DES MOINES — Ellie Spelhaug and her teammates were surprised when Pleasant Valley’s coaches elected to keep its 400 ace out of the 1,600 relay for the postseason.

The Spartans still managed to place fourth and run nearly a season best Saturday at the Class 4A state track and field meet without senior Addie Swanson.

“Our coach said, ‘Sometimes, it is about not having your star 400 runner and just seeing what you can do without,’” Spelhaug said. “We went out and put our hearts on the line. It was amazing.”

PV, which finished eighth in the Class 4A team race with 31 points, elected to use Swanson in the 400, 400 hurdles, sprint medley and 400 relays.

Rachel Tebbe, Adrea Arthofer, Carli Spelhaug and her older sister ran a time of 4 minutes, 1.04 seconds. The relay, with Swanson, ran a season-best 4:00.90 at the Drake Relays.

Swanson anchored the sprint medley relay to third place in 1:46.99, her final high school race.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “I know it eventually will and that moment will not be a fun one.”

Swanson, headed to run at Iowa, tried to chase down Waukee’s Lily Campbell and Linn-Mar’s Payton Wensel in the final 400 meters. She hung close for about 200 before Campbell managed to pass Wensel late for the win.

“If I had to redo the race, I went with them a little too much on that backstretch,” said Swanson, who turned in a 56.7 split. “I usually like to stay more relaxed and pick it up at the 200-meter mark. I just didn’t want to risk the chance of letting them get away.”

Ellie Spelhaug added a sixth-place finish in the 100 hurdles. She broke 15 seconds twice in the past two weeks, including Friday’s preliminaries.

“I definitely figured something out in the hurdles this year,” she said. “Hopefully, I’m not injured this summer and I can continue hurdling because last year I couldn’t at all.

“That will make a big difference, especially in the back half of the 100 hurdles.”

Bettendorf earned a fifth-place medal in the sprint medley relay. Maddi Banks, Maggie Erpelding, Emma Ostrom and Alli Wroblewski crossed in 1:48.56.

The Bulldogs closed with 11 points for the week and an 18th-place finish.

“It was nice to go out with a medal for my last race,” Wroblewski said. “It is sad I won’t be competing with the girls anymore. They mean a lot to me.”

Wroblewski will continue her track career at South Dakota.

“This has been such a great experience,” she said. “I had so much fun with these girls and we improved a lot through the years.”

Muscatine’s Brina Kraft was seventh in the 1,500 in 4:48.83.


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.