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Boys Track and Field: Plano's Keegan Cullison hoping for big encore to breakout junior year

Returning medalist in the 100 leads strong group of Reapers' sprinters

May 25, 2019 - Charleston, IL - Plano's Keegan Cullison competes in the Class 2A 100-Meter Dash during Saturdayís State Finals. [Photo:Douglas Cottle/PhotoNews]
May 25, 2019 - Charleston, IL - Plano's Keegan Cullison competes in the Class 2A 100-Meter Dash during Saturdayís State Finals. [Photo:Douglas Cottle/PhotoNews]

Keegan Cullison had a breakout year on the track last spring.

Is he satisfied? Hardly.

Cullison, a Plano senior, said he has plenty left in the tank and is only fueled by a seventh-place finish in the 100-meter dash in 2019.

"It was OK, but it just made me want it more after that," said Cullison, committed to run collegiately at North Central. "It motivated me to work harder. I want more success. I'm not satisfied."

Cullison, also part of Plano's state-qualifying 800 relay last year, hopes a big finish is in store. The season is on hold for now with school closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but should it resume the Reapers look stacked in the sprints.

Cullison, who has run a 10.90 100, was ranked third statewide in Class 2A in the 60-meter dash during indoor season. Fellow senior Kevin Dixon, part of state-qualifying teams in the 800 and 1,600 relay was ranked first in the 60 with a time of 7.08 seconds indoors. Angel Peray was a state qualifier in the 110 high hurdles and 800 relay last year, and John Hunt was on the school record-breaking 3,200 relay last year and had already run a 2:07.1 800 this spring.

"I'm really excited to work with that group," said first-year Plano coach Andrew DeBolt, who also coaches cross country at the school. "Kevin and Keegan, especially those two are phenomenal athletes. John and McKai (Vann) are all seniors, hopefully they can get back at it."

Cullison made a meteoric rise on the track as a junior in just his second year in the sport, taking third in both sprints in the Illinois Top Times Indoor Championships, and carried it outdoors.

"I think he surprised himself even with what he was able to do," DeBolt said. "Now he has so much more confidence. That is going to help him get to the next level, maybe even a state championship."

Cullison is trying to keep himself as busy as possible during the unexpected break. He went to a gym until last Saturday, when it closed. He has some dumbbells at his house to work out, and goes to an open field to get sprints in.

"It's tough – you have to improvise," Cullison said. "I just come up with whatever I can, what I should be doing. I'm just trying to make the best of it."

DeBolt is excited about the prospects of Cullison and Dixon, should they get the opportunity.

"Kevin, he just meets the eye test," DeBolt said. "He just explodes out of the blocks. Those two are going to do great on the individual events and the relays."

Vann, who got a late start coming off basketball season, was a member of the 3,200 relay and will focus on the 400 and 800 this spring. Junior Martin Diaz ran a 4:44 1,600 this spring indoors and DeBolt thinks is poised for a breakout year, and sophomore Josh Thomas is Plano's distance specialist who ran a 10:39 3,200 indoors.

Cullison, like everybody, is hopeful that the interrupted indoor season is just the start, not the end, to track this year.

"I think we did decent, but the best was yet to come," Cullison said. "I think we were just getting started. We were really looking forward to a good season."

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