Prep Sports

MVC cross country: Liberty freshman Ashlyn Keeney makes a case for Iowa supremacy

Ashlyn Keeney wins MVC girls' race by 38 seconds; Prairie's Jack Pendergast is the top boy

Iowa City Liberty's Ashlyn Keeney takes an early lead shortly after the start of the Mississippi Valley Conference cross country meet at Noelridge Park on Thursday. Keeney won the girls' race in 17:36. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa City Liberty's Ashlyn Keeney takes an early lead shortly after the start of the Mississippi Valley Conference cross country meet at Noelridge Park on Thursday. Keeney won the girls' race in 17:36. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Get acquainted with Ashlyn Keeney. She’s going to be around for a while.

A freshman from Iowa City Liberty — but hardly a running newbie — Keeney stormed away from the pack in the girls’ race of the Mississippi Valley Conference cross country meet Thursday afternoon at Noelridge Park.

“I was hoping I would be up there, but I didn’t know this would happen,” Keeney said after finishing in 17:36, 38 seconds ahead of runner-up Micah Poellet of Linn-Mar.

Poellet came into the race ranked No. 1 in Class 4A while Keeney was No. 2. Expect that to flip.

Keeney separated herself from the chase pack immediately, building a seven-second lead by the halfway point. The margin continued to grow.

“I tried to keep up the tempo and push myself throughout,” said Keeney, a freckle-faced, fast-legged 14-year-old. “I was a little nervous, a little worried coming in.”

Keeney started running with an Iowa City-based track and field club called the Iowa Speed in second grade.

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“Then I got more competitive in junior high, and here I am,” she said. “I really enjoy it. I love the feeling when you’re done after a good race.”

This one certainly qualified.

Dubuque schools swept the team races. Led by a 3-4 finish of Claire Edmondson and Lillian Schmidt, Dubuque Senior captured the girls’ title with 90 points. Cedar Rapids Prairie was a surprising second with 119, then it was Dubuque Wahlert (138), Iowa City West (144) and Cedar Falls (152).

Dubuque Hempstead ruled the boys’ race, placing seven runners in the top 16 and tallying 43 points. Individual champion Jack Pendergast led Prairie to a runner-up finish with 77 points, and Cedar Rapids Washington (97), Cedar Falls (113) and Cedar Rapids Kennedy (157) rounded out the top five.

Pendergast fell about 200 meters into the race, quickly worked himself back to the front cluster and finished in 15:57. Kennedy’s Jacob Green was next, in 16:03.

“When I went down, it was like a sprint to get back up there,” Pendergast said. “This gives me a crazy amount of confidence for the rest of the season.”

Pre-meet favorite Kolby Greiner of Iowa City West ran with Pendergast and Green for more than 2 miles, tightened up and did not finish.

“Jack started to pull away from him, then I went past him too,” Green said. “I just tried to stay composed and have a good final push.”

Dylan Dolezal of Linn-Mar was third in 16:17.

MVC cross country meet

At Noelridge Park

GIRLS RESULTS

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

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Individuals — 1. Ashlyn Keeney (ICL), 17:36; 2. Micah Poellet (LM), 18:14; 3. Claire Edmondson (DS), 18:45; 4. Lillian Schmidt (DS), 18:54; 5. Gabby Moran (DW), 19:00; 6. Reagan Gorman (CRW), 19:15; 7. Deniz Ince (ICW), 19:21; 8. Rowan Boulter (ICH), 19:24; 9. Laurdyn Meyer (CRP), 19:26; 10. Gabby Cortez (CRP), 19:39.

C.R. Prairie — 9. Meyer, 10. Cortez, 24. Kendall White, 20:07; 32. Carli Reittinger, 20:28; 44. Grace Long, 20:46.

Iowa City West — 7. Ince, 21. Kiara Malloy-Salgado, 20:05; 26. Maddy Negley, 20:10; 43. Camden Zirker, 20:45; 47. Anna Moore, 20:48.

