Pleasant Valley has been the gold standard in Mississippi Athletic Conference boys track and field for the last decade.
If April 12 was any indication of things to come, the baton might be passed across town this year.
Powered by five event wins and five second-place finishes, Bettendorf won the 83rd annual Jesse Day Relays for the first time at Brady Street Stadium with 143.25 points. PV was second in the 11-team field with 113 while Davenport West took third with 108.
“It definitely is an inspirational moment for us,” Bettendorf’s Demari Nicholson said. “We usually don’t come to meets to win but rather come to perform and do our best.
“So to come out and win is a big plus for our team and our track staff.”
Nicholson accounted for three of those wins. Besides running a season-best 54.05 in taking the 400 hurdles, he ran the 200 leg on the victorious sprint medley relay and second leg on the winning 1,600 relay.
The sprint medley relay, anchored by Darien Porter, set a new meet record in 1 minute, 31.91 seconds.
Leo Desequeira clocked a personal-best 11.05 to take the 100, and Porter ran a state-best 21.8 to capture the 200.
“Our coaches always talk about trusting the process,” Desequeira said. “That’s what we’ve been doing. We’re putting in the work from trusting that process, and we have a good team this year.
“I feel we’re going to win a lot of state titles.”
Desequeira believes Bettendorf is positioned to knock PV off its perch at the MAC meet next month.
“We’re the top dogs this year,” he said. “We run really well together and have great team chemistry.”
The Spartans had four wins in the meet.
Konnor Sommer met the Blue Standard to qualify for the Drake Relays with a winning time of 4:23.43 in the 1,600. The Spartans also received wins from Sam Hanna (discus), Gavin Smith (3,200) and the 800 relay anchored by Arthur Braden.
“I just wanted to run a fresh mile to get the Blue Standard,” Sommer said. “I felt pretty good about it even though it was pretty windy. I’m happy with my performance.”
Led by its distance crew, PV still thinks it has the pieces to maintain its MAC stranglehold.
“Our team is progressing,” Sommer said. “We’re aiming to peak at the right time. I think we’ll be in a good spot by the end of the season.”