By Steve Raymond
News Report Staff
Anybody looking through the pages of the December 5th issue of Sports Illustrated was likely to come across a familiar face.
There on page 24, in the “Faces in the Crowd” section, was St. Anthony senior Anna Sophia Keller.
This feature has been part of the sports magazine for many, many years. It spotlights high school athletes throughout the United States and other countries that are standouts in their respective sports.
“I knew I had been nominated, but I didn’t know I had been selected,” Anna Sophia said. “It’s amazing, especially to be included in a magazine like Sports Illustrated.”
The information highlighted the fact that Anna Sophia won the IHSA Class 1A state cross country championship for the fourth straight year. It also noted she owned the course record at Detweiller Park in Peoria, site of the state meet, plus it mentioned her state track titles in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter races.
“In many small communities, sports like cross country are under-appreciated,” Anna Sophia noted. “So this means a lot to be included with so many good athletes. Some of them have gone on to be national champions in their sports.”
Anna Sophia continues to run a little during the winter months, but is primarily involved with swimming. She competes with the CRCY Cudas in Centralia.
“It’s something we’ve always done as a family. I’ve been swimming since I was six,” Anna Sophia said. “It’s part of my training routine. It helps with my conditioning.”
Anna Sophia said she will run some indoor meets and will begin training seriously for the spring track season in March.
She will be looking for a three-peat in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter races, after winning both events in 2014 and 2015. As a freshman, Anna Sophia also won the 1600-meter title, so she will be seeking a four-year sweep of that event.
Anna Sophia is also being heavily recruited by colleges from throughout the country. She said she is planning to make a couple more official visits before making a commitment.
“I’m just going to keep working hard so I can become a better athlete,” she said.