Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – As the depth within the Liberty High girls track program has grown the distance Ashlyn Keeney covers on race day has shrunk.
And that is just fine with Liberty High distance standout.
“Our distance program has gotten a lot better so giving everyone chances to run those events puts me in some shorter ones,” Keeney explained on Thursday. “I like it, I’ll always do whatever the team needs.”
Among the top distance runners in the state, Keeney finished runner-up in the 400 on Thursday and added a title in the 1,500 while helping Liberty High to a runner-up finish at the Forwald/Coleman Relays at Raffensperger Track at City High.
Keeney helped the Liberty High 4×800 to a title and ran the 400-meter leg on the Liberty High sprint medley relay team that placed fourth as Liberty High racked up 117 team points to finish behind defending 4A state champion Waukee that won the team title with 191 points.
“Running those shorter events is hard but I like it,” Keeney said. “The 400 I love it. It’s over so quick, it hurts a lot but it’s over before I even know it.”
Two seasons ago Keeney established herself as one of the premier distance runners in the state winning titles in both the 3,000 and 1,500 as a freshman.
In the two years since Keeney burst onto the scene Liberty High has added depth all over its lineup, including in the distance events.
Senior Cami Mac was runner-up in the 3,000 on Thursday and seventh in the 1,500.
That increased depth has allowed the talented Keeney to widen her event list while working on her speed as she recovers from a series of injuries.
“Coming back from everything I’ve had I really need to work on my speed so it’s good practice for that,” Keeney said. “I’d like to run the steeple chase in college so I’ve tried the 400 hurdles and that was fun.”
The results have been exciting.
Keeney was runner-up to Addison Swartzendruber of Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a time of 1:00.81 and joined Cori Mac, Malia Taylor and Cami Mac in winning the 4×800 in 9:48.64.
However, Keeney was at her best on Thursday in one of her original events, winning the 1,500 in a season-best time of 4:41.74.
Keeney held of Linn-Mar standout senior Micah Poellet over the final 200 meters to secure the win. Poellet was runner-up in 4:44.69.
“That’s my best time all season,” Keeney said. “I can really tell my kick is coming back and that’s all from working on those shorter races.”
The increased depth hasn’t just allowed Keeney to move around the lineup, it has turned Liberty High into a consistent contender.
Liberty High got a runner-up finish from sophomore Hannah Ramsey in the 200 and third-place finishes from Tashayna Church-Roberts in the discus and Isabelle Woody in the 400 hurdles.
“It’s great having people there with you,” Keeney said. “We are all getting to run together and we all encourage each other. Having more people being able to share what you feel it makes it so much better. When everybody is doing really well it just pumps it all up.”
City High didn’t win an event on Thursday but had three runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes while placing fourth as a team with 87 points.
Lilly Reynolds was runner-up in the 400 hurdles, Alia Vanderhoef was runner-up in the high jump and the City High foursome of CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Sierra Pruessner, Eva Reynolds and Lilly Reynolds was runner-up to Waukee in the 4×400 relay in 4:09.79.
“I think tonight our kids really stepped up,” City High coach Jeremy Mims said. “We have a really cohesive team, our kids really get a long and they love the sport and we are trying to build it back up because there is a lot of expectations for City High girls track and I think we are headed in the right direction.”
Jordan Sekafetz was third in the 100 hurdles, seventh in the long jump and was part of the City High shuttle hurdle relay team that placed third.
The senior was also on the City High sprint medley team that placed sixth.
“Jordan is one of the lynch pins of our team,” Mims said. “She has always been a leader and the girls really look to her and we can count on her. She is going to step up in big situations.”
West High senior Phoebe Burt won the shot put with mark of 39-10 and teammate Arionnah Sonii was third with a toss of 37-2.
Burt added a fifth-place finish in the discus to help West High place seventh as a team with 52 points.
