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Spartan boys track and field team 5th in 3A qualifier

Ira 110 hurdles first, Linderbaum first in shot/third in discus, 800 sprint medley third
Solon senior Luke Ira receives the baton from senior Spencer Wegmann to start the final leg of the Class 3A 4x100-meter relay at Spartan Stadium on Thursday, May 10, during the Class 3A qualifying track meet. The team of Kendrick Harris, Adam Bock, Wegmann and Ira ran a 44.19 to finish fifth and earn the team four points. (photo by Jeff Hess)

SOLON– Coach Mark Sovers posted to Twitter on Thursday evening, May 9, a picture of the empty Spartan Stadium track’s lanes, with the sunset-illuminated school in the background, empty. The caption accompanying the picture read, “Reflecting on the incredible opportunity to coach such unselfish, relationship driven athletes. Looking forward to the best version of who we are shining through. #humble”
Spartan Stadium lights blazed on Thursday, May 10, as Solon hosted a coed Class 3A qualifying track meet.
The Spartan boys track and field team finished the meet in fifth place, earning 88 team points. Besting the Spartans were Dubuque Wahlert with 151, Marion with 138, Mount Vernon with 102 and Cedar Rapids Xavier with 96. Following Solon were the boys track and field teams of Central DeWitt (67), Anamosa (61) and Maquoketa (28).
“As we moved through the week and championship season, the focus moved to confidence. Workouts centered on knowing you have done the work and proving to yourself you are in a good place, in regards to your performance on the track or in the field. More of a comparison to where we were compared to where we are now and letting that shine through in competition,” Coach Sovers cited, relating how training evolved since the season’s onset.
“Heading into championship season we identified PRs (personal records) as one of the goals that really demonstrates what we stand for, the best version of who we are,” he continued. “We did a really good job of taking care of the little things that help PRs happen (warm-ups, mental side, cool down).”
The Spartans made a season of capitalizing on field event successes.
Colton Hoffman finished fifth in the high jump with 5-8, collecting four team points for Solon. Luke Ira and Eddie Richey both added team points with Ira soaring 21-0 and Richey leaping 20-5 1/2, for fourth- and sixth-place in the long jump adding five and three points, respectively. Typical season roles reversed themselves as Tyler Linderbaum captured third and Coal Flansburg collected fourth place in the discus to earn six points for Linderabaum’s 159-3 toss and five for Flansburg’s hurl of 156-3. Linderbaum won the shot put, earning 10 team points, with a 56-0 heave and Luke Schaeckenbach collected fourth place and five team points for his throw of 51-0 3/4.
The track events included the 800-meter sprint medley relay third-place performance of Adam Bock, Spencer Wegmann, Luke Ira and Ben Krutzfeldt which earned six team points for the Spartans. A sixth-place finish by Ethan Kober in the 3,200-meter run netted Solon three more team points. The 4x800-meter relay team of Tyler Bilskie, Brayton Bair, Brad Yeomans and Clay Gerdin ran a 9:29.75 for two team points and a seventh-place finish. Three team points were the reward for 1:05.03 time turned in for the sixth-place finish in the 4x110-meter shuttle hurdle relay team of Luke Luu, Jackson Ryan, Ryan Geistkemper and Thomas Brandt. Matt Folkerts ran to a 15th-place finish in the 100-meter dash. The distance medley team of Jackson Pipolo, Mason Stahle, Jack Bell and Bilskie ran to eighth-place with a time of 4:06.51 collecting another team point for Solon. Krutzfeldt and Brayden Rickertson grabbed fourth and sixth in the 400-meter dash with a 53.61 and a 53.69, collecting five team points and three team points for their respective finishes. A fifth-place finish by the Spartan team of Pipolo, Kendrick Harris, Bock and Wegmann in 1:34.30 added four team points to Solon’s team total.
Ira continued his winning ways in the 110-meter hurdles capturing first and 10 team points. In the 800-meter run, Ben DeValk and Brad Yeomans finished 13th and 14th with times of 2:22.73 and 2:23.41, respectively. Bell finished sixth with his time of 23.99 earning three team points in the 200-meter dash and Seamus Poynton ran a 24.63 placing him in 11th. Thomas Brandt added three team points for his sixth-place, 59.52 finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Kober and Bilskie finished in 13th and 14th place, posting times of 5:09.65 and 5:16.00, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run. The Spartan 4x100-meter relay team of Harris, Bock, Wegmann and Ira ran a 44:19 to finish fifth and collect four team points. In the 4x400-meter relay Rickertson, Eddie Richey, Dillon Hoit and Krutzfeldt collaborated for 3:41.46 collecting three points for their sixth-place finish.
With the WaMaC meet mere days before, Coach Sovers felt the team was prepared and trusting in their accomplishments.
“We were pleased with the way everyone competed and with the goals they competed with. We went into the meet with the idea we were going to place as high as we could as a team and do it together,” he said. “When you have the challenging district we competed in, we felt the qualifying piece would take care of itself. All year long, the focus has been on identifying your role in the team’s success and then becoming the best version of who you are in that role.”
He also felt qualifying performances for the Drake Relays earlier in the season added a particular hunger for the athletes.
“Drake was so valuable for us because it gave them the opportunity to see and be part of the whole setting that is the ‘Blue Oval.’ They really came away from that experience wanting more and could not wait to have another opportunity,” Sovers added. “Competing at state is a result of them being fully present at Drake and motivating them even more during championship season.”
Asked if there were emotions for the coaching staff and the athletes as the lights were extinguished for the last time at home on this track and field season, Coach Sovers waxed a bit prophetic. “We always take time to reflect and understand we need to be fully present in each and every moment. We cannot say enough about the legacy our seniors have left. They have shown everyone what can happen when you invest in relationships and people,” he said. “We cannot thank them enough for their commitment to track and Solon in general. They did not want to leave the track after the meet until the lights were turned off and just soak in every moment they could together.
“We will take the same qualities to Des Moines and the state meet and let them shine through in everything we do.”
State track qualifiers and their scheduled events:
Ira is slated to run at the state meet in the 110-meter hurdles preliminaries on Friday, May 18, at 3:30 p.m. seeded in the eighth position with a seed time of 15.06.
The 4x100-meter team of Harris, Bock, Wegmann and Ira, with alternates Pipolo and Poynton, is scheduled to compete Friday, May 18, at 6:50 p.m. based upon their 10th-place seeding time
The 4x200-meter combination of Pipolo, Harris, Bock and Wegmann, with alternates Bell and Stahle, qualified in 22nd place, based on their time of 1:34.30, will compete on Friday, May 18, at 4:15 p.m.
Ira qualified for the long jump in 17th position based upon his seed mark of 21-0. He will compete Friday, May 18, at 2 p.m.
Linderbaum qualified fifth based upon his seed mark of 159-3 and Flansburg qualified seventh based upon his seed mark of 156-3 to compete in the discus throw on Thursday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.
Linderbaum also qualified second in the shot put based upon his seed mark of 56-0 and Schaeckenbach qualified 13th based upon his seed mark of 51-0 3/4. Both will throw Friday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m.
The 800-meter sprint medley relay combination of Bock, Wegmann, Ira and Krutzfeldt, with alternates Harris and Rickertson, qualified 18th based upon their time of 1:36.45 to compete Saturday, May 19, at 10:10 a.m.