said, would be the push he needed to wake up every day and make it to morning swim practice.
“That year, he finally beat Quincy and today I use this story about Joshua to show my students what it looks like to set high goals and commit to them,” Marey wrote.
In addition to Ostrander and Gemmell, 2013 Nikiski graduate Lincoln Johnson was given his honor for being a part of the Class of 2020 — he was unable to attend that year’s induction ceremony. Johnson was again unable to attend, but his parents together took the stage and accepted his award.
For more information about the Alaska High School Hall of Fame and its Class of 2023, visit alaskahalloffame.org.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at email@example.com.