DES MOINES — Before running in her fourth state track and field meet Thursday, Prairie City-Monroe senior Jayci Vos gave a social media tribute to a long-time neighbor.
Abi Teeter battles cystic fibrosis every day. May is cystic fibrosis month. Vos and her teammates are running for Abi and the Teeter family.
Vos collected the fourth medal of her high school career Thursday when the Mustangs’ 4x800 relay team finished seventh.
Vos opened with a 2 minute, 23 second split, and her trio of teammates did the rest as Vos, sophomores Paytan Schut and Kirsten and senior Rachel Stafford set a new school record with a time of 9:52.87.
Wearing purple polish on their fingers, the Mustangs brought home a medal for Abi Teeter.
“It’s the purple pointer promise,” Vos said. “I have a little neighbor girl who I have known since they moved to town, which was like when I was 2 or something. Abi is fighting something way tougher than running a race. She is who we are fighting for this weekend. It is our little village.”
Aside from the seventh-place medal in the 4x800, it was a disappointing day for the Mustangs.
Senior Noah Anderson did qualify for the final of the boys 200-meter dash, but the best finish after the 4x800 relay was Chris Ellens’ 15th-place finish in the 3,200.
Anderson, sophomore Preston Van Wyk and junior Ashley Miller all failed to make the finals of the 100. Van Wyk and Miller also came up short in the 200 prelims. The shuttle hurdle relay team did not make finals, and senior Noah Clark and sophomore Maddie Samson were 22nd and 23rd, respectively, in the boys and girls shot put.
“Mentally, I thought I was ready to go, but my speed in the ring was not where I needed it to be,” said Clark, whose best throw in the shot put was marked at 45 feet, 7 3/4 inches. “I don’t feel like I was finishing toward the front like I should.”
Of the four runners competing in the 4x800 relay, Vos came in with the most state medals. Her biggest goal Thursday was making sure her teammates got to come home with one, too.
“We had a few goals,” Vos said. “I wanted to get my teammates a medal in this event, I wanted to medal in an 800 event and we wanted to break the school record. So it was a good day.”
Vos was thrown into the relay with about three weeks to go in the season. She first joined the group at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet and her teammates quickly discovered she made the foursome better.
“I saw her first 800 in practice, and I was wondering why hasn’t she ran them before,” Stafford said. “She has been a great addition to this group, and she’s had such a great attitude about it. Most of the time, when you get pulled up to run an 800, they hate their life. But her attitude about it has been so encouraging and so helpful to the rest of us.”
It was the second career state medal for Stafford, who won her first one in the 4x400 relay as a sophomore.
“For me, it’s awesome because I only have one of those medals,” Stafford said. “We had some really good chances to get a few down here this year and to get one in the pocket in the first race is the best feeling.”
Schut had the unenviable task of running the same leg as Mid-Prairie’s Marie Hostetler, the runner-up in the 3,000 earlier in the day and the 2A girls cross country runner-up in the fall.
Schut held her own though, even passing the talented Hostetler on the corner with about 150 meters to go in her leg.
“I honestly thought I was crazy,” Schut said. “There is no way I should be able to run with this girl, but I thought I would try to pass her. She passed me back, but it felt really good to run by her.”
Schut and Ives were both a part of PCM’s 2016 4x800 state qualifying team that placed 24th. Schut made sure there wasn’t a repeat performance of that race Thursday.
“To go from what we did last year to this makes me feel really good,” Schut said. “I will never forget how bad we ran last year. The first thing I told myself today was that’s not going to happen again.”
Ives was disappointed with herself after the race. She wanted a better split, but she still did enough to allow Stafford to maintain medal position.
“I didn’t run my best, but it feels good to medal,” Ives said. “This is my favorite time of the year. It’s incredible to be a part of this event. I honestly feel like a movie star every time I step into this stadium.”
Ives and Schut now own the middle school record and high school record in the 4x800.
“We are pretty good pair,” Ives said of her and Schut. “We have always ran stuff like this together. Hopefully these records will be up there for a long time.”
Another positive for the Mustangs came from Anderson in the 200. He qualified for Saturday’s final with an eighth-place finish in the prelims with a time of 22.68 seconds. Van Wyk was 17th in the 200 prelims with a time of 23.11.
“My start was really bad in the 200. My first step was too wide so it made my second step wrong. I just came down on my heel wrong,” Anderson said. “I work on my starts, but they still have to get better. I think that’s the only thing that is stopping me right now.”
Both guys came up short in the 100 prelims. Van Wyk was 20th in 11.55, and Anderson was 23rd with a time of 11.70. It took an 11.29 to make finals.
“I love this. It’s a great place to be,” Van Wyk said. “There’s a lot of energy in this stadium. I looked up in the stands and noticed that there are a lot of people here. It’s fun down here.”
Miller also ran in the 100 and 200 prelims. She was 17th in the 100 in 13.01 and 18th in the 200 with a time of 26.84. It took a 12.90 in the 100 and 26.22 in the 200 to make finals.
Ellens finished 15th in the 3,200 with a time of 10:08.05. He tried to maintain a good pace i the race despite the leaders going out much faster than he expected.
“There was no way I could keep up with that start. I just tried to stay back and run my race. I tried not to be concerned with everyone else,” Ellens said. “I would have liked to have been top eight, but I am happy with how I ran. I haven’t been under 10:10 in awhile.”
The shuttle hurdle relay team of sophomore Megan Cowman, freshman Lexi Kuecker, sophomore Morgan Uhlenhopp and Vos placed 17th in the prelims. The foursome ran a time of 1:11.08. They needed a 1:09.50 to advance to Saturday’s final.
Clark, who competed in the discus last year, was 22nd in the boys’ shot put. His first throw was 44-0. His best toss of 45-7 3/4 came on his second attempt. He had a foul on his final try.
Samson competed at the state meet for the first time. She qualified with the 24th best throw but finished 23rd with a toss of 32-1 1/4. Her best throw this season was 34-11 3/4.
“I am super excited to be here. My goal the whole year was to get to state. I wanted to come here and PR,” Samson said. “I am upset at how I did because I know I can do better, but I also know that this was my first time and I have two more years to get better.
“I learned what this experience is like so I am hoping to go in both discus and shot put next year.”