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Joe Wilkinson

Boys 6th at North Linn, postseason ahead

TROY MILLS– Going into postseason runs, Solon’s boys notched a sixth-place finish among 16 teams at the 2019 North Linn invitational cross country meet, Oct. 12. “It was an amazing meet for the whole Solon cross country team. Almost every runner had season best times,” reviewed head coach Emy Williams. “We looked strong and really competed.”

Girls third over Hillcrest hills

KALONA– There is a reason most noise at cross country meets comes near the finish line. That’s where the crowd is! As runners close in on 5,000 meters, the fans want to see their finish.
Sure, Mid-Prairie’s top ranked– and Future Hall of Famer– Marie Hostletler is going to win by more than a minute each time out. However, the excitement builds as the next 10, 50 or 100 girls fight for position. Solon’s girls provided a couple such moments, at the Hillcrest Academy Invite, October 7.

Third place, but what a finish for Lady Spartan XC

WILLIAMSBURG– The rankings proved true. Mid-Prairie and Williamsburg were one-two among Class 2A teams, as rated by the state’s cross country coaches. And they finished right there, at the Oct. 1 Williamsburg Invite. Solon, ranked ninth in Class 3A, was third in the 10-team field, on a hot sultry afternoon, with thunderstorms just a few hours away.
“This meet was a tough one,” observed head coach Emy Williams. “The humidity and new course layout didn't help our times. We ran well and will start getting our legs fresh as we close in on conference and the state qualifying meet.”

Pack moving up; XC boys 4th at Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG– Solon’s boys showed up with a pack of runners in the top 30 this time. Still, top ranked (Class 2A) Tipton held court, with its five scorers going one-three-five-10-11, and its remaining two varsity runners 12th and 14th, to blow away the field in the Oct. 1 Williamsburg Invitational cross country meet.

Teen motivates Iowa City area climate activists

IOWA CITY– Swedish teen Greta Thunberg urged 3,000 climate advocates in downtown Iowa City to take on the worldwide crisis… before it is too late.
She shared a makeshift stage at Dubuque and Iowa Streets with local students who have been “climate striking” each Friday for months. The 16-year-old has made international headlines over the last couple months, including her solar-powered boat voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the United Nations climate summit a couple weeks ago.

Girls take the hardware at Anamosa cross country meet

Conway, Bock lead the way for Lady Spartans

ANAMOSA– There were a couple adjustments in the finishes, but it was still good for a meet title, as Solon outran the 10 (full) team field Sept. 28 in Anamosa. It was the girls’ second meet title this season.
Kiersten Conway (fourth place overall, 20:33) and Emma Bock (fifth, 20:49) swapped places again, as Solon’s one-two runners, pacing the 11th ranked (Class 3A) Lady Spartans over a wet, hilly course– on a meet morning that bordered on chilly, for the first time this season.

Solon boys 8th at Anamosa, North Linn next up

ANAMOSA– With their top five packed within about a minute of each other– and just 19 places apart– Solon’s varsity boys are leaning into the Big Push.
The Spartans kept their top runners closer together, taking eighth at the 14-school Anamosa Invitational cross country meet Sept. 28.

Boys cross country 7th in talented field at home

SOLON– The pack is developing. It just needs to gravitate upwards.
With lead runner Gabe Hinman finishing 13th in the 64-runner field, Solon put together a pack of four more between 31st and 46th. Included in that field were 11 top-30 individual runners (in their school’s enrollment class). Hinman entered the week 29th in the coaches’ poll of the top 30 3A runners.
That pack will need to keep dropping its finish times, though, to move the team up. Solon was seventh among the 10 teams at its home cross country meet Monday, Sept. 23, at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area.

XC girls 4th at home, in duel of ranked teams

SOLON– With four ranked schools and 11 ranked runners on the course in each race, Solon’s Sept. 23 home cross country meet had almost a postseason feel to it. And it is not long before the postseason arrives. Solon hosts one of five Class 3A state qualifying meets, Oct. 24.

Depth pays off for Solon XC girls at Bob Brown Invitational

Lady Spartans capture second at Regina meet

IOWA CITY– Three runners in the top-20 led their pack, with Solon’s girls finishing as team runner-up in the annual Bob Brown Invitational cross country meet, Sept. 5 in Iowa City.
Sophomore Emma Bock was eighth, overall– seventh in the team count– across the finish line on the 5-kilometer course, in 21:40. Junior Kiersten Conway (11th overall, 10th in the team scoring), came in at 22:01). The pair swapped their one-two team finish the week prior at the season opener. Teammate Meghan O’Neill (22:32) was 18th. Kaia Holtkamp was 22nd, in 22:43, with freshman Mary Fiala 27th, 23:05.

Times improve for boys; work now on closing the gap

Hinman finishes 8th at Regina invitational

IOWA CITY– Solon’s boys are getting the pack idea down.
Their job over the next few cross country meets is to move it up as the finish line approaches.
With sophomore Gabe Hinman cracking the top 10 at the Regina-hosted Bob Brown Invitational, the Spartans didn’t have another runner cross the finish line for a minute and a half. Hinman, 25th ranked among Class 3A boys, turned in a 17:45 finish; good for eighth place at the Sept. 5 Regina meet.

XC Boys 6th, Hinman medals at Prairie

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Sophomore Ethan McLaughlin hits the electronic finish line Aug. 31 at the Prairie cross country invitational.

CEDAR RAPIDS– First meet of the season? Solon’s boys stepped up against 21 schools– 10 of which qualified for the 2018 state cross country meet. With a new season, though, come new lineups… and new expectations.