Castle Rock senior Jeran Keogh was a football guy.
“I wasn’t very good, but I was fast,” he explained. He ran track in the spring, played football in the fall and wrestled in the winter. But his distance coach, David Cauthers, pestered him into going out for the cross country team.
Keogh finally relented, and turned out for the team his sophomore year.
“Running wasn’t something I cared about,” Keogh said. “I don’t think I ran once the whole summer leading into that year.”
At one point that season, Keogh thought about quitting. It was starting to bore him, he explained. But he also saw improvements. If he kept dropping time, he had a chance at making state.
“I hadn’t been to state at any point in my life, and it was like, ‘Hey, this is awesome,” Keogh said.
By October’s district meet, Keogh had eclipsed 18 minutes for a 5-kilometer race, and qualified in 16th place to go to the state championships in Pasco.
He was hooked.
He ran 400 miles the subsequent summer and found his way back to Pasco for his junior year. He finished 83rd in the Class 1A race. Then he wrestled his way to Mat Classic and sprinted his way to a state appearance in the 800 meters last spring.
A three-sport state participant — not an easy task at any level.
“All the hard work paid off,” Keogh said. “It was such a big accomplishment for me.”
After a disappointing 14th-place finish in the 800 meters at state, though — 6 seconds slower than his best time just nine days before — Keogh again found a motivator.
He put in more than 400 miles again this summer. He got up early in the mornings before his summer job to prepare himself for what he hopes is his best season yet.
“Getting my runs in was really hard,” said Keogh, who would often log 10 morning miles before embarking on his day. “This isn’t a sport that you can go into the season expecting to do good if you didn’t run over the summer.”
He credited his strong support system — “good coach, good family, awesome girlfriend, great friends” — for his extra effort this offseason.
“It’s my last year of high school; you don’t get these memories back,” he said.
As far as the future goes for Keogh, he hasn’t ruled out competing in college. More importantly, though, he wants to become a police officer. A dream he’s had since he was young.
Wherever he goes, he’ll likely still run in his spare time.
“When I’m running, it fixes me up,” Keogh said. “If I’m having a bad day, it gives me a good day. The endorphins and the vibes, and the mindset of ‘Hey, I just woke up and accomplished something. That’s a great start to my day.’ And if I’m having a good day, it turns it into a great day.”