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Keahna, Slaven, Frakes punch tickets to State

May 16, 2018
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

After winning the high jump at Districts, STC's Keith Keahna is at the top of his game heading into his third straight appearance at the State Track and Field Meet. Keahna along with his fellow teammates and the STC girls track team competed at Districts in Pella on Thursday, May 17.

The State Track and Field meet is the culmination of all the hard work put in during the season. For Keahna the State Meet is a culmination of efforts that have been building since his freshman year.

"I felt good today coming in focused and ready to go. I got a little nervous but that's just how you feel when you come down here and try and qualify for State. It's just a really good relief to know that I'm going."

Article Photos

STC’s Keith Keahna won Districts with a jump of 6’7 and will compete at the State meet on Thursday, May 17.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

The boys high jump bar was set at 5'6 and Keahna opted to come in at 6'0. At 6'0 Keahna was in the company of just two other jumpers Turner Schroeder of Benton and Jackson Fisher of Chariton. Keahna nailed the attempt on the first try.

The bar moved to 6'1. He hit 6'1 on the first try and then again at 6'2. Schroeder scratched his last attempt at 6'2 and the competition moved forward with just Keahna and Fisher.

Keahna continued to impress hitting 6'3, 6'4, 6'5 and 6'6 all on his first attempt. In fact he didn't have a miss until 6'7.

"(Hitting the first attempt) is really important. If you can get high heights with no misses it's really good because tie breakers are a big deal. One miss is the difference between 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd and all the way down. I think it's a big deal and (Coach) Mayo emphasizes that first attempt is very important."

Keahna is very familiar with the importance of the tie breaker. He recently took 2nd at the Drake Relays in large part due to a tie break. He had tied at 6'7 with a few other jumpers.

At 6'7 Keahna was jumping alone as Fisher missed the 6'6 height. Keahna regrouped after his first miss and sailed over the bar on his second attempt.

It's 6'8 that has been somewhat of a nemesis to him over the past few weeks. He has hit the height once this season but missed it at Drake and missed it at Districts.

"The arch is important once we get high heights. The past couple of meets I've been flat back and haven't been getting my arch in. That was a problem at conference. Just hitting it with my lower part of legs and my butt. Mayo emphasizes that arch. We are trying to improve it but it could still use some work."

Despite the miss, Keahna is tied with Marion's Blair Brooks this season as 3A jumpers that have reached 6'8.

"He's just a phenomenal athlete," Keahna said of Brooks, "He's all around a track guy. He's fast. He can jump high and long. He's just an outstanding athlete. He'll be really fun to jump against at State this year."

Keahna knows he's one of the best in the state but he's a humble and quiet kid. He doesn't get too caught up in the contest of it and focuses more on how to get better.

"It just means you're right there for a state championship. That's what it means for me. I like to check it once in a while to see if someone has passed me. But I'm not too carried away about it. I try to ignore it but once in a while I'll look at it. I just try to stay humble. When someone asks me about it I just like to say I can always do better," said Keahna.

Keahna was the sole male to qualify from STC. The girls team will have two qualifiers at the State Meet.

Stacey Slaven also qualified in the high jump. Slaven took 2nd at Districts tying at 5'3 with Grinnell's Kylie Neighbors. Neighbors ended up in 1st after tie breakers were applied. Also qualifying for State was Callie Frakes. Frakes missed out on last year's State Track and Field Meet as she was recovering from some injuries. Frakes will run in the 1500.

You can catch the STC high jumpers on Thursday at the Drake Blue Oval. The Class 3A boys high jump begins at 2 p.m. and the girls are at 4:30. The 1500 Meter Run will be on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.



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