Gazette Student Athlete Spotlight: Daniel Laden and Keely Penn

December 11, 2012  

Daniel Laden of Austin and Keely Penn of Bowie

By Patrick Olson

Daniel Laden

Holding down the important left tackle position for the Austin High football team, Daniel Laden proved extremely valuable, starting all ten games despite suffering a sprained ankle at Del Valle. The 6’7” 250 lb. lineman is now dedicated to preparing for the 2013 season with a returning quarterback, two additional veteran offensive linemen and a pair of talented running backs.

Laden attended Casis Elementary and O’Henry Middle School where he also played basketball. After arriving at Austin High, he played freshman hoops, but decided to concentrate exclusively on football as a sophomore. A victory over Anderson last year remains his favorite athletic experience as a Maroon. “We were down big at halftime,” he recalled. “We were able to come all the way back and win in the final seconds and make the playoffs.”

Earning the top academic spot in his class as a freshman is the fondest academic memory for Laden. “I didn’t know I could do that well in the classroom,” he admitted. English instructor Ms. Kelley is Daniel’s favorite teacher at Austin High. “She’s always fun to be around,” Laden added. “Her brother played left tackle for UT, and we talk football.”

Coach Mike Rosenthal has been a positive influence for Laden. “He motivates me to do my best in everything on and off the field. He’s helped me in all aspects of life.” said Laden. “We’re focused on working hard in the off-season. My goal is to step up and be a leader that our team really needs.”

Keely Penn

Having recently recorded a personal best time of 19:39 in a three-mile race at the Class 5A Region II cross country meet in Arlington, Keely Penn continues to add athletic accomplishments to her high school resume. “She is young and already shows talent,” Bowie cross-country coach Rita Gonzales said. “I can’t wait for the next two years to see her potential.”

Born in Ames, Iowa, Keely moved to Austin at an early age, and attended Baranoff Elementary before advancing to Bailey Middle School, where she also played volleyball and ran track. Upon arriving at Bowie, she played freshman volleyball, ran varsity cross-country in the fall, and track in the spring. She earned a spot on the varsity volleyball team this year as a sophomore, and played in virtually every game as an outside hitter. Competing in both sports this semester proved to be “pretty tiring” Penn admitted, after getting caught up on rest, sleeping till noon on the recent Veteran’s Day holiday.

Biology instructor Mr. James Dammann is Keely’s favorite teacher at Bowie. “He was very straight forward with the lessons and he was funny,” the runner noted. Earning high marks on a recent exam is Penn’s favorite academic accomplishment. “I was struggling in U.S. History and got a 97 on a test,” she fondly recalled.

Penn and teammates Victoria Saenz, Alisa Hoban, Marissa Flournoy and Taylor Stone helped lead the Bowie girls’ cross-country contingent to a second place finish in district behind Westlake. The crew got off to a good start with Keely finishing first on a two-mile run at a meet in Pflugerville. Bowie finished first as a team at Pflugerville, and Penn finished seventh at the district meet at Decker Lake. This spring, Keely will compete on the varsity track team, running the mile, 800 and the high jump.

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