NEWTON -- A photo finish in the 400-meter hurdles allowed the Newton High girls’ track and field to pull even with PCM with only a few events left in the annual Cardinal Relays on May 4.
The Mustangs made sure even was as close as the Cardinals would get to a win.
PCM took the lead over Newton after a 2-3 finish in the 1,500-meter run and then finished off the Cardinals with a win in the 4x400 relay.
PCM won its second straight Cardinal Relays title with 170 points. Newton finished with 160 in second and a short-handed Lynnville-Sully squad finished third with 113.5 points. Colfax-Mingo was the other Jasper County team in the field and the Tigerhawks finished fourth with 96 points.
“For the second year in a row, we got to experience a win at the Cardinal Relays,” PCM coach Bridget Martin said. “It’s one of our favorite meets of the year, so it’s always fun to perform well.”
Pleasantville (58.5), Southeast Warren (52) and Melcher-Dallas (33) rounded out the eight-team field.
PCM won nine events on the night, including five relays. Newton claimed four victories but scored double points in five different events.
Lynnville-Sully had a music concert that conflicted with the Relays, which was postponed on its original date a night earlier.
The Hawks won three events, and sophomore Abby Gruver came out on top in the closest race of the night.
Colfax-Mingo did not win an event but three individuals were second and three relays finished third.
PCM senior Ashley Miller once again led the Mustangs as she was part of four wins, but junior Paytan Schut, sophomores Sierra Foster and Lexi Kuecker and freshman Margo Chipps all had a piece of three golds.
Schut has become PCM’s most versatile runner. She was part of the winning 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
“I imagined running a 200 and a 400 as a joke maybe,” Schut said. “(Coach Marin) texted me before a meet earlier this year and told me she was putting me in a 200. I was like, what? I ended up doing pretty well. Now I am running 200s, 400s and 800s.”
Miller won the 100 dash with a time of 12.92 seconds. Kuecker won the long jump with a personal-best leap of 16 feet, 1 1/2 inches.
The other two individual wins came from freshman Celeste Wagaman in the high jump and Foster in the 200.
Wagaman won the high jump with a leap of 4-10.
PCM went 1-2-3 in the 200, and Foster led the way with a personal-best time of 27.13 seconds.
Kuecker was the runner-up in 28.34 and junior Morgan Uhlenhopp finished third in a season-best time of 28.40.
Newton senior Morgann Eide won the 100 hurdles on her home track for the fourth straight season. She won the race in 16.22 seconds.
PCM junior Megan Cowman was the runner-up in a career-best time of 16.70, Uhlenhopp was fourth in a career-best time of 17.29.
The most contested race of the night was won by Gruver in the 400 hurdles.
It was a photo finish as Gruver won in 1:09.10. Newton’s Rachel Berkland was second in 1:09.11 and Chipps of PCM finished third in 1:09.13.
PCM broke its tie with Newton late in the meet after senior Baylee Smith and sophomore Klaire Jungling finished 2-3 in the 1,500.
Baylee Smith crossed the finish line in a personal-best time of 5:35.05 and Jungling was clocked at a career-best time of 5:38.84.
Hannah McCarthy finished third in the 400 with a time of 1:08.39.
PCM opened its night on the track with a win in the sprint medley and ended it with a victory in the 4x400.
“We were able to capitalize on the beautiful weather,” Martin said.
“We saw some times and distances improve. We are headed into the best part of the season, and we like the direction we are heading. We truly believe the best is yet to come.”
The Mustangs’ sprint medley relay team included Kuecker, Foster, Miller and Chipps, and they won the race in 1:55.79.
PCM’s 4x400 relay team included Miller, Hannah McCarthy, Kate McCarthy and Schut, and they finished in 4:24.39.
The Mustangs were more than 8 seconds faster than runner-up Newton.
PCM also won the 4x200, 4x800 and shuttle hurdle relay.
The Mustangs’ 4x200 relay team of Foster, Schut, Chipps and Miller won with a season-best time of 1:47.71.
