Manhattan’s Keeley takes fourth in 6A girls

Charles Chaney
Manhattan junior, Janna Keeley races down the home stretch at the Class 6A Girl's state championships in Augusta, Kansas on Saturday, Oct. 31. Keeley finished fourth, a career high at the championships.

AUGUSTA, KANSASManhattan’s Jenna Keeley went to work when the track season was canceled in March due to COVID-19. She ran over 700 miles for training in preparation to get better.

All of that hard work paid off as Keeley finished fourth in the Class 6A girl’s cross country state championships on Saturday afternoon.

Keeley, only a junior, put up a fight in what many consider the toughest race in any class.

“It was fun racing against girls I don’t usually get to race,” Keeley said. “I knew they were really good but it the challenge was fun.”

After finishing 20th last season, Keeley’s hard work showed as she won every meet she entered this season, rolling off six victories in a row this season.

“It’s fun to run and I run for the glory of God,” Keeley said. “I get to run with my sisters, so they push me as well.”

Keeley finished with a time of 19:12.05, approximately 32 seconds back of Olathe North’s Anjail Hocker-Singh for the state championship.

“She works so hard,” Manhattan head coach Susan Melgares said. “The miles she’s put in is obvious in her improvement.”

Keeley will get an opportunity to come back for her senior year and try to push towards that elusive state championship.

“I’m just grateful we get to run out here,” Keeley said. “After we lost track last year, each race means a little more now.”

Washburn Rural’s Madeline Carter placed eighth to lead the Junior Blues to a eighth-place team finish. Sydney Laster added a 39th, while Khloi Bird was 52nd and Keely Wagner 62nd.

In Class 5A, Seaman’s Bethany Druse earned a state medal with a top 10 finish, placing ninth in 19:50.32. Topeka West’s Anna Phelps was the next-highest Topekan in 33rd.


At Augusta


Team scores

Olathe West 59, BV Northwest 60, Olathe North 63, SM East 115, Olathe East 182, Manhattan 187, BV West 193, Washburn Rural 197, Dodge City 203, Derby 233, Wichita East 271, Hutchinson 314

Individual scores

1. Anjail Hocker-Singh, Olathe North, 18:39.16; 2. Riley Beach, BV Northwest, 18:42.25; 3. Paige Mullen, SM Northwest, 18:59.33; 4. Jenna Keeley, Manhattan, 19:12.05; 5. Aubree Blackman, Olathe West, 19:14.70; 6. Grace Meyer, SM East, 19:15.76; 7. Hannah Gibson, SM South, 19:25.05; 8. Madeline Carter, Washburn Rural, 19:27.51; 9. Shea Johnson, Olathe North, 19:29.07. 10. Melody Ochana, Olathe East, 19:31.77.