DES MOINES — Carli Spelhaug had a Drake Relays to forget in the long jump. Three jumps, three scratches. 

“I wanted to redeem myself after Drake,” she said.

The Pleasant Valley senior finished fourth Friday evening in the Class 4A state competition at Drake Stadium with a leap of 17 feet, 3 ½ inches.

Spelhaug, an Iowa State softball recruit, made the finals with three jumps over 16-7 ½. Then on her final jump of the competition, she had her best jump.

“Being a multi-sport athlete really helped,” Spelhaug said. “You have to have a quick mindset that it happened, learn from it and move on. That helped me.

“We worked really hard on getting my steps really consistent. Props to (coach) Kenny (Wheeler) for helping me with that.”

It was one of two medals for Spelhaug in about a 2-hour window.

She led off the Spartans’ third place 800 relay which included Adrea Arthofer, Morgan Ramirez and Harmony Creasy.

PV, which won the 2018 state championship in that event, ran a season-best time of 1:42.34. It was beaten out by Waukee (1:41.00) and Ames (1:42.30).

“Similar to districts, we wanted to come out hard,” Arthofer said. “If you do that and don’t win, you did what you could. We put it all out on the track and there was nothing else we really could ask for.”

Davenport Central’s Brooklyn Johnson medaled with a fifth-place showing in the long jump. The freshman tallied a jump of 17-0 ¼.

Johnson came in seeded 13th and was in the first of two flights.

“This means a lot because I’ve worked on this for a long time,” she said. “The coaches definitely have helped get me to this point. We really focused on accelerating, getting to the board faster and having more pop off the board.”

With two of the girls in front of her graduating, including three-time champion Darby Thomas of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, Johnson has her eyes on a championship next season.

“It definitely makes me want to push harder to get that first place,” Johnson said.

Bettendorf’s Erin McQuillen (long jump) and Pleasant Valley’s Ilah Perez-Johnson (shot put) each collected seventh-place medals.

The Spartans qualified for the finals in Saturday’s 400 and 1,600 relays.


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.