Iowa City Liberty — 1. Keeney, 13. McKenzie Logan, 19:50; 14. Camille Mac, 19:52; 56. Elizabeth Jaeger, 21:02; 73. Isabelle Woody, 21:50.

C.R. Kennedy — 19. Briana McLaughlin, 20:02; 23. Grace Walker, 20:06; 25. Lauren Gray, 20:09; 33. Bethany Smeed, 20:30; 59. Olivia Hamblin, 21:06.

Iowa City High — 8. Boulter, 17. Esti Brady, 20:01; 35. Lilly Reynolds, 20:36; 48. Jae Dancer, 20:50; 54. Janie Perrill, 20:59.

Linn-Mar — 2. Poellet, 11. Chloe Skidmore, 19:41; 45. Sarah Murphy, 20:46; 51. Lilly Geelan, 20:56; 66. Dimia Burrell, 21:25.

C.R. Washington — 6. Gorman, 18. Libby Wickham, 20:01; 62. Mary Cline, 21:14; 65. Elle Scriver, 21:19; 69. Mara Westphalen, 21:41.

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C.R. Xavier — 63. Hannah Denman, 21:15; 80. Lizzy Schmitt, 22:35; 86. Kathryn Cosgrove, 22:54; 89. Megan Meyer, 23:06; 90. Bridget Schmitt, 23:06.

C.R. Jefferson — 46. Rachel Nagel, 20:46; 96. Callie Christofferson, 23:53; 98. Katrina Truitt, 24:21; 101. Olivia Prochnow, 24:45; 102. Hannah Hoeger, 25:38.

BOYS RESULTS

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

Individuals — 1. Jack Pendergast (CRP), 15:57; 2. Jacob Green (CRK), 16:03; 3. Dylan Dolezal (LM), 16:17; 4. Brandon Conrad (CF), 16:21; 5. Ben Hermiston (DH), 16:22; 6. Ryan Winger (DH), 16:28; 7. David Holesinger (DH), 16:30; 8. Max Locher (CRW), 16:34; 9. Isaiah Schaetzel (DS), 16:40; 10. Paul Schneidermann (CRW), 16:49.

C.R. Prairie — 1. Pendergast, 17. McKade Adams, 17:00; 18. Andrew Bickford, 17:01; 20. Hunter Kalous, 17:02; 21. Carlo Dannenfelser, 17:07.

C.R. Washington — 8. Locher, 10. Schneidermann, 11. Khory Nobles, 16:51; 23. Ethan Stout, 17:10; 45. Lewis Kleman, 17:25.

C.R. Kennedy — 2. Green, 33. Jack Schissel, 17:17; 35. Lucas Middlekauff, 17:18; 37. Wes Jackson, 17:20; 50. Sean Casey, 17:28.

Iowa City West — 26. Will Conrad, 17:13; 36. Nicolo Schianchi, 17:19; 41. Yousif Salama, 17:21; 47. Ken Wilbur, 17:27; 52. Alexander McKane, 17:28.

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Linn-Mar — 3. Dolezal, 24. Cadin Evans, 17:11; 61. Noah Gilkes, 17:42; 62. Tye Skilang, 17:43; 65. Carson Burns, 17:50.

Iowa City High — 34. Yasar Hassan, 17:17; 38. Andre Miller, 17:20; 42. Mitchell Wilkes, 17:22; 51. Charles Maxwell, 17:28; 68. Sullivan Hall, 17:52.

Iowa City Liberty — 48. Peter Woodward, 17:27; 58. Ethan Keeney, 17:39; 66. Jack Kinzer, 17:51; 67. Jordan Robinson, 17:52; 77. Caleb Schillinger, 18:03.

C.R. Jefferson — 44. Lukas Lamparek, 17:24; 46. Gavin Hall, 17:26; 84. Nathan Lauterwasser, 18:16; 87. Zac Goodall, 18:23; 88. Aidan Meyer, 18:23.

C.R. Xavier — 15. Jack Renning, 16:59; 89. Grayson Walther, 18:26; 90. Nathan Hagarty, 18:31; 91. Grant Schoebelen, 18:32; 99. Ethan Nasution, 18:54.

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

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