Cold Can't Stop Liberty High's Keeney at State Qualifier


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – A cold cost Ashlyn Keeney a day of practice during the week and kept the Liberty High freshman phenom from being 100 percent for Friday’s state qualifying meet.

Even at less than her best Keeney still put on a show in her first postseason performance.  

Keeney won three individual titles and anchored the Liberty High distance medley relay team to a come from behind win at the Class 4A state qualifier at Raffensperger Track at City High.

“Today I was kind of trying to conserve my energy and just move on,” Keeney said. “I have a cold right now so I just hoped to win and not worry about time too much.”

The big day from Keeney included titles in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000 and helped Liberty High to a runner-up finish in its first appearance in the Class 4A postseason.  

Liberty High had six events automatically qualify for next week’s 4A state meet and finished with 123 points, just six back of team champion City High.

“Everyone works so hard and the coaches do such a great job,” Keeney said. “It’s really all just coming together and everyone’s hard work is really paying off and you can see it. I’m really happy with how our team is doing.”

Liberty High got a title in discus from sophomore Miranda Jones and runner-up finishes from junior Taylor Cannon in the 100 hurdles and sophomore Cami Mac in the 1,500 while edging West High for the runner-up spot by three points.

After qualifying five events for the Class 3A state meet in its inaugural season last spring the Lightning exceeded that number in automatic qualifiers alone on Friday night in its first 4A qualifier.

“Ashlyn has helped a lot but our team has just grown so much,” Mac said. “We have so many more runners filling those gaps that were big before and now they are small. We push each other in practice every day as a team.”

The state leader in both the 1,500 and 3,000 Keeney didn’t come close to her top times on Friday the day after a cold forced her to skip practice as a precaution.  

Despite being less than 100 percent Keeney did more than enough to secure spots at state in all three of her individual events.

She won the 3,000 in 10:25.61, more than five seconds in front of Cedar Rapids Kennedy junior Ella Popenhagen and then held off Allison Bookin-Nosbisch of Ottumwa to win the 800 in 2:15.39.

Keeney and Mac took the top two spots in the 1,500 with Keeney winning in 4:50.57 and Mac finishing just more than two seconds back at 4:52.89.

“That was kind of our strategy, she was trying to conserve a little bit so we wanted to run together and I knew she’d pull away at the end,” Mac said. “It really helped me, it felt like there was a rope tied to me which helped pull me along.”

The top performance from Keeney on Friday may have come when she teamed with Chaise Lange, Tayshauna McGee and Carlie Schroeder to win the distance medley.

She took Liberty High from fourth to first in the opening lap of her 800-meter leg as the Lightning won in a time of 4:13.11.

“I like relays, anchoring them make me a little nervous but that is something I was looking forward to,” Keeney said. “I saw her way out a head and I knew I was going to have to work hard on that one. It feels great, I just really love doing it with my teammates and helping us place well and get a good time.”  

Jones won the discus with a toss of 119-10 while Cannon was runner-up in the 100 hurdles in 14.59.

The Liberty High boys had their own strong district performance led by junior Drake Woody.

Woody won the 400 hurdles in a time of 54.97 and anchored the Lightning 4x400 relay team to a title in 3:27.7.

Liberty High had four events automatically qualify for next week’s 4A state meet as Woody added a runner-up finish in the 400 in 50.92 and the distance medley relay team of Evan Chandler, Tayshaun McGee, Ben Houselog and Bo Gryp won in a time of 3:39.12.

The Lightning finished seventh in the team standings with 70 points.

Class 4A, District 5 Meet

At City High

Team scores – 1. City High 129; 2. Liberty High 123; 3. West High 120; 4. Cedar Rapids Prairie 117; 5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 93; 6. Ottumwa 88; 7. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 34; 8. Cedar Rapids Washington 33

Individual results (Automatic Qualifiers; Area placewinners)

100 – 1. Madie Andorf (CRP) 12.67; 2. Hannah Stuelke (CRW) 12.77; 5. Katie Severt (ICW) 13.25; 6. Azzura Sartini-Rideout (ICH) 13.29

200 – 1. Peyton Steva (ICW) 25.66; 2. Cheyenne Mitchell (CRK) 25.92; 4. Azzura Sartini-Rideout (ICH) 27.43; 4. Pamela Wawaka (ICH) 27.9; 8. Favour Alarape (ICW) 28.85

400 – 1. Allison Bookin-Nosbisch (OTT) 57.5; 2. Gabby Cortez (CRP) 58.31; 5. Devon Dunson (ICL) 1:01.3; 6. Peyton Naeve (ICH) 1:04.04; 8. Isabel Jones (ICH) 1:05.7

800 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 2:15.39; 2. Allison Bookin-Nosbish (OTT) 2:15.85; 4. Kiara Malloy-Salgado (ICW) 2:22.9; 6. McKenzie Logan (ICL) 2:26.76; 8. Erica Buttner (ICW) 2:27.86

