Keeney Races to Title in First Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet

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Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

CEDAR RAPIDS – A year ago Liberty High didn’t even have a conference cross country meet to attend.

Now the Lightning have a conference champion.

Liberty High freshman Ashlyn Keeney won the individual title at the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet on Thursday at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids as the Lightning made their debut appearance at the annual conference meet.

The top-ranked runner in Class 4A, Keeney pulled away from a loaded field to win the title in a time of 17:36.8.

“It’s a great meet and it was an amazing experience to be run here,” Keeney said. “I was hoping to be up there but I didn’t know this would happen.”

Liberty High competed as an independent last season in its first year as a varsity program, meaning there was no conference meet for the Lightning.

Instead, Liberty High hit an invitational at Central DeWitt the day of the Super Meet.

That meet just wasn’t the same as Thursday.

“We took the eighth-grade group with us to Central DeWitt, they had a race on this day last year and that worked out o.k.,” Liberty High coach Tonya McDonough said. “But man this is really special to be here today.”

A year in the making Liberty High did just fine in its Super Meet debut on Thursday.

The Lightning put three runners in the top 15 while placing sixth with 157 points.

Dubuque Senior won the team title with 90 points while Cedar Rapids Prairie was second with 119 and Dubuque Wahlert was third with 138.

Deniz Ince placed seventh to lead West High to a fourth-place team finish with 144 points.

“We were just so happy to be here,” McDonough said. “This is our debut in the MVC and we are so happy that we have a conference meet and we belong to a conference so it was a day in history for us.”

Keeney turned what was billed as showdown between the top three ranked runners in the state into a walk, or rather run in the park.

The freshman raced to an early lead and finished more than 37 seconds in front of second-ranked Linn-Mar sophomore Micah Poellet who finished runner-up in 18:14.24.  

Third-ranked Claire Edmondson of Dubuque Senior was third in 18:45.27.

“I just try to keep up my tempo and try to push myself as hard as I can throughout,” Keeney said “It’s a good experience. I was a little worried coming in but I’m glad it went well.”

Ince placed seventh in 19:21.36 to pace West High while teammate Kiara Malloy-Salgado was 21st in 20:05.36.

City High freshman Rowan Boulter placed eighth in her Super Meet debut in a time of 19:24.14 to help City High to an eighth-place team finish with 162 points.

The time of 19:24.14 was a personal best for Boulter who joined junior Esti Brady who was 17th in 20:01.06 in the top 20.

“At one point I looked ahead and there were so many people so far ahead and I wondered when they were going to slow down and when we finished they were still that far up there,” Boulter said. “I felt good and I felt good with my time and my place was around where I was thinking but so many people went so fast.”

In the boys race Dubuque Hempstead put three runners in the top seven on its way to the team title with 43 points.

Defending champion Cedar Rapids Prairie was second with 77 and host Cedar Rapids Washington was third with 97.

West High placed seven with 202 points, City High was ninth with 233 and Liberty High was 11th with 316.

Second-ranked West High senior Kolby Greiner led for much of the race but failed to finish after experiencing some discomfort.

That opened the door for Cedar Rapids Prairie junior Jack Pendergast to claim the individual title in 15:57.74.

“He’s had some hamstring tightness and he said he tried to go for a surge and it seems like he more decided that before it turns into an injury to just shut it down,” West High coach Josh Kidman said of Greiner.

Will Conrad placed 26th in a time of 17:13.42 to lead West High while Yasar Hassan was 34th in 17:17.67 to pace City High.

Peter Woodward placed 48th in 17:27.42 for Liberty High.

MVC Super Meet

Girls Results

Team scores – 1. Dubuque Senior 90; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 119; 3. Dubuque Wahlert 138; 4. West High 144; 5. Cedar Falls 152; 6. Liberty High 157; 7. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 159; 8. City High 162; 9. Dubuque Hempstead 173; 10. Linn-Mar 175; 11. Cedar Rapids Washington 220; 12. Western Dubuque 335; 13. Cedar Rapids Xavier 408; 14. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 443; 15. Waterloo 453

Individual leaders – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 17:36.8; 2. Micah Poellet (LM) 18:14.24; 3. Claire Edmondson (DS) 18:45.27; 4. Lillian Schmidt (DS) 18:54.13; 5. Gabby Moran (DW) 19:00.99; 6. Reagan Gorman (CRW) 19:15.75; 7. Deniz Ince (ICW) 19:21.36; 8. Rowan Boulter (ICH) 19:24.14; 9. Laurdyn Meyer (CRP) 19:26.64; 10. Gabby Cortez (CRP) 19:39.09.

West High – 7. Deniz Ince 19:21.36; 21. Kiara Malloy-Salgado 20:05.36; 26. Maddy Negley 20:10.7; 43. Camden Zirker 20:45.69; 47. Anna Moore 20:48.21; 53. Katie Hoefer 20:58.59; 61. Lucy Westemeyer 21:10.8

Liberty High – 1. Ashlyn Keeney 17:36.8; 13. McKenzie Logan 19:50.93; 14. Camille Mac 19:52.03; 56. Elizabeth Jaeger 21:02.93; 73. Isabelle Woody 21:50.1; 81. Chaise Lange 22:41.27; 97. Carly Sulwer 24:07.74

City High – 8. Rowan Boulter 19:24.14; 17. Esti Brady 20:01.06; 35. Lilly Reynolds 20:36.62; 48. Jae Dancer 20:50.09; 54. Janie Perrill 20:59.44; 57. Anna Lindower 21:03.82; 58. Mary Bounds 21:04.33

Boys ­­­Results

Team scores – 1. Dubuque Hempstead 43; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 77; 3. Cedar Rapids Washington 97; 4. Cedar Falls 113; 5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 157; 6. Dubuque Senior 196; 7. West High 202; 8. Linn-Mar 215; 9. City High 233; 10. Dubuque Wahlert 249; 11. Liberty High 316; 12. Western Dubuque 325; 13. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 349; 14. Cedar Rapids Xavier 384; 15. Waterloo 478

Individual leaders – 1. Jack Pendergast (CRP) 15:57.74; 2. Jacob Green (CRK) 16:03.95; 3. Dylan Dolezal (LM) 16:17.29; 4. Brandon Conrad (CF) 16:21.6; 5. Ben Hermiston (DH) 16:22.14; 6. Ryan Winger (DH) 16:28.73; 7. David Holesinger (DH) 16:30.28; 8. Max Locher (CRW) 16:34.6; 9. Isaiah Schaetzel (DS) 16:40.84; 10. Paul Schneidermann (CRW) 16:49.96

West High – 26. Will Conrad 17:13.42; 36. Nicolo Schianchi 17:19.6; 41. Yousif Salama 17:21.86; 47. Ken Wilbur 17:27.16; 52. Alexander McKane 17:28.82; 54. Raymond Yang 17:30.11; 60. Caden Noeller 17:41.32

Liberty High – 48. Peter Woodward 17:27.42; 58. Ethan Keeney 17:39.25; 66. Jack Kinzer 17:51.02; 67. Jordan Robinson 17:52.07; 77. Caleb Schillinger 18:03.65; 79. Christian Montover 18:07.72; 86. Henry Krain 18:22.94

City High – 34. Yasar Hassan 17:17.67; 38. Andre Miller 17:20.57; 42. Mitchell Wilkes 17:22.55; 51. Charles Maxwell 17:28.39; 68. Sullivan Hall 17:52.43; 72. Elliott Dunnwald 17:57.88; 75. Kyden Hotka 17:59.24

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