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Teams, individuals to watch
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Teams, individuals to watch

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Pleasant Valley’s Kole Sommer runs through a wooded area during the Class 4A state-qualifying cross country meet at Crow Creek Park last year. Sommer is one of two varsity starters returning for the Spartans.

Boys teams to watch

Bettendorf: The Bulldogs aren't state-ranked to start the year, but they were second at last year's Mississippi Athletic Conference meet and their freshman-sophomore team claimed the league title. Seniors Nick Moore (seventh at MAC) and Layton Pribyl (13th at MAC) are back to lead the way along with senior Carter Wolf. Coach Dave Terronez said the Nos. 3-10 spots on his team are separated by only 20 to 30 seconds.

Pleasant Valley: Coach Erik Belby's team lost its top five runners from last year's Class 4A state runner-up squad, but it is wise to never bet against his squad. The Spartans start the year ranked seventh in 4A, but they've finished inside the top five at state nine straight years. Senior Kole Sommer and junior Tarun Vedula are back while Belby has 11 runners vying for the other five spots (four seniors, four sophomores, two juniors and a freshman).

Girls teams to watch

Pleasant Valley: Unranked to start the season, the Spartans have plenty of motivation after missing out on the state meet last year and having the track season canceled because of COVID-19. Coach Jane Wheeler has a quartet of sophomores returning who saw varsity time in Gretchen Highberger, Lydia Sommer, Bella D'Antico and Khushi Mehta. Josie Case and Lexi Minard are freshmen with a chance to make an impact.

Girls individuals to watch

Hannah Beintema, jr., Bettendorf: The defending MAC champion, she placed fourth at the state qualifier and 37th at the 4A state meet. She'll be leading a Bettendorf squad which begins the year ranked 11th. 

Sammy Foht, sr., Bettendorf: Was the MAC runner-up and placed 12th at the Crow Creek 4A state qualifier last season. She was the team's No. 2 finisher at the state meet as well. Her career-best 5K is 19:38.

— Compiled by Matt Coss

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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 19 years, the last seven at the Q-C Times.

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