1,500 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 4:50.57; 2. Camille Mac (ICL) 4:52.89; 4. Erica Buettner (ICW) 5:05.54; 6. Rowan Boulter (ICH) 5:07.48; 7. Janie Perril (ICH) 5:09.46

3,000 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL) 10:25.61; 2. Ella Popenhagen (CRK) 10:30.72; 3. Cami Mac (ICL) 10:41.96; 4. Rowan Boulter (ICH) 10:42.56; 8. Camden Zirker (ICW) 11:29.64

100 hurdles – 1. Peyton Steva (ICW) 14.54; 2. Taylor Cannon (ICL) 14.59; 4. Carolina Schaeckenbach (ICH) 15.06; 5. Ella Woods (ICW) 16.04; 6. Jordan Sekafetz (ICH) 16.07; 7. Jada Murphy (ICL) 16.64

400 hurdles – 1. Caroline Schaeckenbach (ICH) 1:04.12; 2. Kajsa Gerkens (CRK) 1:06.66; 3. Amy Liao (ICW) 1:09.11; 4. Kiara Malloy-Salgado (ICW) 1:09.75; 5. Lillian Reynolds (ICH) 1:09.75; 6. Isabelle Woody (ICL) 1:10.16

Shot put – 1. Salima Omari (ICW) 42-1; 2. Arionnah Sonii (ICW) 40-2 ¼; 7. Anna Spellman (ICH) 32-4 ¼; 8. Neshy Byrd (ICL) 30-11 ¼

Discus – 1. Miranda Jones (ICL) 119-10; 2. Hannah Stuelke (CRW) 110-9; 5. Darya Acas (ICL) 102-6; 6. Salima Omari (OCW) 101-10

High jump – 1. Anne Guest (OTT) 5-2; 2. Taylor Peterson (CRP) 5-1; 3. Alia Vanderhoef (ICH) 4-10; 5. Elizabeth Jaeger (ICL) 4-8;

Long jump – 1. Katie Severt (ICW) 17-2 ¼; 2. Te’Nia Ansley (ICH) 16-11 ½; 3. Ella Cook (ICH) 16-6 ½; 7. Tremeice Carter (ICW) 14-10 ¾;

4x100 – 1. City High (Te’Nia Ansley, Emma Clark, Ayana Lindsey, Emma Cooper) 50.33; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 50.83; 3. Liberty High (Jada Murphy, Tayshauna McGee, Elizabeth Davis, Taylor Cannon) 51.34

4x200 – 1. City High (Te’Nia Ansley, Emma Cooper, Azzura Sartini-Rideout, Mia DePrenger) 1:47.04; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 1:47.18; 4. West High (Amy Liao, Katie Severt, Mia Dillingham, Matayia Tellis) 1:48.04; 6. Liberty High (Christella Luyeye, Elizabeth Davis, Gabbie Schroeder, Dazzia Caston-Gonzalez) 1:53.75

4x400 – 1. City High (CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Mia DePrenger, Ayana Lindsey, Caroline Schaeckenbach) 4:02.38; 2. Ottumwa 4:03.14; 4. Liberty High (Devon Dunson, Chaise Lange, Christella Luyeye, Carlie Schroeder) 4:13.98; 6. West High (Tionna Slater, Laisa Whittaker, Clare Loussaert, Emma Kearney) 4:26.25

4x800 – 1. Ottumwa 9:36.65; 2. West High (Erica Buettner, Kate Hoefer, Emma Kearney, Kiara Malloy-Salgado) 9:47.61; 4. City High (Lillian Reynolds, Tatum Frazier, Janie Perril, Lucy Corbin) 9:55.35; 5. Liberty High (Anna Reese, Isabelle Woody, McKenzie Logan, Cami Mac) 10:08.08

Shuttle hurdle relay – 1. West High (Ella Woods, Amy Liao, Matayia Tellis, Peyton Steva) 1:03.93; 2. City High (Jordan Sekafetz, Te’Nia Ansley, Mia DePrenger, Caroline Schaeckenbach) 1:04.87; 3. Liberty High (Elizabeth Davis, Gabbie Schroeder, Jada Murphy, Taylor Cannon) 1:06.66

Sprint medley relay – 1. Cedar Rapids Prairie 1:50.37; 2. City High (Emma Clark, Emma Cooper, Ayana Lindsey, CeCe Kelly-Harvey) 1:51.22; 3. Liberty High (Chaise Lange, Tayshauna McGee, Taylor Cannon, Devon Dunson) 1:52.11; 6. West High (Matayia Tellis, Mia Dillingham, Celestine Nuro-Gyina, Kaisa Whittaker) 1:59.97

Distance medley relay – 1. Liberty High (Chaise Lange, Tayshauna McGee, Carlie Schroeder, Ashlyn Keeney) 4:13.11; 2. City High (Emma Cooper, Emma Clark, Ayana Lindsey, CeCe Kelly-Harvey) 4:14.87; 6. West High (Mia Dillingham, Doroteya Kiza, Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Emma Kearney) 4:39.61

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