Bettendorf's boys track program enjoyed a banner spring, winning the Mississippi Athletic Conference meet and finishing ninth at the state meet in May.

The growth of the program continued into Thursday night as the Bulldogs won the Genesis Orthopedic Hospital Brady Street Sprints, the annual opening event of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 road race.

"No one really believed in us when (head coach Dave Terronez) took over the program, and now we're just building to the top," senior-to-be Austin Kalar said. "We're almost there."

It's the first win for the Bulldogs in the event since 2012, while Pleasant Valley edged Davenport Assumption and Rock Island to win the girls relay for the first time since 2015. 

The Bulldogs — with Austin Kalar, Mason Morris, Leo Desequeira and Damari Nicholson — led the whole race, but it still came down to the wire in the closing 100 meters as Nicholson had to fend off Rock Island's Courtney Lindsey.

Lindsey finished second in the 100 and 200 at the Illinois state meet last spring and used his speed to run the Rocks to a photo-finish win over North at the Sprints last year.

This time, Nicholson held him off. The Bulldogs won in 50 seconds while the Rocks finished in 50.20.

"Just run, don't look back and carry my team to a victory," said Nicholson, confident enough in his victory he started celebrating before breaking the tape. "As I was getting closer to the ribbon, I just felt like I was there and nobody was behind me. I had to represent my school and my team."

The girls race also featured some firepower as Pleasant Valley's Amaria Kirby held off Assumption sprinter Carly King in the final 100 to carry the Spartans across the finish line in 57.74, ahead of Assumption, which finished in 58.40, and Rock Island's time of 58.71.

Kirby won the 100 in the MAC meet while King finished first in the 200, but with King just missing out on the 3A triple crown at state — winning the 400 and finishing second in the 100 and 200 — Kirby knew she'd have a battle at the finish.

"I felt like I could hear her," Kirby said. "My team does all this hard work, and I can not lose this, I can not get caught. I tripped a little bit, but whatever."

The Spartan quartet — Kirby, Harmony Creasy, Adrea Arthofer and Kira Arthofer — won the 800 relay and finished fourth in the 400 relay at the state meet and kept that competitive fire going for another two months.

"All of us tried to stay in shape throughout the year," Kira said. "We knew this was coming, we were really looking forward to it, especially with (Kirby and myself) being seniors, it being our last little punch with this kind of relay because we had so much fun during the season."

It's the last race together as sisters for the Arthofers, who have made their mark on the track and basketball court for PV, as Kira is headed to play basketball at Eastern Illinois University.

"It's kind of bittersweet," said Adrea, who's entering her senior year at PV. "It's nice to end on this win, such a high note, but at the same time, she's my sister so it's going to be weird now, experiencing things without her."

The Whitey's Ice Cream "Shake it Up" team of Michael Anfinson, Katie Platt, Keith Picolet and Andrew Wright won the sponsor relay for the second straight year, and third in the last four, with time of 53.72, beating Arconic Aluminators and Mel Foster Co.

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