ELDRIDGE — When Pleasant Valley’s Maddy Minard squeaked by Bettendorf’s Hannah Beintema in the 1,500 Thursday night, it told a bigger story.
On a night when the Spartans and Bulldogs were neck-and-neck for the Mississippi Athletic Conference title, PV had a bit more in the tank.
And for the fifth straight time and ninth in the last 10 years, the Spartans showed once again that they’re not ready to relinquish their decade-long conference throne.
Ignited by eight victories, Pleasant Valley tallied 192 points to claim another MAC title at North Scott High School. The Bulldogs placed second with 172 points while Assumption (96), North Scott (63) and Davenport Central (56) rounded out the top-five.
“It’s all about team,” Spartans co-head coach Kenny Wheeler said. “To see it continue from year-to-year says a lot about our kids wanting to hold the tradition. It’s fun.”
Minard’s win sealed the deal, and when the final results were announced, PV cheered and jumped in the middle of the football field.
“I went into that race as we can get a lot of team points to boost our score,” Minard said. “We were so close with Bettendorf.”
Wheeler pointed to a pair of events that turned the tables for the Spartans: Harmony Creasy and Carli Spelhaug finishing 1-2 in the long jump and sophomore Kora Ruff, out of the second of three heats, placing fourth in the 200 dash.
“Those events were at different parts of the meet,” Wheeler said. “Those events where we can get some surprises and place 1-2 in the long jump is certainly huge. They’re athletes we know are capable of doing that.”
Creasy jumped farther than Bettendorf’s Erin McQuillen last week at Drake and felt like she could duplicate the feat.
Leaping 17 feet, 3 ½ inches, the sophomore did just that.
“She’s definitely inspired me to do better,” Creasy said. “We always go back and forth.”
Minard matched her lifetime best time in the 1,500 in 5 minutes, 1.67 seconds. On the last lap, the senior was passed by Assumption’s Taylor Quick, and with 300 meters to go, Minard made her move.
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In the final 100 meters, she held off the last minute charge by Beinteman.
“You gotta go now or you’re not gonna go later type thing,” Minard said. “Being able to go out and compete so close with everyone, we haven’t done that in a long time so it was super awesome.”
Mallory Lafever grabbed a new season best time of 10:50.40 in the 3,000 run, defeating her previous best time by 21 seconds.
Lafever hadn’t run well in the 3,000 prior to Thursday.
“Everything seemed to click,” she said. “At the back stretch with about 600 to go, I decided I was feeling good and ready to push.”
Ilah Perez-Johnson swept the throws, Sara Hoskins won the high jump, Sophie Curtis grabbed the 100 hurdles and the 400 relay of Spelhaug, Morgan Ramirez, Adrea Arthofer and Creasy ran a lifetime best 48.97 seconds.
Bettendorf freshman Sarah DeFauw ran a career best 2:25.38 to win the 800 and the shuttle hurdle relay triumphed while also dropping two seconds off their season’s best.
“That was exciting. A freshman that is just learning how to run the 800 this year, that was truly a fun race to watch,” Bulldogs head coach Erin Flynn said. “She ran a good tactical race.”
McQuillen (400) as well as the 800 and 3,200 relays also won conference titles. Flynn believes her team is rounding into form at the right time.
“We had a good combination of young talent and veteran talent,” she said. “Little more depth in some events and we’re there. We want to go down and make a little bit of noise (at state).”
Amaya Jackson took first in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, and the Knights snared titles in the sprint medley, distance medley and 1,600 relays.
The decisions for next week, however, became even tougher for Assumption head coach Tim O’Neill.
“We had some kids that we needed battle tested today, and they stepped up to the challenge,” he said. “Now we got some little bit tougher decisions than we thought we would.”
Muscatine’s Lauren Dirth won the 400 hurdles in a season-best time of 1:10.32 out of lane two.
“It was a little bit of a surprise, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Dirth said. “That (low 1:10) would be right on the line of going into state, so I feel confident I can do that or better next time.”