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2019-20 All-Metro Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year Sam Keeny sets self apart with dedication

Sam Keeny

Senior, South River

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South River’s Sam Keeny was having a phenomenal cross country season, capturing a Class 4A state title while running the fastest time in the history of Hereford’s daunting course, a 15:34.98 that was almost seven seconds faster than the next closest runner.

At the Nike Southeast Regional Championships, Keeny looked poised to make an even bigger mark, but a cramp in the final mile forced him out of contention. It was a tough last race to have in the season but Keeny, as he often has, found a way to persevere and turn the page.

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Keeny’s dedication to running allowed him to be able to bounce back from a setback with ease during indoor track season.

“His teammates always remark about how they can’t match Sam’s commitment,” South River coach Josh Carroll said. “What he does with his other 22 hours of the day outside of practice I think that has allowed him to get better and better and better and better. His workouts were as precise as always. His commitment to his nutrition, hydration, sleep cycle, everything he does, he remained committed to.”

Keeny took some time after cross country to rest but started ramping up his indoor season in early January, particularly when he ran a 4:19.57 in the 1,600 meters at the Liberty Premier Invitational, the third-fastest 1,600 in the state this winter.

That competition propelled Keeny to run the best 3,200 time in the state this indoor season at the 4A state championships.

Pushing the pace early, Keeny found himself in a battle with Springbrook’s Surafel Mengist in the latter stages. He found a way to win in 9:21.94

Even if there ends up not being an outdoor track season, Carroll knows Keeny has already proven himself as the best distance runner in the school’s history.

“We talk at practice among the coaches,” Carroll said. “We don’t think of Sam as the best in school history, we think he is in the conversation in state history and his times both from cross country and indoor track support that. He ran the fastest course time at Hereford ever, that speaks volumes and that has to be in the conversation.”

Keeny plans to attend the Naval Academy and run for its track and cross country programs.

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