Sara Hoskins and Pleasant Valley’s 1,600 relay were on the brink of qualifying for the Drake Relays.
Heading into Friday’s Spartan Invitational, Hoskins was bunched up in a group of 16 jumpers that cleared 5 feet, 2 inches while the relay had the 21st fastest time at 4:14.74.
Neither will need to sweat about heading to the blue oval.
Hoskins cleared 5-5 to hit the blue standard while the quartet of Emily Wood, Adrea Arthofer, Clare Basala and Harmony Creasy ran for the first time together to a new season best of 4:02.29 to lock down a spot at the Drake Relays in a couple of weeks.
“If we warmed up correctly and didn’t have other things going on, we could’ve gone a little faster than we did,” Creasy said.
Bettendorf senior Erin McQuillen leaped 17 feet, 10 ½ inches to claim the long jump as well as surpass the blue standard to solidify her spot in Des Moines.
The Spartans won their home meet by amassing 166 points, followed by Bettendorf with 117. Linn-Mar (100.50), Cedar Rapids Kennedy (94) and Iowa City High (90) rounded out the top five of the eight-team meet.
“We knew once we put that group together, they could put together a pretty solid time,” PV co-head coach Kenny Wheeler said. “We certainly want to be in the mix. It’s a great step, good progress for that group.”
Hoskins writes down personal goals on her hand before every meet. She had written down to clear 5-4 for the last few meets.
Once she cleared the first hurdle, she was on to the second.
“When I went back to my mark for my first 5-5 jump, I was like, ‘Man, it would be really fun if I cleared this right now,’ and that’s what I did,” Hoskins said. “It was one of my goals coming into this season to get the blue standard for Drake.
“Getting it feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
The 1,600 relay wasn’t the only foursome Pleasant Valley received personal records from.
Stacking the sprint medley relay with Carli Spelhaug, Morgan Ramirez, Arthofer and Creasy paid off as they blitzed through Spartan Stadium in 1:50.82. The 3,200 relay ran a 23-second personal best to capture the event in 9:47.82, and the shuttle hurdle relay placed second in 1:08.80.
All six relays, barring faster times from the rest of the state, are in the top 10.
“Drake, for us, we want to get as many as we can, but it’s obviously not the end goal,” senior Maddy Minard said. “It’s just an extra bonus if we can get all the relays in.”
Wheeler was pleasantly surprised about the time run by his shuttle hurdle quartet of Wood, Paige Berst, Lexi Morel and Sophie Curtis.
“We haven’t been as sharp as I thought we could be, especially on our exchanges and some technical things we needed to clean up,” he said.
Basala (400 low hurdles) was the other winner for the Spartans.
McQuillen came away from the North Scott Invite disappointed she missed the blue standard by ½ inch. It motivated her to perform better.
“I was feeling pretty good and just trying to stay optimistic,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what I would jump today. I knew I wanted to hit the blue standard.”
The Bulldogs grabbed a meet record in the distance medley relay with a time of 4:26.18 and saw Jaeda Bowling win the 100 high hurdles in 16.55 seconds.
Friday felt like a preview of what may come at the Mississippi Athletic Conference meet between the two rivals. The runners felt that way, too.
“We know how strong we are, we know what we can accomplish,” Minard said. “We have a chance to compete with Bettendorf. It’s really exciting that we’re so close and so competitive with them.”