Keys 2nd in Jr. Olympics decathlon

Dakotah Keys placed second in the nation at the U.S. Track and Field Junior Olympic national meet held last week at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

Keys, a sophomore-to-be, was competing in his fifth decathlon of the season and fourth in a little over a month and it caught up with him as he had a couple of “off events” and wound up with 6048 points, behind fellow Oregonian Andrew Gay’s 6300.

Keys also placed fourth in the javelin, throwing 176-00 to finish behind leader Alex Cartright, another Oregonian, who won with a throw of 200-00.

“I was pretty happy with what I did,” Keys said Monday of his decathlon performance. “It was really just Andrew and me. Except for the heat, it was just like the state meet. I went against the same kid in the state and regional meet.”

Two other Sweet Home athletes also competed. Sprinter Maria Kropf ran 12.97 to finish last in her preliminary heat, well below her best time of 12.5.

“Mentally, she got out of the game before she got there,” said coach Lila Danforth, who accompanied them.

Hannah McClaskey fouled on her first two attempts in the hammer throw and had to settle for a “safe” throw of 111-11 to ensure a legal mark and finish 12th, Danforth said. Sara Cole of Central took third, throwing 157-11.

The good new for Keys is that he can skip the state and regional Jr. Olympics meets next year as his top score this year, 6395, qualifies him for next year’s nationals, Danforth said.

Keys said he was happy with his javelin effort, even though it was more than 20 feet short of the 193-10 school record he threw two weeks ago at the regional meet.

“The javelin was OK, nothing to be sorry about,” he said. “I was feeling pretty tired. I was pretty wiped out.”