By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist
Indoors, large competitive field, no team scores… Solon’s first meet of the year was a good chance to look at what’s out there for the 2014 season. Nearly 30 schools from 1A to 4A were looking over their early season prospects as well.
“Not a lot of highlights. We’re nursing a few injuries right now,” noted coach Brent Sands, coming out of the Washington (IA) High School’s Demon Invitational, held at the University of Iowa’s indoor track March 4.
Shot put, a strength for the Lady Spartans a year ago, could be one again this season. Shelby Gunnells was second with a toss of 38-9; beaten on the last throw in the finals. “That was just a little off her best, from the state meet last year,” said Sands.
The indoor 200 meter track means more turns and not much chance to get up to full speed for most running events. “Sydney Lawson (200) and Jordan Smith (400) ran very well. Sydney ended up ninth (27.77 in a crowded, 14-heat event), but did that running by herself (in a slower heat). Jordan’s 1:02.93 (second place overall) was very good, considering it was indoors, and our lack of opportunity to get some good 400 work in so far,” Sands said. He noted Madi Shafer and Eva Platz turned in good 400s, too; starting out ahead of their early season times from last year.
The meet gave Solon a look at 15 different 400 or 800 runners; running either the open 400 or the 4x400 or 4x800 relays. With Shafer, Jessica Heick, Katie Folkerts and Smith teaming up, Solon’s A team finished 10th (4:34) among the 52 A and B teams finishing. Trish Coberly’s 2:39 leg in the 4x800 was the top Solon clocking, from the A or B units. “I thought (Coberly) looked good for her first-ever track meet,” said Sands. “Olivia Erenberger also is showing good improvement in the hurdles and high jump.”