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Joe Wilkinson

Prelude to postseason: Girls sixth at North Linn

TROY MILLS– It will take a couple leaders to push the pack as Solon’s cross country season races into the home stretch. Thursday’s WaMaC conference meet is followed by the state qualifying meet one week later.
Leading into that stretch, the Spartans are coming off the North Linn meet, with 18 (girls) and 19 (boys) full teams and several incomplete (less than five runners) squads circling the crowded Troy Mills campus. The boys were 11th, with just two top-50 runners in the crowded 1A through 3A field. The girls edged Central Clinton of DeWitt for the sixth spot.

Boys

Pumpkin picking

A midseason morale boost for Solon cross country team

SOLON– Mid-season in cross country. Each week, another meet or two. Another 200 runners. Training miles pile up. Progress? Some, but you want more. Sometimes you need to stop– and smell the pumpkins.
Well, pick them anyway.
With meets nine days apart, Solon’s boys and girls cross country team detoured from the grassy course to the pumpkin patch last week. Almost 60 bodies bent, reached, cut, pulled, dragged, tossed and loaded pumpkins on to hay wagons at the Glenn Shima farm west of Solon. The results of their work day are on display… and for sale… 2-1/2 miles west of Solon on Highway 382.

Girls take second at Williamsburg

SOLON– The mid-week pumpkin patch detour did not disrupt the schedule. There are still meets to run, as conference (Oct. 16) and districts (Oct. 23) loom ahead. Solon’s girls racked up a runner-up finish in the four-school Williamsburg invitational Sept. 29. The boys were fourth there in a five-team field.
Girls

Boys sixth, girls seventh at Anamosa Invitational

Düster places 16th, Weetman 25th in run around lake

ANAMOSA– In a rainy fall, muddy hills and low-lying prairie paths around Central Park Lake mean slippery footing for the annual Anamosa Invitational cross country race. This fall, good turf and dry hills meant great running conditions.
Solon’s boys were sixth in the 13-team competition, paced again by junior Simon Düster. The girls were seventh in a field with five ranked 3A and 2A competitors, with junior Trisha Coberly again running lead for the Lady Spartans.

Girls third, boys fifth at Benton roundhouse run

Key to success? Run with the pack

ATKINS– The pack is there. The task before Solon is to slide it up the finish list a little higher.
On their way to a third-place team finish at the Benton Cross Country Invitational Sept. 13, Solon’s girls had all five scoring runners within 16 seconds of each other. The boys pack stretched a little wider, on their way to fifth place in the nine-team Roundhouse Trail ‘Run Through the Woods’ in Atkins.

Folkerts, Coberly shoulder to shoulder

Cross country girls 4th, boys 5th at Bob Brown Classic

IOWA CITY– Heat and humidity took its toll.
Facing 90-degree late afternoon temperature, meet officials rolled back the start times and combined the fields at the Sept. 4 Bob Brown Classic in Iowa City. The mercury was closer to 80 by the 6 p.m. varsity and junior varsity girls 4 kilometer race, and when the boys stepped to the line for their combined 5k race about 35 minutes later on the University of Iowa’s Ashton Cross Country Course.

Düster paces Solon boys

Crowded field at Prairie for Cross Country opener

CEDAR RAPIDS– The first cross country meet of the season was nowhere to be, if you fear crowds. Runners from 18 schools were on the course at Prairie High School Saturday, Aug. 30.
The mix of 4A, 3A and 2A competition was a good early season test for Solon. Overall, the girls were 11th in the varsity team race, though third in the five-team Orange Division, one of three which were broken down according to school enrollments. The boys finished fifth in their six-team Orange division, 15th overall.

Gunnells wins Drake shot put crown

DES MOINES– They say to save your best for last.
Solon’s Shelby Gunnells took the old axiom literally and popped a career-best on her final throw at the 2014 Drake Relays to win the girls high school shot put competition.

Solon Girls send four to Drake Relays

Lady Spartans second at Jesse Day Relays

SOLON– Strong throws and strong sprinters boosted first and second place team finishes in two meets last week and helped send four Solon girls high school entries to the Drake Relays this week.
The Relays annually features the top college and world entries in track and field, but with an Iowa flavor. They have always included an Iowa high school program– even a grade school shuttle relay on the infield– to promote visibility of the sport over the three-day festival. Over 18,000 fans sell out Drake Stadium at $40 a ticket every ‘Relays Saturday’ for the final day of competition.

Girls win Williamsburg track meet

Lady Spartans score in all but one event

Heading toward the middle of the track season, Solon’s girls continue to rely on balanced performances throughout the lineup. However, key contributions are showing up from several freshmen and a few other new faces in the lineup.
Solon won the April 8 Williamsburg Invitational with wins in seven events, and by scoring in all but one of the 19 events.

Lady Spartans run with the big schools at J-Hawk Relays; take first at Tipton Early Bird

Strong showing

CEDAR RAPIDS– Finally. A warm day for a track meet. And with a fifth place finish in the J-Hawk Relays on Friday, April 4, the Lady Spartans showed they could run with the big girls. Of the 14 teams there, 10 were Class 4A schools; all among the 25 largest enrollments in Iowa. The other four were 3A teams, with Solon the smallest.

Early season indoor meets for girls

MOUNT VERNON– Solon’s Lady Spartans head for the great outdoors in the coming week as track moves from indoors into a chilly start for the outdoor season.
Cornell College in Mount Vernon hosted the WaMaC East division meet March 22, with the WaMaC West participants coming in on their heels in the afternoon for theirs. No scores were kept, with spring break reducing team lineups and practice availability. The meet format, though, provided competition for teams that have faced extended winter weather as the season gets underway.