Kaley Ciluffo has turned Crow Creek Park into her personal playground.
After running to victory at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 1, the Pleasant Valley sophomore cross country runner fueled arguably the greatest team performance ever seen at a Mississippi Athletic Conference meet Thursday.
The Spartans had the top four finishers and five of the top six to finish with 16 points — just one off from a perfect score — to capture their eighth consecutive league championship.
“That was absolutely crazy,” Ciluffo said. “I really believe our depth can take us all the way to the state championship. We’re going to do it this year.”
Ciluffo, who had an injury-plagued freshman season, crossed the line in the 4,000-meter race in 14 minutes, 28 seconds — 5 seconds ahead of freshman teammate McKenzie Yanek.
Maddie Reynolds and Addie Royer were third and fourth, respectively. Bettendorf’s Mahnee Watts prevented PV’s quest for perfection with a fifth-place finish.
“I can’t believe we just did that,” Yanek said.
PV has been ranked No. 1 most of the season in Class 4A and hasn’t lost a meet to Iowa competition.
“We haven’t really run as a team the past couple of meets,” Reynolds said. “The focus today was the team and showing what we have. It is not just our number one or two girls, but we have the whole team that’s going to be number one.”
Ciluffo improved her time by 3 seconds from the season opener. She took charge of the race around the mile mark and never let off the accelerator.
“I’ve been through so much on this course,” Ciluffo said. “My first race (as a freshman) was here and it wasn’t a good season, so this course is my redemption.
“Every time I step on here, this is where I came from and what I’m doing now. I just go for it.”
Ciluffo and the Spartans return to Crow Creek Park next Thursday for the state-qualifying meet.
“We all love it here,” Reynolds said. “We run here almost every day and it honestly is just like home.
“This gives us so much confidence that we can run with the best.”
Bettendorf, which had top-10 finishes from Watts, Anna Peer (seventh) and freshman Isabella Blackman (eighth) finished second with 47 points.
Davenport Assumption, led by Liz Mallon’s ninth-place finish, took third with 65 points.