DES MOINES, Iowa — Brittni Lloyd, Emilee Meyer, Larkin Chapman and Brina Kraft had a short discussion Friday morning about what they could achieve in the distance medley relay later that day at the Class 4A Iowa coed state high school track and field meet.
It would be the first time the four Muskies ran the event together, but they all had the same goal after quickly crunching the numbers: They were going to break the 28-year old school record of 4 minutes, 11.97 seconds set in 1987 by Molly McAreavy, Barbara Cole, Annie Hanifan and Tami Hoskins.
Kraft ran the final leg and crossed the finish line in 4:07.99 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, well ahead of the old record. That didn't surprise them.
That the time was good enough for a fourth-place finish was unexpected.
“We knew we were going to do very well, but we didn’t expect this much,” Chapman said. “Fourth place at state, that’s really good considering us four have never ran together as at team."
Linn-Mar won the event in 4:04.47, but Muskies had the fastest time after the first two heats.
With the fourth-place finish in the event, Muscatine now sits in fifth place in the team standings after Day 2 with 22 points.
They Muskies qualified for the distance medley in 4:20.25, the team’s previous season-best time. Changes were made to the relay heading to state, though, with Meyer moving to run the 200 leg instead of the 400 and Chapman running the 400.
In their new positions in the lineup, the quartet figured out the times they had to run in order to break the school record.
“I know I had to strive to get to a 27-(second split) because I wanted a good lead for our team,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd and Meyer combined for a 53-second split on the first two legs.
“I knew I had to keep up with the rest of the pack in order for us to have a fair shot at competing well and getting our best time of the season,” Meyer said.
Chapman was coming off Thursday's second-place finish in the 400-meter dash in 56.87. She ran her 400 leg Friday in 56.20.
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“Fifty-six (seconds) was my number, so I was just trying to get that,” Chapman said. “The fact that I ran faster today than yesterday is a good sign that yesterday just may have been a fluke and that I am as fast as I think I can be.”
Kraft ran the final 800-meter leg and held off Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Meredith Koenigsfeld down the back stretch to earn the heat victory and set up their overall finish.
Her split in the 800 leg was a new personal-best time of 2:17.
“I just wanted to get a 2:20 or 2:19,” Kraft said. “… The pace was going too slow and I just sped it up a bit. I surprised myself a bit.”
The record-breaking experience was especially meaningful to Meyer, the lone senior on the relay.
“My last time on the blue oval was a great experience and to be able to place made it even sweeter,” Meyer said. “It’s been amazing to be able to compete with these girls for the last time.”
The Muscatine boys distance medley relay team of Eric Heckman, David Summers, Alphonso Soko and Brady Eversmeyer, meanwhile, ran a season-best time of their own, 3:36.82, to finish 14th.
“We feel pretty good as a team,” Heckman said. “The goal was for me and David to get the baton to Alphonso in 47 seconds and I think we did that. Alphonso and Brady ran really well.”
The group was hoping to place, but is happy with the PR.
"The times were planned out," Heckman said. "But I think we ran really well as a team and we did really well. I am really proud of my team."
In other Muscatine action Friday:
- Isaac Schroeder finished 12th in the 110-meter hurdle prelims in 15.30.
- The Muscatine girls 4x100 meter relay team of Jescie Brauns, Allison Olswold, Lloyd and Regan France was 19th in the prelims in 52.40.
- The Muscatine boys 4x400 meter relay team of Soko, Heckman, Peyton Wassenhove and Spencer Beatty finished 24th in 3:30.93.