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Star watch: conversation with Hilltop High senior Ashley Keeline Phillip Brents | Tue, Oct 25 2011 03:45 PM

In the days of increasing sports specialization for high school athletes, Hilltop senior Ashley Keeline breaks the mold.

In the fall, she plays field hockey, in the winter basketball and in the spring track and field.

It’s helped make her an all-around athlete and a very recruit-friendly one at that.
Keeline is looking to play field hockey in college and has received interest from several schools in the eastern United States. She has also received interest from schools in the Midwest to compete in track and field.

However, her first choice is to play women’s field hokey for the University of the Pacific Tigers in Stockton.

She has played three years of varsity field hockey at Hilltop, including two as a team co-captain.

She has played one year of varsity soccer and one year of varsity basketball. She is looking forward to playing her second year of basketball in 2011-12. This will be her fourth year as captain and anchor of the school’s 4x100 relay team in track.

Field hockey has caught her fancy, however.

Following the conclusion of the current high school fall sports season, she will join her club team, the Poway Mystix Field Hockey Club for a major festival in Arizona over the Thanksgiving weekend.

This is Keeline’s second year with the Mystix, who are coached by Cindi Lou Villa. She will continue to play with the Mystix throughout the remainder of her senior year.
Keeline got her introduction to the sport toward the end of her eighth grade term during a demonstration put on by the Hilltop program, then under the direction of coach Lynn  Garcia.

“I could not participate since I had a cast on my wrist from a soccer goalie injury, but I was able to watch them from the bench,” Keeline recalled. “The second day they had a scrimmage, so I went and watched that, too. I came back for tryouts in the summer but after I tried out, I felt like I was a big ol’ dork out there on the field. I went to an extra training that they offered and I guess I just got the hang of it since I ended up making the JV team (under coach Lorena Martinez) and I became a starter my freshman year. After my first season with JV, I was brought up to work out with the varsity team for playoffs.”

At the team’s awards banquet, she received recognition as best midfielder, for most assists and most inspirational.

After that Keeline moved on to JV soccer and received the best midfielder award under coach Carlos Ugarte. She was brought up to work out with the varsity team for the CIF playoffs.

When spring rolled around, Keeline went on to track where she was became sprinter in the 100- and 200-meter distances and also on the 4x100 relay team where she was  appointed relay team anchor and captain.

As a freshman, Keeline said she felt “honored” to be competing at the varsity level.

At the track banquet, she received awards as the team’s top freshman athlete, Hilltop’s No. 3 female sprinter and Rookie of the Year. She also placed first in three out of the four events at the JV track finals while finishing second in the 4x400 relay.

During the following summer, Keeline attended a field hockey camp and at the start of her sophomore year earned my spot as a starter on the Lancers’ varsity field hockey team under coaches Garcia and Rita Delgadillo. Hilltop finished the season with a championship banner. At the banquet she received honors as co-Rookie of the Year.

She also received an invitation to join the USA Futures field hockey program.

During the winter sports season her sophomore year, Keeline went back to soccer and was selected to play on the varsity team under coach Rene Ortiz.
In the spring, it was back to running track for the Lady Lancers in the same events as the previous before. She surprised opponents with her speed and the Hilltop unit reached its goal by advancing to he CIF prelims.

Between her sophomore and junior years, she participated in the USA Futures program. She also played and helped coach the winter and summer indoor field hockey team. She participated in the Cal Cup with the Eclipse team, coached under Brianne Martinez.
For the 2010 fall season, Keeline was named one of three captains for the Lancers field hockey team. Hilltop finished in a tie for second place in the league standings with Otay Ranch. The honors continued to roll in: all-conference first team and best midfielder on the team.

Looking for a change, Keeline switched winter sports from outside the gym to inside the gym and played varsity basketball under coach Ray Jindra.

“It was a challenge for me after a few years of not playing basketball,” Keeline admitted.  

Her honors included selection to the county’s all-academic team.

Last season, Hilltop’s 4x100 relay team advanced to CIF prelims with a time of 49.43 seconds. She also tried hurdling late in the season.

“That was some work but I liked the change in pace and even advanced to Mesa League finals as one of the hurdles,” she said.

