Your Prep Sports
Ashlyn Keeney made history in her Drake Relays debut winning the 3,000 in the fastest time in state history for a freshman.
Two seasons later the encore performance for Keeney was even sweeter.
Keeney added a 1,500 title to her already stellar resume on Thursday using a late surge over the final 400 meters to grab the second Drake Relays title of her career.
“I think it was almost even sweeter this year getting the flag,” Keeney said. “My freshman year I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t really this year either but after not getting to compete last year and then being able to again this year it was really great.”
Two seasons ago Keeney was runner-up in the 800 but didn’t run the 1,500 at the Drake Relays.
Keeney made her first Drake Relays 1,500 memorable racing past five runners in the final 400 meters while winning in a season-best time of 4:39.24.
“I was really happy with my time and happy with how the race went,” Keeney said. “Mostly I was happy I was able to dig deep at the end.”
Keeney ran second to Ballard sophomore Shewaye Johnson for the opening 800 meters, content to lay back a bit.
It was a similar strategy that Keeney used while winning the 3,000 in 2019.
“Shewaye went out pretty fast and I just didn’t feel like it was the right move to go with here right away,” Keeney said. “I thought ‘maybe I will see her later, maybe I won’t’ but I was just going to stay with these girls who are right behind me.”
Suddenly on the third lap the girls that were right behind Keeney were in front of her.
As many as four runners got the edge on Keeney during the third lap but the Liberty High junior didn’t panic.
Instead, Keeney fought out of the inside and toward the front of the pack chasing Johnson.
“I kind of got boxed in,” Keeney said. “I didn’t mean to let that many people around but it just kind of happened.”
Then she went for it.
As the final lap started Keeney made her move toward the front of the chase pack.
Over the final 200 meters she overtook Johnson, who earlier won the 3,000, and cruised to the win by more than five seconds.
Johnson was second in 4:44.97 heading a group of four runners that were separated by just more than a second.
“With a little over a lap left I was just thinking ‘I’m going to try to pick off at least a couple of people on this next lap’,” Keeney said. “As the group was coming up on her she looked pretty far ahead but close enough I could maybe go for it.”
A couple of years older with three Drake Relays races under her belt Keeney was much more comfortable in her return to Drake Stadium.
That made for a more enjoyable experience and an even sweeter victory.
“A couple of years ago I was probably more nervous going into it and I wasn’t able to control that nervousness as well,” Keeney said. “It was a lot more enjoyable before the race this year, talking with all the other girls was really nice.”
Keeney also anchored the Liberty High 4×800 relay team to a seventh-place finish, teaming with sisters Cami and Cori Mac and Hailey Noel to finish in 9:39.76.
“It was great to have so many people from Liberty running and competing,” Keeney said. “With all the boys running, my brother was in some races so that was great, and the team is getting a lot better and it’s exciting.”
Solon had a strong day led by juniors Emma Bock and Kaia Holtkamp who each posted top-eight finishes in the 800.
Bock was third in the 800 in 2:15.99 while Holtkamp was seventh in 2:19.67.
Ava Conrad was seventh for the Spartans in the discus with a toss of 121-11 and the Spartans’ shuttle hurdle relay team of Jada Buffington, Mia Stahle, Calla Foster and Sophia Stahle was 10th in 1:09.57.
Clear Creek Amana posted a fourth-place finish in the shuttle hurdle relay with Emma Mathis, Cileigh Smiddy, Kayla Jiras and Silvana Kabolo clocking a 1:07.61.
The City High 4×400 team of CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Mia DePrenger, Iris Wedemeyer and Lilly Reynolds was fourth in 4:03.8.
At Drake Stadium in Des Moines
(Event winner; area competitors)
High jump – 1. Miracle Ailes (Keokuk) 5-7 ¾
Long jump – 1. Shay Sinnard (Carroll) 18-0 ¼; 19. Makinley Levin (Solon) 15-7
Discus – 1. Sophia Dykstra (Oskaloosa) 140-1; 7. Ava Conrad (Solon) 121-11; 9. Phoebe Burt (West High) 121-0
Shot put – 1. Jadan Brumbaugh (Mount Pleasant) 43-3; 8. Phoebe Burt (West High) 37-9 ½
100 – 1. Holly Duax (Sioux City West) 12.34
400 – 1. Ainsley Erzen (Carlisle) 56.28
800 – 1. Ainsley Erzen (Carlisle) 2:13.73; 3. Emma Bock (Solon) 2:15.99; 7. Kaia Holtkamp (Solon) 2:19.67;
1,500 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (Liberty High) 4:39.24;
3,000 – 1. Shewaye Johnson (Ballard) 9:46.88; 19. Cami Mac (Liberty High) 10:48.51
100 hurdles – 1. Mackenzie Carney (Waukee) 14.69; 17. Jordan Sekafetz (City High) 16.26; 19. Silvana Kabolo (Clear Creek Amana) 16.34; 22. Annie Gahan (Regina) 16.43
400 hurdles – 1. Mackenzie Carney (Waukee) 1:04.39
Sprint medley relay – 1. Ames 1:48.92; 12. Solon (Sophia Stahle, Callie Levin, Makinley Levin, Emma Bock) 1:51.63; 24. Liberty High (Haley Schroeder, Amira Coleman, Brynlee Slockett, Isabelle Woody) 1:58.72
Shuttle hurdle relay – 1. Waukee 1:01.21; 4. Clear Creek Amana (Emma Mathis, Cileigh Smiddy, Kayla Jiras, Silvana Kabolo) 1:07.61; 8. City High (Sierra Pruessner, Maya Morales, Lilly Reynolds, Jordan Sekafetz) 1:08.49; 10. Solon (Jada Buffington, Mia Stahle, Calla Foster, Sophia Stahle) 1:09.57; 14. Regina (Peyton Naeve, Abby Clark, Alli Clark, Annie Gahan) 1:10.79
4×100 relay – 1. Waukee 48.59; 32. Solon (Mia Stahle, Callie Levin, Sophia Stahle, Mia Duckett) 51.83; 38. Clear Creek Amana (Silvana Kabolo, Bailey Olerich, Cileigh Smiddy, Emma Mathis) 52.19; 41. Liberty High (Haley Schroeder, Amira Coleman, Chaise Lange, Brynlee Slockett) 52.41;
4×200 relay – 1. Ames 1:42.36; 17. Solon (Mia Stahle, Callie Levin, Makinley Levin, Sophia Stahle) 1:47.87
4×400 relay – 1. Ames 3:59.46; 4. City High (CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Mia DePrenger, Iris Wedemeyer, Lilly Reynolds) 4:03.8; 15. Solon (Kaia Holtkamp, Makinley Levin, Emma Bock, Ashley Stinocher) 4:08.76
4×800 relay – 1. Southeast Polk 9:19.9; 7. Liberty High (Cori Mac, Hailey Noel, Cami Mac, Ashlyn Keeney) 9:39.76