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Worth the wait, Keahna wins State title

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

Keith Keahna has done a lot of waiting this season. He's been waiting because he's been the best. Meet after meet, Keahna has sat patiently waiting for the high jump bar to be raised. He did the same thing last week at State. Keahna competed in the Class 3A High Jump on Thursday, May 17 at Drake Stadium.

Keahna has been tied for top jump at 6'8 for a majority of the season. He and Marion's Blair Brooks came into the State Meet sharing the season best record. The bar was set at 5'9 as an opening jump.

Keahna came in at 6'1. He cleared with no problems. Same with 6'3. But at 6'5 Keahna had a hiccup. He missed his first attempt.

Article Photos

South Tama’s Keith Keahna competed in the Class 3A State High Jump on Thursday, May 17. Keahna won the High Jump at 6’7. It is the first High Jump Title for the Trojans since 1987. His family is seated in the background of the photo watching on.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

"That 6'5 miss started to get me a little nervous because obviously Blair cleared that on his first attempt and then I missed my first. I just had to refocus and clear that 6'7 bar on my first attempt. Then after I saw Blair miss and everyone miss I was like it could happen."

Keahna managed to regroup and he sailed over the bar at 6'7 on his first attempt. Then Keahna did some more waiting. There were four other jumpers vying for 6'7 including Brooks, Bret Price of Boone, Jackson Fisher of Chariton and John Carlson of Bondurant-Farrar.

Brooks missed his first attempt at 6'7 which tied him with Keahna with one miss each. One by one they started to fall. As one jumper missed their second attempt at 6'7, then their third, Keahna watched in near disbelief as he became the Class 3A State Champion in the High Jump.

"It was perfect," said Keith Keahna. "I couldn't have pictured it any better. Just celebrating this with my family is something I never saw myself doing." Following his win he ran to the stands to hug his Mom Marsha and Dad Verlyn as well as his coach Danny Mayo.

"This season has been a lot of waiting because I've had to pass multiple heights at some of the meets we've done. That's something I'll learn for next year to get past and hopefully I'll learn from this season and take that to my senior year."

The victory was actually quite the surprise for Keahna who has said all season his goal had been top three.

"I never saw it coming this year. I was hoping for top three but now State Champ was more than I expected. I go down in the history books in my school and I'm honored to represent South Tama."

The Trojans have not had a State Champion in the High Jump since 1997. To top that off Keahna has tied the school record which was set at 6'8 by Jason Nekola. Keahna will have one more year to make it happen.

"6'9 I've attempted many times this year. To get that would be something for our school because that would have been our school record. So far this year and in my career I've just tied it. So 6'9 is there for next year."

"This track season has been fun. It would have been better to qualify in more events but high jump is obviously my favorite event in track. Just to do that, my love for it, it's just really fun to do."



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