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Pleasant Valley extends state streak to 19 with runner-up finish
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PREP BOYS CROSS COUNTRY | CLASS 4A STATE QUALIFIER

Pleasant Valley extends state streak to 19 with runner-up finish

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Nobody on the Pleasant Valley High School boys cross country team was born the last time the program failed to qualify for the state meet.

One of the state's most impressive streaks added another layer Wednesday.

Fueled by Jacob Mumey's third-place showing and top-10 performances from Luke Knepp and Matt Bender, PV secured its 19th consecutive state trip with a runner-up finish at Crow Creek Park in the Class 4A state qualifier.

"It makes me feel good," PV coach Erik Belby said. "We've got a lot of people that are all committed to the same thing. We can change some personnel, but we're still able to get the job done.

"We've got a lot of kids from our junior high program up through high school that want to come in and contribute every year."

The Spartans have dealt with more obstacles this season than in the past. Besides the turnover from graduation, injuries have set PV back.

Still, it couldn't end the streak.

Iowa City High, led by champion Ford Washburn, had five in the top seven to win with 23 points. PV was second with 58 points and Iowa City Liberty had 71 points to qualify for next week's state meet in Fort Dodge.

"City High is a great team," Mumey said. "Our goal was to advance and try and get second place. We did that perfectly."

Washburn prevailed in 16 minutes, 6 seconds and Linn-Mar's Hayden Kuhn was second in 16:20. Mumey, a junior and coming off a Mississippi Athletic Conference title, crossed in 16:28.

"My strategy was to go out, stay about five or six seconds behind those guys at the mile mark," Mumey said. "I did that really well. Every time I'd come around a turn or go down a hill, I'd see them in front of me. They were just pulling me along."

PV's Tarun Vedula, who has missed the last several weeks with injury, returned and finished 16th. He was the Spartans' fourth finisher.

"The first race is hard to come back and compete and do it on this course," Belby said. "For him to have a successful state meet, he had to come out and fight today on this course. He made a difference for us."

North Scott's Luke Crawford was 12th in 17:16 and Bettendorf's Ethan Cole placed 14th in 17:20. Both earned their first trips to state.

It was the second straight year North Scott had an individual qualifier after Owen West made it in 2020.

"I was smiling as I crossed the finish line," Crawford said. "I was so excited to have an opportunity to run at state."

Cole used a strong kick in the final mile to climb into the top 15.

"I knew it was my last chance," he said. "It was more the temporary pain versus knowing I could have made it and didn't.

"Hopefully, this is going to open a lot of doors for me."

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Sports Editor

Sports editor, with my emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 21 years, the last nine at the Q-C Times.

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