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Crowded field at Prairie for Cross Country opener

Two first-year runners paced Solon’s girls at their 2014 season opener at Prairie. Senior Taylor Weetman (529) and freshman Sophie Nicol (522) were at the front of the Solon pack. (photos by Joe Wilkinson)

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.
“It is a big race and seems to get bigger each year. It lets us see different competition then we normally see. The large field gives everyone someone to run with and to push themselves,” observed head coach Emy Williams.
In addition to girls and boys varsity races, the Prairie meet features boys and girls freshman-sophomore and boys and girls junior varsity showcases; each run separately. There are even boys and girls middle school races, although Solon’s 7ith and 8th graders open their season this week.
The high school opener featured a couple of new looks for the Spartans. There were 19 runners in their first high school race. That included senior Taylor Weetman, who went from curious, first-year runner to the first-place finisher for the varsity girls. “I started to get into running on my own (in the last year), so I switched over to cross country,” explained Weetman. “I enjoyed it. It’s hard, but I like running with a bunch of people. I’m happy with my time, but hoping to get faster.”
Her 16:57 over the rolling 4 kilometer course around the Prairie school campus was eighth overall in the girls’ Orange Division. “Taylor looked good for her first ever meet,” said Williams. “She will just continue to get stronger each race as she learns more on how to run a race.”
With 78 team points, Solon was third behind Fort Madison (36), Pella (53) and ahead of Marion (82) and Cedar Rapids Xavier (90).
Running second for Solon, and in her first high school race was freshman Sophie Nicol (17:17), followed by junior Trisha Coberly (17:19) and seniors Carlyn Haas (17:27), Katie Folkerts (17:44), Molly Walkner (17:47) and Mileah Mesch (18:32)
For the boys, summer roadwork paid off for junior Simon Düster, whose 17:41 was good for 14th in the boys’ Orange Division. “Simon had a lifetime personal best time,” observed Williams. “He has been working hard this summer and running a lot of miles.”
Pella— with the second, third, fifth and eighth-place runners powering their pack, won the division crown (30 points). Marion (40) was runner up, followed by Xavier (86), Fort Madison (104), Solon (130) and Maquoketa (147).
Next across for Solon was senior Keegan Paisley (18:33, 23rd), then senior Josh Prybil (18:35, 23rd), junior Joe Regan (19:09, 26th), junior Keegan Hess (19:10, 33rd), sophomore Adam Smith (19:16, 35th) and junior Walker Sea, (20:04, 40th).