After missing the 2020 track and field season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton junior Keegan Fogarty was itching to get back on the track this spring.
“Not being able to compete last year, I think it made everybody a little more competitive this year,” Fogarty said. “We were antsy and ready to get out there and perform well.”
For Fogarty, that led to a career season.
He was the only area athlete to compete in four events at the Class 2A state meet and bring home two medals.
“He’s happy when he sets a mark, but then he’s on to the next thing. I think that shows his competitiveness.”— Princeton track and field coach Dan Foes
Fogarty placed ninth in the 200-meter dash with a personal best time of 22.67 and anchored the Tigers’ 800 relay to an eighth-place finish (1:30.98).
He also finished 14th in the 100 (11.16) and helped the 400 relay to 13th (43.52).
Fogarty helped the Tigers to team success as well, as they claimed their first 2A sectional championship – and first sectional title in 10 years – and won their second consecutive Three Rivers Conference title.
For all he accomplished this season, Fogarty is the 2021 NewsTribune Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“I felt really good this year,” Fogarty said. “It was the best year I ever had by a long shot in any sport. It was just a really good year in general.”
Princeton coach Dan Foes expected Fogarty to be a valuable runner for the Tigers this season.
“He was definitely a consistent runner for us throughout the season,” Foes said. “He’s been developing. We were excited to see him during 2020, but obviously that didn’t materialize. Coming back this year, it was just tremendous to watch how he developed. We had a good sprinting core. He had a lot of teammates who certainly pushed him, but he was competitive and wanted to always be the best he could be.”
Fogarty has pushed himself to improve throughout his high school career and his times have dropped dramatically.
As a freshman, Fogarty’s best times were 11.86 in the 100 and 24.58 in the 200. His best times this year were 11.14, almost three quarters of a second better, and 22.67, nearly two seconds faster.
“He wants to continue to improve,” Foes said. “He really concentrates extremely hard in practice to improve on things he knows he needs to improve on. He’s always been that way. He’ll set a personal best, then he’ll want to break that mark. That’s what’s wonderful about him. He’s happy when he sets a mark, but then he’s on to the next thing. I think that shows his competitiveness.”
This season, Fogarty concentrated on improving his block starts.
“I just learned different techniques,” Fogarty said. “I worked with my coaches [Foes and assistant Rob Jensen] and my parents with it. It’s a lot of putting in work. That’s really all it takes sometimes.”
His parents, Brian Fogarty and Christina Burch, who both ran in high school and have competed regularly in area 5Ks, have played key roles in his career as they got him involved in running at a young age and still offer advice and support.
“My dad gave me a lot of pointers and showed me a lot of different videos to watch [on block starts],” Fogarty said. “He showed me a lot of things to do. He would [video record] my starts and show me what I could do to fix them.”
Fogarty plans to keep working and has his sights set on more success as a senior.
“I’d really love to break the school record for the 200 next year,” Fogarty said. “It’ll take a lot of practice, but I hope to do it.”