Try 1 month for 99¢

DES MOINES — Amaria Kirby was running in junior varsity meets for Pleasant Valley’s track and field squad three years ago when the Spartans hoisted the Class 4A team championship.

Kirby, in her final high school meet, got to experience that championship feeling Friday morning at Drake Stadium.

Teamed with sisters Kira and Adrea Arthofer and Harmony Creasy, PV shattered its school record and claimed its first 800 relay state title in 28 years in 1 minute, 41.28 seconds.

“This is one of the best days of my life,” Kirby said. “I wasn’t even on varsity my freshman year, so to reach this point and win a state championship my last year means so much to me.”

PV came in as the top seed and lived up to it.

Creasy, a freshman, staved off Waukee 200 standout Elma Vojic on the anchor leg for the win by nearly six-tenths of a second.

Besides a school record, the 1:41.28 is 12th on Iowa’s all-time best list.

“We’ve wanted this for quite some time,” Kira Arthofer said. “We knew we had a chance at it. After not competing to where we wanted to be at Drake, this was our second opportunity to show out and see how fast we can be. It is awesome.”

Kira Arthofer and Kirby positioned PV well on the opening two legs. Adrea Arthofer extended the cushion for Creasy.

“I was a little bit nervous at first because Emma Vojic is a big name,” Adrea said, “but I trust my teammates. When they came around the curve, my mind just went blank. I knew we did it.”

Vojic closed the gap, but Creasy never relinquished the lead.

“We’re so close, and we do everything together,” Kirby said. “We run almost all the relays together, drilling handoffs and practicing together. We’re the best of friends, and we all wanted it for each other.”

The quartet might not be done winning.

They recorded another school record about 90 minutes later in the preliminaries of the 400 relay, clocking in at 48.10. Ankeny has the top time going into Saturday’s final in 48.01.

It will be the final race together for the Arthofer sisters.

“Being on a relay with someone you trust so much like your sister is amazing,” she said. “We’ve shared so many experiences that it almost is a calming effect out there.

“It only strengthens our bond we have with each other.”

Creasy also added a runner-up finish in the long jump.

After squeaking into the state meet on her final attempt of the regional meet, Creasy jumped a career-best 17-9 ¼ to earn her second medal of the day. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln’s Darby Thomas established an all-class state-meet record of 19-5 for the win.

“I’m just really excited,” Creasy said.

Creasy started as a high jumper in sixth grade but transitioned to long jump in seventh grade. She placed at the Drake Relays and followed with her best at the state meet.

“The last two years I couldn’t even hit the board,” Creasy said. “My coaches have really helped me to reach the board.”

PV garnered 18 points in the two events and has tallied 23.5 through 10 events to sit in fifth place. Waukee leads with 49.  

Bettendorf’s Erin McQuillen also snatched a medal in the long jump with a sixth-place finish. McQuillen, a junior, went 17-0 ½ on the second attempt in the finals.

In the shot put, Davenport Central’s Lea Grady and Cindy Gabriel-Flores finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

About 24 hours after claiming a discus title, Grady maxed out at 40-8 ½.

Grady was visibly disappointed afterward.

“Honestly, I don’t know what it was,” Grady said. 

Grady leaves Central with school records in both throwing events and four state medals.

“I’m pleased with the season,” she said. “I had a PR almost every week or every other week, and I was definitely better than last year. I believe I became better as an athlete, too.”

After not going out for track and field the past two seasons, Gabriel-Flores just started the shot put three months ago. She threw 38-9 ¾ to join Grady in the medals ceremony.

“I never thought I would go this far,” Gabriel-Flores said. “Just having a great coach and telling me all the things I did wrong and then fixing them was big.

“To be honest, I regret not going out the last two years. My throws coach was telling me to try track, and I didn’t listen. If I did, I would be a lot further than I am now.”


Sports Editor

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.