Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Three races into her high school career Liberty High freshman Ashlyn Keeney was already considered one of the top runners in the state.
In her fourth race Keeney left no doubt that she belonged in the discussion of the state’s best.
Keeney cruised to the individual title at the Solon Invitational on Monday finishing 46 seconds in front of defending state champion Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie on a steamy afternoon at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area.
“I was a little worried but it was fun to compete against her,” Keeney said of Hostetler. “I was looking forward to it in that I thought we could push each other.”
It was the fourth title in as many races for Class 4A second-ranked Keeney who battled temperatures in the low 90s while winning in a time of 17:56.
Hostetler, who clocked the fastest time of any runner by more than 13 seconds at the state meet a year ago on her way to the Class 2A title, was second in 18:42.4.
“It was my goal to run under 18 minutes,” Keeney said. “I was really happy to reach that today, especially on a day like this with the weather and great competition.”
The individual title from Keeney highlighted a strong day for Liberty High as the Lightning had three of the top four finishers.
Sophomores Camille Mac and McKenzie Logan placed third and fourth respectively as Liberty High finished third in the team standings with 97 points.
Class 4A Bettendorf won the team title with 90 points as the top six teams were separated by just 12 points.
Class 2A sixth-ranked Williamsburg was second with 93 points, North Scott was fourth with 97 one point in front of host Solon with 98.
Sophomore Kiersten Conway placed sixth and senior Erin Kerkhoff was 15th to pace 3A sixth-ranked Solon.
“For McKenzie and Cami the experience they gained last year is helping out a lot,” Liberty High coach Tonya McDonough said. “For the rest of our kids we just need more experience, more meets, more opportunities to compete. They are doing amazing but it’s completely nerve wracking for them and the more experience they have the more confidence they are going to gain and that’s just going to make us stronger.”
Keeney bolted to the front of the pack early and slowly and methodically pulled away from the field on a hot, humid afternoon.
“I tried to do the same thing I always do and that starts with getting out,” Keeney said. “We wanted to stick with our same plan even though we knew it was going to be hot.”
Keeney had built a sizeable lead over Hostetler in the opening mile and began to put distance between herself and the rest of the field early in the second mile.
“That is Ashlynn she is an incredible tough kid and the sky is limit really for her,” McDonough said. “She is just going to continue to impress everyone and improve I think.”
The plan set out by McDonough on Monday was to push early in the second mile.
Led by Keeney all of Liberty High’s top three runners followed that plan to perfection.
Mac finished third in a time of 19:34.7, joining Keeney and Hostetler as the only runners to break 20 minutes.
Logan was fourth in 20:10.2.
“All of top three they really like to get out and get in front of everybody so we wanted to get out and they did have a really fast first mile and then we tried to put a special focus on the first 800 of the second mile,” McDonough said. “That is the point of race where you can really want to back off so we made a direct attempt to attack that first 800 of the second mile and they did it and they responded really well.”
Team scores – 1. Bettendorf 90; 2. Williamsburg 93; 3. Liberty High 97; 4. North Scott 98; 5. Solon 100; 6. Mid-Prairie 102; 7. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 179; 8. Tipton 196; 9. Central DeWitt 196; 10. Clear Creek Amana 262; 11. Davenport North 309
Individual leaders – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 17:56; 2. Marie Hostetler (MP) 18:42.4; 3. Camille Mac (ICL) 19:34.7; 4. McKenzie Logan (ICL) 20:10.2; 5. Chloe Engelkes (NS) 20:40.8; 6. Kiersten Conway (SOL) 20:45.9; 7. Madison Temple (BET) 20:46.1; 8. Abbi Lafrenze (NS) 20:47.4; 9. Megan Rathjen (WIL) 21:00.7; 10. Aubrey Frey (MV-L) 21:02.4
Liberty High – 1. Ashlyn Keeney 17:56; 3. Camille Mac 19:34.7; 4. McKenzie Logan 20:10.2; 42. Isabelle Woody 22:52.1; 46. Chaise Lange 23:25.7; 66. Lily Nicknish 25:59.1
Solon – 6. Kiersten Conway 20:45.9; 15. Erin Kerkhoff 21:23.4; 19. Nicole Shafer 21:50.8; 24. Meghan O’Neill 21:56; 36. Emma Bock 22:38.5; 38. Ella Duster 22:41.7; 52. Saige Hauer 24:15.7
Clear Creek Amana – 31. Kaylie Barker 22:28.7; 46. Madeline Fox 23:13.7; 55. Allie Kounkel 24:53.1; 60. Emily Coleman 25:22.9; 70. Lauren Lasswell 27:51.7; 74. Olivia Smyka 30:38.8
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