DAVENPORT -- After witnessing his teammates regularly drop time throughout the afternoon at Thursday’s Jesse Day Relays, Muscatine’s Tyler Olson made certain he didn’t get left out of the action.
Competing on easily the warmest day of the outdoor track season with temperatures reaching above 70, Olson not only dropped his own time but clocked the fastest mark in the state in the 800-meter run at Brady Street Stadium in Davenport.
The senior distance runner is a perfect three for three in his 800 title pursuit this season, with the latest arriving in 1:57.85 and helping his team to a sixth-place finish in the team standings with 56 points. The Muscatine girls track team placed seventh overall with 48 points.
“I knew I had to get out and get a good first lap in, and I think that’s what I did,” Olson said. “I think I was around 56 (seconds), which was pretty good. … I wanted to keep my time down on that third 200. It’s a really important part of the race. It’s just maintaining your speed and then getting to the finish.”
Olson had experienced hip tightness after last week’s Dunsworth Invite, causing reason for concern as he works to cement an invitation to the Drake Relays.
“I’ve rolled it out and stretched a lot, and it’s gotten a lot better,” Olson said. “I didn’t feel it during that race. I’m really looking forward to Drake. I think my time from tonight should get me in.
“I still think I have improvement to make if I want to compete well and do well at Drake and reach my goals, but I think I’m on the right track.”
Muscatine’s distance medley relay consisting of Tim Nimely, Eli Gaye, Zach Hardy and Tevin Tovar added a runner-up finish in 3:52.14, shaving nearly five seconds off of its seed time. Owen Hazelwood also finished second in the 400 dash in a season-best 52.34 before taking bronze in the 200 in 23.61, another season best.
The Muskie boys closed the meet on a strong note by edging Davenport West by .06 seconds for second place in the 1,600 relay in 3:30.02.
“Obviously the weather just being a little bit warmer probably has something to do with (the season bests) and being this far into the season, times are just going to keep on getting better,” Muscatine boys coach Mark Rusch said. “A lot of (personal records) today and that’s what we ask every time out, that we just keep on improving every single day.”
The Muskie girls were led by a trio of bronze performances in the 400, 800 and 3,200 relay.
Freshman Hallie Hanssen cut over three seconds off of her previous best time in the 400, finishing third in 1:04.36. Senior Moriah Morter placed third in the 800 in 2:28.89 and led off for the 3,200 relay that clocked in at 10:16.93 and included Emma Maynard, Emmie Smith and Lauren Dirth.
Rylee Blake (3,000), Lauren Dirth (400 hurdles) and Muscatine’s distance medley relay all placed fourth, while Emma Maynard (1,500) and Maddie Beik (high jump) both finished fifth.
The Muskie girls concluded the meet with a seventh-place finish in the 1,600 relay.
“A lot of our times we maintained or brought down, so that’s encouraging,” Muscatine girls coach Tim Armstrong said. “We go to (Iowa City High) next week, so hopefully we’ll have another decent day. That’s the last time you can run a qualifying time or achieve a qualifying distance for Drake.”
Bettendorf won the boys team title with 143.25 points, while Pleasant Valley won the girls title with 169 points.