DEWITT– Following their season-long recipe for success, ‘Benzing wins, with the rest packed close behind,’ Solon’s girls outran the rest of the WaMaC for the 2012 Conference title Oct. 11 at DeWitt. Their sights are now trained on Oct. 18, the state-qualifying meet in Anamosa.
Lauren Benzing went under 15 minutes for the fourth consecutive meet; her 14:43 in the 4-kilometer race 33 seconds ahead of Vinton-Shellsburg’s Lily Horst. Close behind Horst in third place was Spartan Alex Smith (15:31). Teammates Mallory Carr (15:53) and Tayvia Hansen (16:00) ran seventh and eighth. With Bailey Kelsay’s 26th place finish (16:39), the championship was locked in. Katie Folkerts (27th, 16:41) and Molly Walkner (30th, 16:47) were right behind.
“The top four got out well and kept their place during the race,” noted coach Emy Williams. “Bailey, Katie and Molly were cut off at the start but showed how strong they are during the middle of their race; moving up a lot during the second mile.”
With just 45 team points, the conference title was safe. Western Dubuque (114) and Williamsburg (115) had to go down to the last scoring runner to settle runner-up honors. Mount Vernon-Lisbon (124), Central of DeWitt (159), Benton (176), Vinton-Shellsburg (182), Anamosa (191), Marion (213), Clear Creek Amana (229), West Delaware (248), Independence (354), Dyersville Beckman (376), Center Point-Urbana (399), Waterloo Columbus (401) and Maquoketa (without a full team) rounded out the finishes.
The girls’ depth showed in the team results. Folkerts’ sixth and Walkner’s seventh place team finishes would have had either as the third girl or higher on 11 of those WAMAC squads.
On the junior varsity side, Solon’s Carlyn Haas crossed the line first. Her 17:08 would have been a top-40 finish in the varsity field. With Emily Capper (17:28), Corri Goldsmith (17:37), Shae Goldsberry (18:13) and Sydney Gerdts (18:27) going 4-5-8-11, the Lady Spartans team total rolled them to another JV title. “The JV girls are so strong, too,” added Williams. “It is fun as a coach to watch our girls do so well in both races. Everyone is pushing to get themselves better.”