Augusta State lands a Keeper |

Augusta State lands a Keeper

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – In her first three years of high school, Holly Keeper never really entertained the idea of running in college.

But then her senior year happened.

On the heels of a summer spent dedicating herself to training, Keeper spent the fall cross country season clocking high finishes. College coaches took notice.

After fielding interest from a number of schools, the Rifle High standout settled on one – Augusta State University in Georgia.

“They flew me out there, and I got to meet the teammates I’d be running with,” said Keeper, who graduated from high school in May. “The coach is really, really nice, and a really good coach. I like the school. It has the mix I’m looking for.”

What Keeper also likes is Augusta State’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

“I’m excited to be so close to the beach,” she joked. “And, yeah, the humidity will take getting used to. We’ll see how it goes.”

Coming from mountainous Colorado, Keeper’s accustomed to a little extra pain while running. The kind that accompanies a mile of elevation.

“I’m hoping that gives me a little bit of an edge,” she said. “We’re at 5,000 feet, and I’ll be going down to pretty much sea level.”

Keeper plans on spending future summers on Colorado soil for altitude training. That is, after all, where her running career got its start.

“In middle school, back in seventh and eighth grade, I kind of started running distance,” she recalled. “My dad and I would go out and run three times a week, just a loop by our house.”

And she kept with it from there, running track and cross country in high school.

It wasn’t until her senior year, though, that Keeper peaked. She cites a summer spent truly dedicating herself to the sport as pushing her to new heights.

“I did a lot more work over last summer,” Keeper relayed. “I got an extreme amount of work in. I went to a cross country camp at Western State that was a lot of fun. I got to run with a lot of different people. I learned a lot.”

Better times, higher finishes and Keeper’s first cross country state meet appearance followed, and running in college became a possibility.

“During my cross country season, my coach just started talking to coaches,” Keeper said. “I never thought about running in college. Coaches started talking to me and making offers. I visited Augusta, and I loved it.”

Adam Ward, Augusta State’s cross country coach, seems equally satisfied with his new recruit.

“Holly comes to us with a lot of experience, but also with plenty of potential,” Ward, a three-time Peach Belt Conference coach of the year, said in a May press release. “She was highly recommended during the recruiting process, and she should fit in nicely with the student-athletes we currently have.”

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