At Raffensperger Track at City High
Team scores – 1. Waukee 191; 2. Liberty High 117; 3. Pleasant Valley 103.66; 4. City High 87; 5. West Des Moines Valley 84; 6. Linn-Mar 58.33; 7. West High 52; 8. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 47
Individual results (Event winners; area placers)
Long jump – 1. Harmony Creasy (PV) 17-3 ¾; 4. Isabelle Woody (ICL) 15-11 ¼; 5. Tremeice Carter (ICW) 15-4 ¾; 6. Kaitlin Lamkins (ICW) 15-3; 7. Jordan Sekafetz (ICH) 15-1
High jump – 1. Layanna Green (WAU) 5-6 ½; 2. Alia Vanderhoef (ICH) 4-11; 5. Beth Jaeger (ICL) 4-11; 6. Raina Fpiefer (ICW) 4-9;
Shot put – 1. Phoebe Burt (ICW) 39-10; 3. Arionnah Sonii (ICW) 37-2; 6. Darya Acas (ICL) 34-1 ½;
Discus – 1. Avelyn Burger (WAU) 115-6; 3. Tashayna Church-Roberts (ICL) 105-8; 4. Darya Acas (ICL) 105-1; 5. Phoebe Burt (ICW) 104-4; 8. Sophia Deyak (ICW) 86-11
100 – 1. Natalie Harris (WAU) 12.61; 4. Brityn Gryp (ICL) 13.44; 5. Prisca Kalala (ICH) 13.53; 6. Laura Pitkin (ICL) 13.54
200 – 1. Kaliyah Perry (WAU) 27.25; 2. Hannah Ramsey (ICL) 27.86; 4. Brie Klein (ICL) 28.52; 6. Prisca Kalala (ICH) 28.79;
400 – 1. Addison Swartzendruber (CRK) 1:00.58; 2. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 1:00.81; 5. CeCe Kelly-Harvey (ICH) 1:03.22; 6. Aofie Boulter (ICH) 1:05.62; 7. Malia Taylor (ICL) 1:05.9
800 – 1. Lauren Schulze (WDV) 2:18.11; 7. Tatum Frazier (ICH) 2:30.49; 8. Hailey Noel (ICL) 2:31.06
1,500 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 4:41.74; 7. Cami Mac (ICL) 5:02.87
3,000 – 1. Kamryn Ensley (WDV) 10:39.75; 2. Cami Mac (ICL) 10:41.56; 6. Rowan Boulter (ICH) 11:17.72; 7. Maddy Negley (ICW) 11:21.38; 8. McKenzie Logan (ICL) 11:22.57
100 hurdles – 1. Mackenzie Carney (WAU) 14.7; 3. Jordan Sekafetz (ICH) 16.3; 5. Sierra Pruessner (ICH) 16.77; 6. Brie Klein (ICL) 16.96;
400 hurdles – 1. Emily Wood (PV) 1:06.49; 2. Lilly Reynolds (ICH) 1:08.28; 3. Isabelle Woody (ICL) 1:09.56; 5. Erinn Varga (ICW) 1:10.35; 7. Martha Hamilton (ICH) 1:12.03
Shuttle hurdle relay – 1. Waukee 1:03.55; 2. City High (Sierra Pruessner, Maya Morales, Lilly Reynolds, Jordan Sekafetz) 1:09.49; 6. Liberty High (Chaise Lange, Brie Klein, Beth Jaeger, Brynlee Slockett) 1:13.31
Sprint medley relay – 1. Pleasant Valley 1:51.28; 5. Liberty High (Brityn Gryp, Amira Coleman, Brynlee Slockett, Ashlyn Keeney) 1:53.28; 6. City High (Jasmine Phonphiboun, Jordan Sekafetz, Mia DePrenger, CeCe Kelly-Harvey) 1:55.27; 8. West High (Kaitlin Lamkins, Tremeice Carter, Jocelyn Jacobsen, Brianna Newton) 2:08.17
Distance medley relay – 1. West Des Moines Valley 4:20.42; 2. City High (Jasmine Phonphioboun, Mia DePrenger, Iris Wedemeyer, Lilly Reynolds) 4:22.37; 4. Liberty High (Christella Luyeye, Hannah Ramsey, Hailey Noel, Cori Mac) 4:32.45; 5. West High (Avery Vest, Jocelyn Jacobsen, Erinn Varga, Annie Schwartz) 4:33.41
4×100 relay – 1. Pleasant Valley 50.14; 5. Liberty High (Haley Schroeder, Amira Coleman, Chaise Lange, Brityn Gryp) 52.7; 7. City High (Natalie Green, Mackenzie Dvorsky, Emily Arling, Grace Kirschling) 55.46; 8. West High (Kaitlin Lamkins, Inikka Dalton, Angelina Forte, Tremeice Carter) 56.9
4×200 relay – 1. Waukee 1:45.31; 4. City High (Iris Wedemeyer, Eva Reynolds, Prisca Kalala, Mia DePrenger) 1:52.01; 5. Liberty High (Chaise Lange, Christella Luyeye, Amira Coleman, Brynlee Slockett) 1:53.57; 8. West High (Inikka Dalton, Brianna Newton, Angelina Forte, Kaitlin Lamkins) 2:01.45
4×400 relay – 1. Waukee 4:09.48; 2. City High (CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Sierra Pruessner, Eva Reynolds, Lilly Reynolds) 4:09.79; 5. West High (Erinn Varga, Avery Vest, Sara Alaya, Annie Schwartz) 4:19.4; 7. Liberty High (Hannah Ramsey, Isabelle Woody, Christella Luyeye, Hailey Noel) 4:21.66
4×800 relay – 1. Liberty High (Cori Mac, Malia Taylor, Ashlyn Keeney, Cami Mac) 9:48.64; 4. City High (Tatum Frazier, Lucy Corbin, Ava Bell, Eva Reynolds) 10:19.6; 5. West High (Erica Buettner, Cindy Wang, Gabby Moniza, Sara Alaya) 10:23.85