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Clean sweep

Solon XC boys, girls and JV all win at Tipton
Taking the lead early, Kiersten Conway made it last through the 5-kilometer girls varsity race, at Tipton City Park on Sept. 8. Conway led a grouping of Lady Spartans, as they swept the girls varsity and JV races. Just for good measure, Solon’s middle school girls won their race, as well.

TIPTON– The cold and rain were certainly not welcome, but the results made it worth the soggy wait for Solon runners and fans at the Tipton Invitational Cross Country Meet Sept. 8.
Solon came home with wins in not only the varsity girls’ and boys’ race, but both junior varsity (JV) events, as well.
The coaches call that hard work and reaching a goal.
“We went into the Tipton meet, knowing we’d been close to some of the teams… but hadn’t beaten all of them,” outlined Solon Coach Emy Williams. “That was our goal. It was possible but we would have to run our best race. Every single kid last night put together their best race of this season.”
The meet was in the same place, Tipton City Park, but over a different course. A bit shorter? Probably, although coaches adjusting last year’s performances to this year’s found most runners still had better times… many by a minute or two.

Girls win big
Kiersten Conway led the pack across the 5-kilometer course in the girls’ varsity race from the gun to the finish line. Her 19:32 was a four-second gap over Annalee Bartles of Iowa City Regina. Conway, ranked 24th this week in Class 3A, had plenty of help from her teammates. Ranked seventh this week in the Iowa coaches’ poll, Solon’s varsity seven crowded into the top 17 spots; with Emma Bock fifth (20:24), Gracie Federspiel sixth (20:30), Meghan O’Neill seventh (20:33) and Anna Quillin 10th (20:50). Backing them were Mary Fiala (11th, 20:54) and Kaia Holtkamp (17th, 21:31) in the 66-girl field.
Williams liked what she saw.
“Emma had a stronger race, and then Kiersten, with the win, that was just exciting for her to go out and do it,” commented Williams.
The view looked pretty good to O’Neill.
“It’s awesome, knowing there are teammates in front and behind you,” explained the junior. “Those in front? You always want to stay in contact with them; race up to catch them. The girls behind you? If you start to fall back, they can pull up in front and we can take turns carrying each other. There’s never a time when you don’t have somebody to help you.”
Federspiel and Quillin are freshmen. Within a half hour of their varsity race, they were along the soggy course cheering on another ninth grader, Ashlyn Williams, who ran away with first (20:57) in the junior varsity race. From there, it became the cross country equivalent of piling on. Solon’s Annika Kruse, Mara Duster, Grace Fiala, Ashley Stinocher, Kerrigan Lyons, Mia Duckett, Kayla Young and Kate Richards finished two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine. Granted, there were only three full girls’ JV teams, but seven more schools with partial teams meant 46 runners on the course. And with a perfect score, 15 points, Solon’s JV claimed the win.

Another boys race, another leader
As the starter’s gun sounded for the boys’ race, the rain was colder and the Tipton City Park turf was soggier. Still, some great times were produced, particularly with a near photo-finish for the individual championship. With his 15:32.8 finish, Class 2A’s No. 1-rated runner Brady Griebel of Bellevue edged Tipton’s No. 2 Caleb Shumacher by two-10ths of a second.
But it was a pack effort from Solon, ranked sixth in Class 3A, that brought home the team title with 54 points, undercutting Tipton’s 60. Pacing the Spartans were Tyler Bilskie (16:45), Gabe Hinman (16:53) and Brick Kabela (17:16), sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively, in the 107-runner field. Michael Yeomans (17:34) was 15th, with Ben DeValk (17:42) 16th. With Bilskie, DeValk, as well as Noelan Garbes 29th (18:13) and Gabe Yetley (35th, 18:34), the Spartans hold a solid senior core. Two-time state qualifier Hinman, a junior, is in the mix each meet. Still, early this season, freshmen Kabela and Yeomans are welcome additions to the varsity rotation.
“They’re stepping up and moving. I don’t think they’ve finished in the same order yet,” reviewed Williams.
Coming through for the boys’ JV win was junior Ty Becicka, at 18:29. From there, teammates Nate Ferguson (second, 18:42), Nolan Pauley (fourth, 18:56), Lewis Sutton (fifth, 19:05) and Josiah Hale (sixth, 19:13) locked in the 18-point total. Ensuring the top finish were Grant Knipper (seventh, 19:19) and Brad Yeomans (eighth, 19:20).
And adding to the effort, the Spartans had the ninth, 10th, and 11th spots with four more in the top 20 of the 76-runner, six-school JV field.

Girls Varsity Standings-Tipton Meet
Solon 29, Tipton 50, Iowa City Regina 84, Northeast 127, Anamosa 130, Cascade 136, Central DeWitt 174, and eight partial teams also ran.

Boys Varsity Standings-Tipton Meet
Solon 54, Tipton 60, Bellevue 122, Cascade 137, Anamosa 176, Northeast 178, Camanche 190, Calamus Wheatland, Iowa City Regina 194, Wilton Jr/Sr 283, Central DeWitt 294, Wapello Community Sch 304, Louisa Muscatine 314, Durant 367, Midland Csd 398, North Cedar 429, and one incomplete team also ran.