By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist
TIFFIN– In a week which saw one rainout, one meet title, and one meet decided after publication deadline, Solon’s girls head into the home stretch of the 2014 track season with combinations in mind.
Which individual entries should rack up points at conference, regional and… hopefully… state? Or should they team up for stronger relay performances? The track and field chess match is in play, with Solon going to the WaMaC meet Thursday in Vinton and the regional meet next week at Marion.
Heading into the postseason, the Lady Spartans come off a close win at the Clear Creek-Amana Pacha Relays on May 1. The championship was settled in the last event; the 4x400 meter relay, with fourth place needed to put it away. That’s when Coach Brent Sands did a little lineup shuffling. “We had a couple of the girls with tight muscles and a couple not feeling well,” said Sands. “Eva Platz got her calf loosened up and ran a great lead off. Then, even though Madi Shafer and Kristina Shelman were not feeling well, they put together great runs. For Shelman, it was her best 400 of the season. They ended up securing third place and the meet title.”
Solon edged 2013 Class 3A state champion Davenport Assumption in the overall team finish, 132-129. Still, that doesn’t paint a picture of what could happen. Assumption rarely shows its full lineup. And with the Knights in a different regional meet, Solon won’t see it until the state track meet May 22-24.
“(Weatherwise,) it wasn’t a great night to really look at times and performances but there were a couple of good things that came out,” reviewed Sands. “Trisha Coberly improved her 3,000 by 10 seconds and this was on a night when it appeared several others ran slower than their best.” And it came on a night when Coberly did triple duty; placing in the 3,000, 1,500 and 800.
Sands also took a new look at several athletes in different events. “Katie Folkerts ran the hurdles in the shuttle relay for the first time and ran a very good split. Alex (Sands) and Audrey (Lester) have been coming on very well in the hurdles. They seem to get a kick out of finishing side by side.”
As those good performances get better, it opens options for the Spartans. “We’re definitely working combinations; trying to figure out who might be our number five and six relay runner in events; knowing the top four may be tied up in other events,” explained Sands. “Emma Moss is typical of that versatility. She is able to do so much. With her as a hurdler, the times may indicate we need to go that direction. If so, she would not be available for some relays. She is definitely that ‘utility type player’ that can do almost everything.”
That means some important juggling before this traveling show hits the road.
CCA Pacha Relays Results
Davenport Assumption: 129
Mount Vernon: 104
Clear Creek Amana: 70.5
First place: 4x100 meter relay (52.73), shot put (Shelby Gunnells, 39’8), long jump (Jordan Smith 16’6-3/4).
Second place: High jump (Josie Durr 4’10), discus (Gunnells, 111’7), 200-meter (Sydney Lawson 27.19), 400-meter (Smith 1:01.46), 400-meter hurdles (Moss, 1:11.83).
Third place: Distance medley (4:49.45, Jessica Heick, Kristina Shelman, Haley Bell, Katie Folkerts), high jump, Josie Durr 4’10, shot put, Katie Misel 36’6), 100-meter hurdles (Sands, 17:22), 4x400 (4:19.89 Platz, Shelman, Shafer, Haley Bell).
Fourth place: 100-meter (Sydney Lawson, 13.18), 3,000-meter (Trisha Coberly, 11:47.57), 100 hurdles (Lester, 17:23), 4x200 relay (Allison Prybil, Moss, Emily Ira, Lawson), 4x800 (Platz, Kylie Holubar, Lorin Brokaw, Mileah Mesch, 11:16.48), shuttle hurdle relay (Olivia Erenberger, Folkerts, McKenna Miller, Lester 1:14.32)
Sixth place: 800-meter (Coberly, 2:37.51), 1,500-meter (Coberly, 5:31.23),