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Keahna begins chase for medal at State Track & Field

March 23, 2018
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

South Tama County high jumper, Keith Keahna, is looking to make it a three-peat in qualifying for the high jump at the State Track and Field Meet in May.

He's already well on his way.

"Going into the meet Tuesday I felt confident in the 6'2 performance I had at UNI the previous meet. Everything felt perfect and flawless. My approach, my technique of getting over the bar and my foot placement was perfect as well," said Keahna.

Article Photos

Keith Keahna clears the bar during one of his jumps at the 2017 State Track and Field Meet at Drake Studium.
File Photo/Allison Graham

Keith set his personal record with a jump of 6'6 at the ISU Indoor meet on Tuesday, March 13 in Ames. The jump put him at the top of the podium earning first place. 6'6 was also the magic number for a 2018 Drake Relays qualification for Keahna. This year Drake Relays set in place a new system of qualification where any high school athlete that reaches a certain standard for time or distance, is automatically qualified to compete at the Drake Relays.

"Hitting 6'6 was so unexpected this early in the season," said Keahna, "I questioned about how I was even able to do it. I impressed myself. It felt amazing to finally get that 6'6 mark."

"The best part about high jump is the feeling of excitement when you clear the bar. You get a brief feeling that you can only really get when you clear an impressive height," said Keahna.

Keahna is no stranger to the State Tournament. He qualified his freshman year and was shy of the top ten earning 13th with a jump of 6'3. In his sophomore year he quite literally jumped up the ranks earning 5th place with a jump of 6'4.

And he has every intention of returning.

"Coming into the season my goal was to get 6'7. The goal for the State Meet this year is a top 3 finish," Keahna said.

There has been no rest for Keahna as he started indoor track two days after the basketball season ended.

"The transition from the basketball season and indoor track season has not been easy. After our loss against Xavier, I went to track practice two days later. Running inside the gym for basketball is a big swing to running out at the track and running in colder weather. But otherwise, the basketball season has already kept me in amazing shape and I am ready to compete on the track as well," Keahna said.

Keahna is a three-season athlete for the Trojans playing football, basketball and track and field.

"I believe track helps me in both football and basketball," Keahna said, "It helps me get the mentality that no one can beat me and that winning mentally transfers into the football and basketball seasons."

Keahna is the son of Marsha and Verlyn Keahna of Tama. His sister Tieranny was a former state qualifier for STC and now throws at Coe College. She just earned A11-IIAC honors for the Kohawks after her performance at a track meet in Pella earlier this month. Keahna took third in the women's weight throw with a personal best of 52'9 1/4" and ranks 26th nationally.

"I believe both Tieranny and I excelled in track because we realized what we are both capable of doing and we both love the sport of track and field. She loves to throw and I love to high jump. The love for the things we do in track is probably the key for both of us," said Keahna.

"We knew Keith was going to jump well this year, based upon how last season ended and his offseason work, but 6-6 happened a lot sooner than expected. He performed really well under the spotlight at ISU. He was the only jumper for a while at the end, so there were a lot of eyes on him. He did a great job to block it all out and focus on jumping. We expect more big things from Keith this year," said Coach Danny Mayo



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