DES MOINES — PCM girls’ track and field coach Eric Karr thought about punting on the 4x100-meter relay during the Mustangs’ final meet before the deadline expired for Drake Relays qualifying.
That’s before Sierra Foster and Paytan Schut expressed their opinions.
“Paytan and I threw a fit about it. We asked him to let us try one more time,” Foster said. “We were begging him to let us try it.”
The end result worked out for all involved as the Mustangs ran their fastest time of the year on that final cut-off Thursday and ran on the blue oval with the rest of the fastest teams in the state on April 27.
PCM’s girls foursome of Margo Chipps, Regan Freland, Schut and Foster came in with the 94th fastest qualifying time but finished 81st overall with a time of 53.05 seconds.
PCM’s boys also competed in the 4x100 relay. The Mustangs came in ranked in the 60s as far as qualifying times but ended up 41st with a season-best time of 44.85.
The team included Jacob Van Winkle, Reed Worth, Brayton Van Dyke and Payton Strovers.
“It’s a crazy experience. It was fun,” Strovers said. “I don’t get to anchor very often, so it’s cool to get to do that here. I enjoyed every minute of this.”
Of the eight Mustangs running at the Drake Relays on Saturday, four of them were competing for the first time, including Schut, Freland, Worth and Van Winkle. Only Schut had run on the blue oval before.
“It was an unbelievable experience. It’s so cool. The atmosphere is awesome,” Freland said.
And it almost didn’t happen for the girls.
“I think all of us respect Karr and his opinions, but we also like the fact that he was open to letting us have a say and give it one more try, too,” Schut said.
The PCM girls did not run their fastest time of the season, but Chipps thought the hand offs were good.
Foster was just glad to once again be part of the Drake Relays and knows her team will continue to get better as the biggest month of the season approaches.
“We did this kind of for fun. We just want to be able to be part of the Drake Relays,” Foster said. “I just think we are going to keep working hard and see what we can do on the state level later in the year.”
The top eight times in the preliminary round advance to the finals. Seven of the eight qualifiers were from Class 4A. The top 2A school was Pella Christian, which finished 29th.
The PCM boys continue to run their fastest times of the season without their fastest runner, Preston Van Wyk, who is out with an injury. That gives the foursome more confidence when he does return.
“We finally got the hand offs down,” Van Dyke said. “I hope we can do even better when Preston comes back but even without him, this group is running well. It was a good race today.”
Worth, Van Dyke and Strovers are expected to be part of the 4x100 when Van Wyk returns. Van Winkle, who is just a sophomore, will figure into the mix for the state meet somewhere though.
For now, he is enjoying filling in for the school’s fastest athlete.
“I really enjoyed it,” Van Winkle said. “It’s a good experience to run against some of the best teams in the state.”
Worth is out for track for the first time in a few years. He had hopes of running on the blue oval since late last spring. He is dual sporting with golf this year.
“It was an awesome experience. Running a PR with these guys was fun,” Worth said. “Just being down here and being a part of this was cool.”
All eight boys’ team in the finals were 4A schools. Williamsburg, a 2A school, was just outside the top eight in ninth. PCM was the sixth fastest among 2A programs.