At the team’s awards banquet, she received the honor of top track and field athlete and most improved for taking on hurdling late in the season and advancing to league finals.

Time for a break? Keeline’s answer: “Not for me!”

She continued playing and helping coach the indoor team at the local YMCA, attended the field hockey festival in Arizona during Thanksgiving week with the Mystix and also the Cal Cup Labor Day weekend.

“My family and I raced from CIF Finals for track to be with my club team in Ventura,” she recalled.

In July she attended University of the Pacific’s field hockey summer camp in Glendora, receiving the honor of camp MVP at the end of the session.

For her senior year, Keeline said she is looking forward “to great seasons that are ahead in all three of my sports — field hockey, basketball and track — along with the great memories of my high school experiences over the past four years.”

The rest of the story, she said, "has yet to be written.”

Q& A with Ashley Keeline

SN: Did you play youth sports prior to high school?  

AK: My mom and dad tried ballet and tap at an early age and all I did was pout when I had to go to practice or my one recital. It was just not for me. I have been playing sports since I was four years old. I started playing soccer with the YMCA for a year, then onto Bonita AYSO for two years and then I went onto club. I played club for the Chula Vista Rangers, Coronado, Bonita Rebels and Chula Vista Pumas. There were years that I played in my own age group and then multiple years that I played up a year or two and was the baby on the team. On top of that, I played indoor soccer for the Chula Vista Parks and Recreation Department and also basketball.

SN: What got you interested in playing sports and what do you feel you get out of it?
AK: In my family there is a history of athletes on both sides who have ultimately given me the aspiration to become like them and accomplish my goals. My great grandfather Ellsworth ran track in high school and also in college for BYU. He is in BYU’s Hall of Fame. He was named fifth-fastest man in the United States almost made an appearance in the Olympics. But because of a leg injury he declined. My uncle also ran track following in the footsteps of my great grandfather throughout high school.

On the other side of my family, my dad was a varsity water polo player as well as a varsity swimmer while in high school year, which contributed to my athletic abilities. This is where I found my desire to follow in my family’s history of participation in athletics from speed to my athletic knowledge. I have found my inspiration to become an athlete and participate in sports to the best of my ability, achieving goals one step at a time from my family members, who support me in all that I do that I look up to.

Without sports I do not know what I would be doing. Sports are what I am all about and it gives me the opportunity to take part on teams and learn to work together to accomplish an overall goal from winning the game to making the passes connect. In the different sports I have also got out of them the sportsmanship that I have taken with me so far through high school and hopefully into college as well. Most of all, I feel that playing sports has given me the chance to make long lasting friendships from recreational soccer to high school varsity sports that I hope to keep forever and continue to make new ones each time.

SN: What are your career goals and how might sports might tie into that, especially at the college level?
AK: I am looking to attend a four-year university with the opportunity to double major. I would like to become an elementary school teacher and also major in sports medicine. Many laugh when they hear what I am planning to major in. They tell me that they are not even close as majors. They tell me that being a teacher is a low paying job and that there are not many positions. But there is reason to my madness: by being an elementary teacher, I would like to give back to the youth by showing students that life is not all about the latest video game, television, Facebook or junk food.

I see and read about so many of the elementary school students that are struggling as they go from grade to grade and then onto middle and high school. I want to be the one who can make the difference by starting at the elementary school level. I had many teachers who inspired me and I want to be one of the people who students look up to and remember in the years to follow. I believe that anyone can make a difference in a child’s life. I want to encourage students to get out and do something, not become couch potatoes. No matter what, they can be something. I want to encourage them to reach for the stars.
Now you ask where does sports medicine come into play in all of this? My goal is to give back to the community that I grew up in. I want to be a high school coach of most likely field hockey, soccer or even track. Also, I want to start a feeder program down here in the South Bay for field hockey, working with fifth and sixth graders and middle school students so that the high school teams have a foundation to work with once those students are in high school. I have already had a couple of people come up to me when they heard what I want to do, offering to help. I feel that a background in sports medicine will help me with training sessions and injuries and the whole picture of what happens to the human body and sports.

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