Greatness for Gatorade: Ashlyn Keeny
Ashlyn Keeney, the first Liberty High Gatorade player of the year, tells how she achieved greatness and the details behind her success.
September 13, 2019
It’s hard to achieve greatness. Performing well in sports is a goal many high schoolers have, and it’s often difficult to stay focused in both academics and sports while maintaining a balanced personal life. The Gatorade Player Award goes to athletes who display great athletic achievement, academic excellence, and all around good character including sportsmanship and community activities.
During the 2019 track season, Ashlyn Keeney, freshman, went down in history by becoming the first Gatorade Athlete of the Year from Liberty High.
“Winning the Gatorade Player of the Year not only means you are an incredible athlete [but also] means that you have high academic standards and exemplary character on and off the track,” said Tonya Mcdonough, girls cross country and track coach.
The steps to success seem simple, and Keeney assures that what got her the award was “working hard, during both running and school.” In all aspects of life, showing up each day to work hard and giving the best she can seems to be the basis of what it takes. Keeney knows how to run, but her good attitude and effort make her stand out even more.
“I got the title, a trophy, a lot of Gatorade, and a backpack,” said Keeney. Gatorade also gives scholarships to students for their achievements.
“I was able to donate 1000 dollars to a charity of my choice. I chose Courage League Sports of Iowa City because they do sports and recreational activities [for] people with disabilities,” said Keeney.
Beth Jaeger, a fellow teammate to Keeney, loves the atmosphere she gives after races.
“Ashlyn is the kindest person I’ve ever met. She’s constantly supporting the team and even if she’s first, she high-fives and hugs all the other athletes and waits until every last person finishes,” said Jaeger.
“Ashlyn is as dedicated to being the best that she can be in the classroom as she is as a runner. She works tremendously hard all the time; she volunteers within our community; she is respectful, kind, and just a great person,” said Mcdonough.
In the future, Liberty hopes to have more student-athletes eligible for this award. Keeney shares her best advice for upcoming athletes with similar goals.
“Try your best. Try to be a good teammate and work hard in school and sports. And make sure to have fun; that’s the most important part,” said Keeney.
As Keeney shares about her past achievements, she looks ahead to embark on a bright future.
“I was just running to run, but hopefully I’ll continue to run well. We’ll see what the future has in store for me,” said Keeney.