The 4x800 relay team of Sayde White, Hannah McCarthy, Jungling and Schut, and that foursome finished in 10:39.85.
The shuttle hurdle relay foursome of Kuecker, Uhlenhopp, Chipps and Cowman won with a time of 1:10.35.
Newton’s distance medley relay claimed the gold medal. The Cardinals were more than 16 seconds faster than PCM’s foursome of Emma Houser, Uhlenhopp, Kate McCarthy and Baylee Smith. The Mustangs were second in 4:46.09.
PCM boys finish third at Cardinal Relays
PCM’s boys were still without senior Noah Anderson and junior Payton Strovers was not fully recovered from strep throat.
Junior Preston Van Wyk returned from his injury but admitted to still being out of shape.
All in all, it was a pretty good night for the Mustangs, who finished third in the annual Cardinal Relays on May 4.
Newton’s eight wins weren’t quite good enough to catch meet champion Roland-Story, which won the Cardinal Relays with a 155 points.
The Cardinals scored 149 points in second, PCM had 133 in third, Colfax-Mingo tallied 79 points in fourth and Pleasantville rounded out the top five with 75 points.
Lynnville-Sully, which had a few athletes missing or limited to one event because of a conflicting band concert, scored 73 points in sixth. Melcher-Dallas was seventh with 36 points and Southeast Warren completed the eight-team field with 22 points.
The Mustangsl won a pair of relays and freshman Beau Webb claimed a win in the mile.
“We’re trying to get back in the swing of things,” PCM coach Collin Harrison said. “We moved some guys around tonight. We wanted to see what we have in other spots as we get closer to state qualifying.”
PCM’s lone individual win came from Webb in the 1,600. He won the race in 4:53.96.
In the 100, Newton’s Matthew Yeager won with a personal-best time of 10.92 seconds. Van Wyk was the runner-up in 11.28.
Nigel Sperfslage and Wes Cummings were 2-3 in the 400 hurdles, finishing in 1:01.31 and 1:03.46, respectively.
Strovers was the runner-up in the long jump. He took the silver medal with a leap of 19-11. Isaac Telfer finished third with a personal-best heave of 46-0 1/2.
PCM’s relay wins came in the sprint medley and distance medley.
The sprint medley team of Cummings, Bennett, Jacob Van Winkle and senior Blake Lee won the race in 1:41.06. Lee’s big kick in the final 100 meters was enough to push Newton to second. The Cardinals’ foursome finished in 1:42.12.
PCM’s distance medley relay team of Jarron Trausch, Van Winkle, Lee and Webb won the race in 3:55.48.
PCM’s 4x200 relay finished in second.
The foursome of Cummings, junior Brayton Van Dyke, Strovers and Van Wyk grabbed the silver medal despite a botched hand off. They finished in 1:34.80.
The Mustangs’ 4x100 relay included Van Dyke, Strovers, Bennett and Van Wyk, and that foursome finished in 45.12.
Van Wyk was running in a full slate of four events for the first time in a few weeks. Now he can’t wait to get his running mate, Anderson, back on the track.
“I feel sore, but I am all right,” Van Wyk said. “It stinks not running for a week and a half. I can tell I am out of shape. It felt good to get back to running. I couldn’t even jog a warmup lap in practice. So I have a week to get back to my best.”
PCM’s 4x400 relay was third, and that foursome of Lee, Noah Hirayama, Bennett and Cummings finished in 3:42.15.
PCM’s shuttle hurdle relay team was third. The foursome of Buswell, Nick Dredge, Sperfslage and Trausch finished the race in 1:04.34.
“We are trying to get our ducks in a row before state qualifying,” Harrison said. “This is the last full meet before that meet. We are figuring out our alternates, too. That’s important, especially since we’ve had a few guys hurt.”
PCM competed on May 7 in Pella. The Mustangs take part in a Class 2A state qualifier at 4 p.m. on May 10 in Eddyville.