SOLON– For Patrick McGill, it was a job well run. Twice.
Job One was apparent. McGill was the first Spartan runner across the finish line at the Solon Invitational cross country meet. The junior finished 13th in 17:36, as Solon finished fourth in the nine-team boys’ race. “The course was fast. It helped that (teammate) Zach Slusher pushed me to the end,” said McGill.
He– and nearly 300 other varsity and junior varsity runners—ran over Job Two. As his Eagle Scout Project last spring, McGill did the planning for 50 volunteers who, over two days, carved out a nearly half-mile loop through the woods, off the Lake Macbride trail back to the Solon Recreation and Nature Area. This was the first meet to feature the sidetrack through the woods.
“Coach (Dan) Dall approached me last winter,” explained McGill. “He designed it to avoid spots with water. We put in a couple culverts. We had volunteers from the Scouts, the cross country team, Octagon and band members helping.” And how did it feel to compete on ‘his’ course? “It meant a little more to me, as I ran over it. I thought about how much work went into it; and all the workers involved,” said McGill.
Overall, Mount Vernon-Lisbon won the meet with 26 points. Nik Rehnke moved up to the number two spot for Solon, finishing 18th overall (17:50). Quinn Kelsay (18:09) was 24th, with Zach Slusher (18:13) 27th. Taylor Walkner (18:26) was 32nd for the Spartans.
In the junior varsity race, Solon (with 55 points) finished second to Iowa City High (19).
At Anamosa Sept. 22
Solon picked up another fourth place finish at the Anamosa Invite around Central Park Lake. Light rain, cold temperatures and strong winds had faded by the time the varsity boys took on the 5-kilometer course. Solon packed its five scoring runners into the top 29 in the 77-runner field, led again by McGill (18:02) in 15th place overall. “Patrick got out and ran a strong race,” noted Coach Emy Williams.
Nationally ranked (in its enrollment category) Monticello came within a point of a perfect score… nailing down first, second, third, fourth and sixth place for a 16-point team finish. That was accented by a course-record 16:29 from junior Michael Melchert. Mount Vernon-Lisbon (94 points) was runner-up, followed by Tipton (102), Solon (114), then seven other full Class 2A to 4A squads. Two schools had incomplete teams.
Rehnke again was the No. 2 Solon runner (18:34, 22nd) with Matt Reiland (23rd) on his shoulder in the same time. Keegan Paisley (25th) crossed in 18:43, identical to his first varsity run around the lake last year. Quinn Kelsay (29th) finished in 18:58, with Taylor Walkner (41st) in 19:19 and Ty Appleget (47th) across in 19:42.
Pushing them were Solon’s junior varsity (JV). “The top four JV runners ran great races; crowding into the top 15 of that race,” noted Williams. That included Keegan Hess, second overall (18:51), Jake Singkofer (seventh, 19:18), David Coberly (11th, 19:46) and Josh Prybil (14th, 19:51).