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Joe Wilkinson

11 Solon girls On to state

Five relays, six individuals in girls’ Class 3A track & field

MARION– “Are we in?”
As regional high school track meets close across Iowa, that question is voiced countless times by athletes and coaches, moms and dads. Many spend a restless night checking screens, wondering who made it to the state meet, beyond the automatic qualifiers. For Solon’s girls and those in 63 other Class 3A schools, only first and second place guarantee a ticket to state, May 18-20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Lady Spartans make their mark at Drake Relays

Durr third in high jump, 4x4 breaks school record again

DES MOINES– Weather and track conditions were consistent through the weekend at the Drake Relays; cold, wet and windy. Solon’s girls responded, though, with highlight performances and others which still kept them near the top of the state’s high school track finishes, as they now head into their 2017 homestretch.
Drake is a late-season pause in the high school regular season. Top Iowa high school track and field performances share the limelight with regional and national college/university competition, special international elite events and Olympic rematches.

On to Drake for Solon girls

SOLON– Was it the shoes?
Solon sophomore Abby Smith was doing okay early this season in the high jump, clearing 4-10, 5 foot once, and picking up a couple points in the event for her team.
Add a new pair of jumping shoes, though, and she’s scaling new heights.
At Solon’s April 18 Denny Gruber Coed Relays track meet, she laced up her new footwear and cleared 5-4.
That was good for third place at the meet named for her grandfather, a former head track coach at Solon, who still volunteers as the school’s– and Abby’s– jumps coach.

Girls second at Williamsburg, CCA

TIFFIN– The points came all through the lineup as Solon finished second in the Creek Classic girls’ track meet April 7 in Tiffin. The Spartans scored in 15 of 19 events, with three relay titles and a pair of individual event wins. “Solid; not spectacular,” summarized coach Brent Sands. “We had some pretty low times. We’re still not where we want to be.”

Josie Durr sets new school high jump record

Girls head outdoors

MT. VERNON– As their outdoor season kicks off, Solon’s Lady Spartans have a few strengths identified; yet know there is plenty yet to develop.
“For those first few indoor meets, most schools have girls missing; spring break or not ready (to step into competition) yet,” noted Solon girls coach Brent Sands. “We– and they– might have half a team, and don’t have the combinations together.”
Solon’s first taste of the great outdoors was set for Tuesday at Tipton. This Saturday, they will be at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.

Waterfowlers honor missing friend, hunter

Solon waterfowlers hold autumn hunt in memory of Tanner Wymer

SOLON– A clear day, light southeast wind; with temperatures in the low 50s. It would be a great morning for a mid-autumn walk. Not so much for attracting geese to a picked corn field.
A small flock had worked the 30 decoys dotting the corn stubble west of nine layout blinds just outside Solon Oct. 23.
“Two geese were close enough for a shot, but we held up, thinking the group might circle once more,” explained Colton Dall.
It did not. Still, it was not a washout. A couple hunters worked a wooded creek, about 70 yards away, dropping a duck.

Shafer leads Solon girls to 15th place at state cross country meet

FORT DODGE– Solon’s girls showed they were up to the challenge with a 15th place showing in the 2016 Class 3A state cross country meet Oct. 29 in Fort Dodge.
Though ‘last’ in that championship field, they outpointed every 3A team sitting at home for the day. Their finish matched a slow, steady improvement from middle of the pack showings early in the season to conference and district meet runner-up finishes and a No. 14 ranking from the Iowa Association of Track Coaches heading into state.

XC Girls on to state

Justus just misses qualifying for boys

“I’m so excited for the kids.”
– Solon coach Emy Williams.
“We wanted to do it for Emy.”

–Solon runner Erin Kerkhoff.

SOLON– When both parties are that excited, something good has to happen. As results went up near the finish line of the Oct. 20 Class 3A state-qualifying cross country meet, it became official. Solon’s girls will be in the starting box at the 2016 state meet.

Lady Spartans race into postseason

Cross country girls second at North Linn, champs at IMS

TROY MILLS– Heading into conference and postseason cross country meets, Solon’s girls are ‘packing it in’... in a good way. All five scoring runners were within 27 seconds of each other at the finish line as the Lady Spartans captured runner-up honors in the 19-team North Linn Invitational, Oct. 8.
That builds momentum as the starter’s pistol cracks Thursday, at home for the WaMaC Conference Meet at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area, and a week later, again on their home course, for the state qualifying meet.

Crowds build as cross country season hits final stretch

Spartans 20th overall at North Linn, fourth at IMS

TROY MILLS– Expect a crowd at North Linn every year.
The October cross country meet features hundreds of runners– 25 schools provide entries on the boys side, with 22 represented in the girls competition. And there are just as many fans packed around the course, threading around and through the rural Troy Mills athletic fields, school buildings and woods.
“The crowd is crazy; people yelling. There is some pushing as the pack tries to get sorted out; to try to stay ahead of somebody,” recalled Solon sophomore Jorel Justus of his first trip around the course.

Pack taking shape as cross country hits midseason

Girls fourth, boys ninth at Solon invite

SOLON– Packs can be good in cross country. “It’s a sport where you are out there, running by yourself for 20-some minutes. You want to get up with someone you know; to push each other… to keep going. Then, it’s all about the team,” explained Solon Head Coach Emy Williams.

Girls fourth, boys ninth at Bob Brown Invitational

Nicol, Smith pace Solon cross country teams

IOWA CITY– Mild weather and a mostly flat course made for good meet conditions Sept. 1, and Solon cross country runners responded with better times, and better contact with teammates while on the run, at the Bob Brown Invitational at Kicker’s Soccer Park, in Iowa City.
Solon’s boys finished ninth in their 12 team field. The girls were fourth, with nine full teams fielded.