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Solon girls run away with Tipton, Iowa Valley meets

Three meets in a week... a couple more this week... and invites to the Drake Relays?

Tipton Tigerette Relays
Track meets are hard to follow. Who’s ahead? How many points for that? But there was no doubt Friday the 13th at the Tigerette Relays. No two or three point victory eked out here. Solon’s margin over the 15-school field? 100.5 points. “I didn’t expect that,” admitted coach Brent Sands. “We had a hard practice Wednesday, ran a meet Thursday. We knew with all the teams coming, there would be good competition in every event. I told the girls they should rise to that challenge.”
And they did. The Spartans won 11 of the 19 events, including all four field events again, to blow away the rest of the field with 174½ points. Clear Creek-Amana, which did not send a full team, was second, with 74. A combined Northeast/East Central team marked 62. The other 12 fought over the scraps.
For the second night in a row, Kara Misel’s right arm pummeled the competition. She won the shot put (37’10½), with Shelby Gunnells right behind (36’1½), but drew a roar from the gallery on her final spin in the discus ring. OK; it was just her teammates cheering, as they watched it fly 125’9, a new personal best. Did she know it was a good toss? “I did,” acknowledged Misel; still smiling three hours later. “As soon as I let go, I knew it was going a long way. I was really excited.”
The BIG throw did not come by accident. “It started clicking the day before. After I was done throwing (at the West Branch meet), I practiced for a while. It’s my ‘power position’; keeping the discus back as I spin.”
Kelsey Cave matched her personal best, with a 5’4 winning high jump. Emily Bransky’s 16’8.75 long jump was just a few inches off her best leap. Wins came also from the 4x800 relay (10:23.94, Mallory Carr, Alex Smith, Alyssa Rickels, Molly Walkner); shuttle hurdle relay (1:09.09, Kari Vance, Jennifer Shelman, Kaitlin Knoedel, Rylee Smith); Emily Bransky, 13.10 in the 100; the 4x200 (Jess Brimeyer, Karly Kramer, Emily Ira, Bransky, 1:50.17); Smith in the 100 hurdles (a 16.57 photo finish); and Lauren Benzing in the 800 (2:22.04) and the 1500 (4:59.37).
Adding to the team push were seven double places in the 11 individual events; with efforts like Shelby Gunnell’s, whose 36’11.5 toss was right behind Misel’s; or the two-three finish from 400 sprinters Madi Shafer (1:04.52) and Haley Bell (1:05.45). Their combined second/third place outpointed Durant’s Whitney Wolf’s first place, as the team scores were tallied.
A junior varsity (JV) 4x800 win (11:00.96) from Abby Ashton, Emily Capper, Emma Rickels and Corri Goldsmith demonstrated power to spare in the middle distance events, as coaches look for help to fill out the lineup ahead of May district and state meets.
Drake Relays qualifiers should come Thursday.

Chad Gates Invitational
Entries were mixed and matched in the April 12 Chad Gates Invitational in West Branch. Trying to qualify for the Drake Relays in some events, and experimenting with changes in others, Solon’s girls took third in the six-team meet. Mount Pleasant (170 points) took the title. The host team was second (144), with Solon (126) following. Also there were City High’s JV, Lone Tree and Wilton.
Kara Misel grabbed a double-win in the throws; 112’5 in the discus and 39’6.5 in the shot. Kelsey Cave topped 5’3.25 for the high jump win. Other wins included: the 4x200 Rylee Smith, Jessica Brimeyer, Karly Kramer and Emily Bransky (1:49.11); the sprint medley with Smith, Brimeyer, Bransky and Benzing (1:56.33). Lauren Benzing sliced another 18 seconds off her 3000 time, with a runner-up finish in 10:28.73.

Ruth Ahern Invitational
Cold and wind hampered the running events, but the Spartans ran away with the meet title April 9 at Ruth Ahern Invitational in Marengo. Solon’s 207 points more than doubled runner-up Williamsburg’s 111. Center Point-Urbana (100), Vinton- Shellsburg (74), West Branch (59) Alburnett (27) and Iowa Mennonite (6) were also in the field.
Solon’s girls won 12 of the 19 events. Lauren Benzing started the blue ribbon performances with a 10:46.42 3000 meter win. “Lauren dropped nine seconds (off her season best). That was a positive sign,” noted coach Brent Sands. Benzing also won the 1500 (5:03.95). “We put together a lineup to score some points. We got an idea of what we can do; despite the conditions. Our 400 and 800 people had good times with the bad weather. We still have six or seven running close together.”
Other Spartan winners were Emily Bransky in the long jump (14’10), 100 (12.66) and 200 (26.48), and anchoring the 4x100 (52.93) relay with Rylee Smith, Karly Kramer and Jessica Brimeyer. Besides winning the 100 hurdles (16.01), Smith anchored the winning shuttle hurdle relay (1:09.56), with teammates Kari Vance, Caitlin Knoedel and Jennifer Shelman. Molly Walkner, Abby Ashton, Corri Goldsmith and Leah Adams grabbed the top spot in the 4x800 relay (10:43.12). Brimeyer, Kramer, Emily Ira and Madi Shafer claimed first in the 4x200 relay (1:53.71). Alex Smith won the 800, her 2:37.39 just besting teammate Walkner’s 2:37.64.
In the field events, Kara Misel had her best outdoor toss (39’10.25) to win the shot put. Shelby Gunnells was third with 37’1. In the discus, Kelsey Cave had a career-best (120’3) for second place. Misel was right behind with her second best throw (110’1) of the year.