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Girls runner-up at WaMaC

State qualifiers determined at May 11 meet
In mid-spin, Solon sophomore Elli Becicka prepares to hurl the discus on Thursday, April 27, at the Pacha Coed Relays, in Tiffin. Becicka took seventh at the WaMaC Super Meet May 4 with a throw of 101-10. (photo by Jeff Hess)

By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist
EPWORTH– Following a strong push for second place in the 16-team WaMaC Super Meet May 4, Solon’s girls now adjust their lineup for Thursday’s state-qualifying district meet in Marion and hope to qualify through a large contingent to the May 18-20 Class 3A state meet in Des Moines.
The WaMaC Super Meet came down to a two-team battle with Mount Vernon edging ahead over runner-up Solon, 109 to 95. The Spartans used first-place finishes in the high jump, sprint medley and 400 meters and placed in 10 of the 19 events– double places in three– to boost their standing. Benton (78) was third, followed by Center Point-Urbana (61), Western Dubuque (57.5), South Tama (50), Marion (44), Vinton-Shellsburg (41), Anamosa (39), Central DeWitt (35), Maquoketa (29), Clear Creek-Amana (28.5), Independence (25), West Delaware (13) and Dyersville Beckman (8).
“We ran good, we didn’t run great,” assessed Solon Head Coach Brent Sands. “When you run against that sort of competition, you need to run great. Our sprint medley relay ran close to their best (the first running event of the meet) and MaKayla Lindemann ran herself into the points in the 3,000 (the second running event). In only a couple events after that did we run up a place or two (better than anticipated).”
As she’s done for much of the season, senior Josie Durr staked Solon to 10 first-place points in the high jump, going 5-4. Early in the meet, Sayler McIlravy, Alexis Sands, Bryn Hanrahan and Taylor Ryan leaned to a three-10ths of a second win over Western Dubuque, going 1:52.14 over the 800 meter medley relay. A ‘first plus one’ finish came with sophomores Erin Kerkhoff winning (1:01.71) and Ryan third in (1:03.05) the 400 meters.
Bonus points came in discus, with senior Bryce Hinkel (103-2) and sophomore Ellie Becicka (101-10) each breaking the century mark to grab fifth and seventh place in the crowded, 29-girl field. In the 16-team format, points are awarded through eighth place, to recognize the additional teams and competitors.
Besides the 400 double-up, a pair of Solon places– and those points– came in the 200 (Kerkhoff, second, 26.62, and freshman Khaylor Fleck, eighth, 27.61) and the 400 hurdles (freshman Gabbi Bullard, second in 1:09.55 and junior Sophie Nicol, fourth in 1:10.65). “Sophie ran real well in the 400 hurdles; she got off a little on one, but regrouped (for one of her best times). She’ll go back after it the next time,” said Sands.
Besides Lindemann’s seventh-place finish in the grueling 3,000 meters (11:49.18), other place winners for Solon included; the 4x800 (10:15.43) quartet of Caylee Annis, Bullard, Calista Haasl and Nicol and the shuttle hurdle relay team of Sayler McIlravy, Molly Duckett, Rachael Nelson and Alexis Sands (in 1:08.41). Kerkhoff was fourth in the 100 (12.82). Jessica Heick, Fleck, Annis and Bullard were seventh in the distance medley (4:30.70). In the 4x200, Nicol, Hanrahan, sophomore Abby Smith and Duckett were seventh in 1:51.57.
Hanrahan, Duckett, Alexis Sands and Kerkhoff teamed up for a 51.55 third-place finish in the 4x100. Ryan, Smith, Annis and Nicol notched the last points of the night with fourth place in the 4x400 (4:12.05).
At districts now, the strategy changes. Instead of just scoring points, the team lineup needs to reflect how the girls would do if they would move on to state. It might mean shoring up a relay for a better chance of points there, or taking chances to spread people around. That requires study of other schools going into districts; since the lineup and alternates for state are pretty well locked in at the district level.
Entrants in the qualifier compete for one of two automatic slots for state, as well as eight at-large entries, in each event, if the finish is outside the top two.