Drake Relays: Ashlyn Keeney is the fastest 3,000 freshman in Iowa history

Liberty rookie runs 9:39.64, which ranks No. 8 all-time in the nation among freshmen

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DES MOINES — Time will tell where Ashlyn Keeney will rank among the state’s all-time greats in girls’ distance running.

But her resume has a big bullet point already.

A freshman at Iowa City Liberty, Keeney blazed through the final two laps in 73.1 and 69.2 seconds, and won the girls’ 3,000-meter run at the Drake Relays on Thursday at Drake Stadium.

Her time (9:39.64) ranks No. 4 all-time in Iowa. But there’s more.

It’s No. 1 among freshmen in Iowa, eighth-best among freshmen in the United States.


“I’m so grateful for this gift,” Keeney said. “So thankful. My goal was to run 9:45.”

Her goal might need some adjusting.

Typically a hard charger out of the gate, Keeney ran a controlled pace through the early stages of the race. She didn’t take the lead until the sixth lap. Once she took it, she kept it.

“I’ve been told I run scared at the start,” she said. “My coaches told me I should try not doing that, and I’m glad they did.

“With about 600 (meters) to go, I just thought, ‘OK, I’ve got this, I’m going to finish strong.”

Mid-Prairie’s Marie Hostetler was Keeney’s main challenger for the first 2,200 meters and finished second in 9:55.26.


“It could have been better,” Hostetler said. “I wanted to pick it up with two or three laps left. I thought I’d be able to pick it up. But that’s exactly what Ashlyn did.”

Tipton’s Jaime Kofron became the fourth high-school girl to win multiple Drake discus titles, winning her second in a row. Her second fling of 147 feet, 8 inches pushed her past pre-Drake state leader Brylie Zeisneiss of South Hardin (141-1).

“(That throw) didn’t feel like anything spectacular,” Kofron said. “It still feels there is something left in the tank, so hopefully I can pull something out bigger the rest of the year.”

Kofron will go after a shot-put repeat Friday morning.

Thursday began inauspiciously, with a throw of 104-11. Then she unloaded.

“The first throw was very rough, and I get kind of nervous when that happens because I like to have three throws to do what I want do instead of one or two,” Kofron said.

“I have this saying, ‘Make the butterflies fly together, and it just kind of happened. I was able to get a nice one out there.”

Linn-Mar’s Dimia Burrell was the long jump runner-up, sailing 18-1. She did it on her second attempt.

“I felt really good coming down the runway,” she said. “To be honest, I was just hoping to get to the finals and place today.”

Darby Thomas of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln won it at 19 feet.

Burrell was eighth at state last year and did not place at Drake.

“This just gets me all that more excited for next year,” she said.


At Des Moines

Discus — 1. Jamie Kofron (Tipton), 147-8; 2. Brylie Zeisneiss (South Hardin), 141-1; 3. Lydia Knapp (Panorama), 135-1; 4. Molly Schany (Emmetsburg), 133-7; 5. Megan Niewoehner (Sumner-Fredericksburg), 132-7; 6. Sophia Dykstra (Oskaloosa), 132-3; 7. Jenna Pagel (Sumner-Fredericksburg), 130-9; 8. Lily Meester (Mount Vernon), 130-7.


Long jump — 1. Darby Thomas (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln), 19-0; 2. Dimia Burrell (Linn-Mar), 18-1; 3. Aliyah Carter (Dubuque Wahlert), 17-10; 4. Angel Baylark (Burlington), 17-9 3/4; 5. Miracle Ailes (Keokuk), 17-4 3/4; 6. Harmony Creasy (Pleasant Valley), 17-4 1/2; 7. Brianna Osterson (Greene County), 17-3; 8. Kylee Sallee (Hudson), 17-1 1/4.

3,000 — 1. Ashlyn Keeney (Iowa City Liberty), 9:39.64; 2. Marie Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 9:55.26; 3. Claire Edmondson (Dubuque Senior), 10:03.12; 4. Janette Schraft (Glenwood), 10:09.49; 5. Micah Poellet (Linn-Mar), 10:09.50; 6. Emily Staal (Central City), 10:12.19; 7. Camille Jackson (Ames), 10:14.00; 8. Emma Lucas (Bedford), 10:16.19.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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