Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Prep Track and Field

Ashlyn Keeney runs a state meet-caliber 1,500 in MVC Indoor

Iowa City Liberty freshman blazes to 4:41.84 in UNI-Dome

CEDAR FALLS — There was no huffing. No puffing. Ashlyn Keeney stepped off the track as if she had just completed a leisurely warmup.

“I recover quick,” she said.

That’s how she runs, too.

A freshman at Iowa City Liberty, Keeney blitzed through the 1,500-meter race at the Mississippi Valley Conference indoor girls’ track and field meet Tuesday night at the UNI-Dome. Her time of 4:41.84 would be a state-contending effort in May.

In March? In short, wow.

“I was hoping for something in the low-4:40s,” Keeney said. “I wanted to try to get out a little bit, then finish fast.”

She did all of that.

Keeney raced onto the distance-running scene last fall and was unbeaten until the state meet, when disaster struck and she faded to 72nd.

“I thought about it a lot throughout the winter,” she said. “I might have been dehydrated, maybe had a sickness.”

Liberty is making its MVC debut this school year, and the presence of Keeney and hurdler Taylor Cannon will make the Lightning competitive immediately.

Cannon, a junior and the 2018 3A 100-meter hurdles runner-up, will be part of the 4A elite this season if Tuesday was any indication. She won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.66 seconds.


“I’m happy with my race, but I still have some stuff to improve,” Cannon said. “I’ve been working hard in the weight room. I really want to be a state champion.

“We’re a young squad, but I think we’ll be a strong team.”

Liberty also won the distance medley relay.

Team scores were not kept Tuesday, but the perennially strong teams — Cedar Falls, Iowa City West, Linn-Mar and Iowa City High — are there again.

Cedar Falls crowned four champions, and West joined Liberty and Dubuque Wahlert with three apiece.

West’s Deniz Ince, a Yale signee, was the 3,000-meter champion in 10:31.83 and ran behind Keeney in the 1,500.

“I’m in a lot better shape than last year, and I’m happy about that,” said Ince, who earned four top-three finishes at state last year. “It was my best offseason yet. I used to think I was just an 800 runner, but last year kind of changed everything.”

West’s Salima Omari and Lexie Little were 1-2 in the shot put.

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Gabby Cortez (800), Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Cheyenne Mitchell (60), Linn-Mar’s 3,200-meter relay and Iowa City High’s shuttle hurdle relay also earned gold.


At Cedar Falls (UNI-Dome)

No Team Scores

Shot put — 1. Salima Omari (ICW), 38-10; 2. Lexie Little (ICW), 36-7; 3. Madison Fleckenstein (DH), 35-1; High jump — 1. Auriona Kimbrough (CF), 5-1; 2. Hannah Stuelke (CRW), 5-1; 3. Kajsa Gerkens (CRK), 5-0; Long jump — 1. Aliyah Carter (DW), 17-3; 2. Dimia Burrell (LM), 16-11 1/2; 3. Katie Severt (ICW), 16-10 1/2.

Sprint medley relay — 1. Cedar Falls, 1:53.52; 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 1:53.78; 3. Linn-Mar, 1:53.87; 3,000 — 1. Deniz Ince (ICW), 10:32.09; 2. Reagan Gorman (CRW), 10:43.49; 3. Claire Edmondson (DS), 10:49.15; 3,200 relay — 1. Linn-Mar, 9:57.99; 2. Iowa City High, 10:01.37; 3. Cedar Falls, 10:11.46; Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Iowa City High, 39.33; Iowa City West, 39.47; 3. Iowa City Liberty, 41.33; 60 — 1. Cheyenne Mitchell (CRK), 7.79; 2. Emma Cooper (ICH), 8.02; 3. Anisia Smith (CF), 8.09; Distance medley relay — 1. Iowa City Liberty, 4:26.20; 2. C.R. Prairie, 4:26.56; 3. Iowa City West, 4:36.84; 400 — 1. Mackenzie Michael (CF), 1:00.07; 2, Lily Haars (LM), 1:01.25; 3. Audrey Biermann (WDbq), 1:03.23; 800 relay — 1. Dubuque Wahlert, 1:48.71; 2. Cedar Falls, 1:49.38; 3. Iowa City High, 1:50.27; 60 hurdles — 1. Taylor Cannon (ICL), 8.66; 2. Chana Northrup (LM), 9.29; 3. Ella Woods (ICW), 9.39; 800 — 1. Gabby Cortez (CRP), 2:24.69; 2. Micah Poellet (LM), 2:27.40; 3. Caroline Schaeckenbach (ICH), 2:29.85; 200 — 1. Libby Wedewer (DW), 26.05; 2. Hannah Stuelke (CRW), 27.09; 3. Jenna Burds (WDbq), 27.71; 1,500 — 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL), 4:41.84; 2. Deniz Ince (ICW), 4:54.39; 3. Lilly Geelan (LM), 5:06.39; 400 relay — 1. Iowa City West, 52.02; 2. Cedar Falls, 52.93; 3. Linn-Mar, 53.22; 1,600 relay — 1. Cedar Falls, 4:07.79; 2. Iowa City High, 4:09.69; 3. Linn-Mar, 4:15.01.

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