Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Small but mighty Eagles

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | Mar 20, 2014
Photo by: Derek Helling The Keota boys’ track team for 2014 is a week away from beginning competition. The back row from left to right is senior Kolton Greiner, senior Matt Slaughter, senior Luke Lyle, junior John Mather and sophomore Isaiah Hahn. The front row from left to right is freshman Jason Ree, junior Ben Horras, freshman Jacob Wickencamp and sophomore Nate Sieren.

“300” is a film loosely based on actual historical events in which a small force of Greek soldiers delayed the progress of a Persian army bent on conquest of Greece. In a similar fashion, the Keota boys’ and girls’ track teams are small in number, but not to be underestimated.
Larry Lyle has begun his 12th season coaching the Eagle boys.
“Last season went pretty well. We didn’t get anyone to state, it was the first time in several years. [Senior] Luke [Lyle] in the 800-meter was just 1/10th of a second off qualifying. [Senior] Kolton [Greiner] finished third at districts in the 400-meter, so he was close as well. Our 4x100 relay got third as well so we were right on the edge, but just couldn’t make it,” Lyle said.
“We are going to have at least a 4x100 and a 4x200 relay team. We have a lot of sprinters back. Luke and Kolton in their races should be good again. [Junior] Ben Horras in the 100 and 200 does a good job also. We don’t have a lot of quantity but we hope to have good quality. We are trying to get better each time out,” Lyle added.
“Our schedule is going to be pretty typical but this year is going to be a bit different because three of our guys are going to try to play golf as well,” Lyle elaborated.
Dan Stout is in his eighth season coaching the Eagle girls.
“Even though we only have had a few practices these girls know exactly what they are going to do. We are small, so that makes it tough to compete at meets. We are going to go all out for individual achievement, though. [Senior] Kelsi [Sieren] is a good hurdler; she’s been doing the hurdles since her freshman year. I’m looking for good things out of her. She is going to try to add the 400-meter hurdles to her repertoire this year. Mallory [Ladehoff] has been working a lot in the offseason on distance running. She wants to run the two-mile and the 1,500-meter. We have [junior] Brooke [Sieren] who is a returning sprinter. Courtney Hyman is an in-between runner. Maggie Baker does the high jump and some hurdles. We hope to work Erin in where she fits best. We’ll see if we can put some relays together,” Stout commented.
“Our schedule this year is going to be very similar to what it’s always been. We normally haven’t done much indoor stuff. We start on April 1. Usually we don’t start until a little bit later, so it will be good to get under way early. We gear ourselves for the conference meet in the first week of May and then obviously for districts. With our small numbers we obviously look for individual performances. I’ve already had some girls talk about some goals as far as what they want their times to be,” Stout explained.
The boys will begin their season on Thursday, March 27 at the Washington Relays. The girls are scheduled to compete for the first time on Tuesday, April 1 at Belle Plaine. Both the Keota boys and girls will compete for the first and only time of the season at home on Monday, April 21.
With hard work and the guidance of their coaches, these Eagles may find themselves qualifying for state at the end of the season despite their small rosters. If that happens, they will have every right to reenact the most well-known scene from “300” with their own twist, yelling “This is Keota!”

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