Caliyah McKeithan, a senior track star for McKinley Tech High School, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.
McKeithan was nominated for the award by McKinley Tech athletic director LaShay Wilkerson.
"I nominated her for this award because over the years, she's been a very dedicated athlete," Wilkerson said. "Her times show it. She and her sister are kind of like the highlight the girls' program. … She's just a very dedicated athlete, great grades, no type of issues that we ever have out of her. She excels academically and she also excels in track and field."
"Sometimes it's competitive if we run the same things, but if we doubt ourselves, we'll just tell each other we can do it," Caliyah said. "When we get on the track, we're not really sisters. We're competitors."
"It's like a blessing to run with my sister," Ahmya said. "She's encouraging. She's like the focus of the team. She's a really good team captain."
Caliyah McKeithan is considering attending Campbell, Georgetown and Kent State, and she'd like to pursue a pre-med or nursing track once she steps on campus. Her interest in both fields was piqued when she took a biotechnology course at McKinley.
The work McKeithan's done in the classroom at McKinley helped lead to those possibilities at the next level. Staying on course with a heavy academic and athletic workload has been a worthwhile challenge.
"To be honest, it's been very stressful because I had a lot of good times and a lot of bad times," McKeithan said. "But overall I feel like I developed more as a person, better as a person because I grew some characteristics that I don't think I would've gotten without track."
Time management skills are a must.
"I have to write stuff down, the most important things," McKeithan said. "I use my agenda book a lot, and it's a lot of time management skills. But it's just putting in the time to play and the time to work and different priorities."
When school is taxing, the track acts a stress reliever for McKeithan. The track may remain that way for her -- she wants to run indoor and outdoor track in college, too.
"I get time to put all my anger out on the track and do great things," McKeithan said.