Keys 5th in decathlon championship

Sweet Home’s Dakotah Keys, who just completed his sophomore year in high school, finished fifth Sunday in a field of 18 competitors at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Chase Dalton of Tigard, a freshman this year at Brigham Young University, won the event with 7202 points. Keys finished with 6767 points, a PR by nearly 70 points, using college implements. His total was nearly 140 points more than his previous mark with college implements. The event is limited to competitors between the ages of 14 and 20.

Keys won the long jump competition, leaping 22-5 3/4 to win that event by three-quarters of an inch. In the nine other events, he finished 11th in the 100 (11.69), 13th in the 400 (52.73), 10th in the 1500 (4:54.72), 11th in the 110 high hurdles (16.16), in a tie for seventh in the high jump (6-0 3/4), in a tie for fifth in the pole vault (13-11 1/4), ninth in the shot put (39-7 1/4), seventh in the discus (123-2), third in the javelin (187-0),

“It went pretty good,” Keys said. “The javelin went pretty well and the long jump and pole vault went pretty good.” He said a strong head wind bothered him in the hurdles.

Keys was the youngest athlete in the meet, which included two others who will be in high school next year. One, Curtis Beach of Albuquerque Track Club, finished third with 7026 points. Keys said his finish gave him increased confidence in competing with athletes who are in college. He said Dalton, against whom he competed in the Sweet Home Decathlon a year ago, “helped me out, got me comfortable competing with college guys.”

Keys now turns his attention to the Junior Olympics national meet, where he plans to compete in July against other high school students.

“I hope I get 7000 (points) when I go to the JO’s,” he said.