ELDRIDGE — The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union gives out actual signs that read “ticket punched” to individuals and relays that qualify for its state tournaments.
Pleasant Valley’s girls track and field team left North Scott High School with a plethora of tickets Thursday night.
The Spartans won 13 events and had five runner-up finishes to accumulate 219 points and run away with the Class 4A state-qualifying meet.
PV is assured of at least one state qualifier in 17 of the 19 events. The shot put and 200 were the only two events it didn’t record a top-two finish.
“There is always room for us to improve, but it is just amazing we’re able to come out every day and compete the way we do,” senior Kira Arthofer said. “It is kind of hard to find that within a group, but everyone here is trying to be at their best and compete at the highest level.
“It is a great atmosphere to be around consistently.”
The Spartans had eight different girls win individual events — Sara Hoskins (high jump), Harmony Creasy (long jump), Amaria Kirby (100), Sophie Curtis (400), Ellie Spelhaug (100 hurdles), Abby Riley (800), Clare Basala (400 hurdles) and Mallory Lafever (1,500).
They also won the four sprint relays — 400, 800, 1,600 and sprint medley — along with the shuttle hurdle relay.
It should position the Spartans well to make a run at a trophy finish (top three) next week in Des Moines.
"This week, a big focus was just on sharpening our skills and getting the little things better,” Lafever said. “At state, those things can make the biggest difference.
“We’re excited about our performance tonight. There is still a lot to accomplish, and collectively we know we can achieve those goals if we work together.”
Bettendorf was second place with 172 points.
The Bulldogs received wins from the distance medley and 3,200 relays along with Trinity Borland (3,000) and Erin McQuillen (200). Bettendorf had nine runner-up finishes. All of those advance to state.
“The competition at the state meet will be harder, so we need to be a little tougher,” McQuillen said. “It will be our last meet, so we might as well give it our all.”
McQuillen finished second in the long jump, her primary event. However, she marked just one time in her six jumps, recording a 17-2 ½ on her final attempt in the preliminaries.
“I was terrified because the first two jumps were scratches,” she said. “I had to mark on that third one, and I was able to pull that out.”
Davenport Central’s Lea Grady broke her own school records in winning the discus (148-0) and shot put (44-11 ½). The senior goes to Des Moines next week as one of the favorites in both events.
“I’m in a good mindset right now,” Grady said. “I just know I have to try and be in the same mindset as today for next week.”
Grady has thrown 150 feet in the discus during practice. This was her best throw in competition by eight feet.
“It wasn’t too shocking,” she said, “but throwing 148 was pleasing because I did it while under pressure and in competition. It just shows everything I’ve worked for is helping me reach that 150 mark and possibly more.”
North Scott had automatic qualifiers in four events — Shelby Schmidt (shot put), Sydney Fuller (100), Abbi Lafrenz (800) and the sprint medley relay. Clinton’s Madison Eberhart was second in the 200 to secure a spot at the state meet.