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Boys 17th

Roeder and 4x800 take fifth, 4x100 takes sixth and Linderbaum takes seventh
Matt Roeder clears the bar in one of his leaps in the high jump on Thursday, May 19, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines during the state track and field meet. Roeder finished tied for fifth in Class 3A. (photo by Jeff Hess)

DES MOINES– Children grow up learning to swim in the calming, blue, chlorinated waters of the local pool, hoping someday for the blue embrace of the ocean and its much deeper depths.
The Spartans took to those deeper depths on Thursday, May 19, to test their abilities against the best Iowa’s Class 3A had to offer, finishing in a three-way tie, with Grinnell and Assumption, for 17th in a field of 43 teams.
On day one of the Iowa Girls and Boys State Track Meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, the Solon contingent had its biggest day, competing in four finals; taking a fifth in the high jump and the 4x800; and two preliminaries; qualifying Nate Christensen for the 100-meter final on Saturday.
Senior Matt Roeder tied for fifth, with Blair Brooks of Marion and Matt Bandy of Dubuque Wahlert, in the state high jump competition with a leap of 6-3. Senior Streeter McIlravy finished ninth in state standings with a leap of 6-3 (based upon the number of failed attempts). The competition was bested by a leap of 6-8 made by Spencer’s Cameron Cantrall.
In the discus, junior Jacob Coons finished 11th overall in the state with his first throw of 143-9 and sophomore Tyler Linderbaum finished 16th among the throwers with his pitch of 139-8. The competition was conquered by a throw of 185-09 registered by Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon in Class 3A competition.
Senior Nate Christensen finished fourth in the 100-meter dash preliminaries with a 11.32 in the third heat, moving him on to compete in the finals on Saturday.
In the the 4x800-meter relay finals, Solon’s team of junior Graeson Dall, sophomore Ben Krutzfeldt, junior Adam Smith and senior Jake Schaeckenbach grabbed fifth in the state with a time of 8:12.84 running in heat two. Mount Vernon’s team of Jack Cochrane, Zach Krogmann, Jeremy Krogmann and Peyton Wilch sat atop the Class 3A 4x800 standings with their run of 8:00.01.
Christensen, in his second appearance of the day, finished 14th in the second heat of the 200-meter dash preliminaries with a time of 22.899, narrowly besting 15th-place Terry Harris of Central DeWitt’s 22.900 in the first heat race, but not good enough to qualify for the finals.
Dall, in his second appearance of the day, ran to a 19th-place finish in the finals of the 400-meter run with a 51.76. JoJo Frost of Center Point captured top honors in Class 3A with his 49.02.
The Spartans’ 4x110-meter shuttle hurdle relay team of Christensen, McIlravy, junior Bo Black, and sophomore Luke Ira ran a 1:01.39 in the fourth heat to take 13th in the preliminaries, unable to obtain a berth in the finals.
On Friday, May 20, the second day of the state competition, the Spartans had a shorter day with two finals to be decided and two preliminaries to be run.
Senior Halston Durr finished ninth in the state with a long jump of 21-1 1/2, while senior Spencer Lawson finished in 19th place with his jump of 19-10 3/4. The victor in the Class 3A high jump was Chase Van Sant with a leap of 22 1/2.
Linderbaum hurled his way to seventh in the state with a shot put toss of 50-1 1/2 while junior Jackson Walker finished 20th with his cast of 44-9. Mount Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs took his second title in as many days with his throw of 60-1 1/4.
In the 110-meter hurdle preliminary, Luke Ira finished 16th with his 16.12 time in the first heat, not making the finals.
The finals of the 4x200-meter relay saw Solon’s team of senior Brandan Childs, Lawson, Coons, and Roeder post a 1:31.31 time in heat three to make them the 10th best team in the state in 3A competition. The victorious team from Sergeant Bluff-Luton of Matthew George, Ryley McGregor, Drew Girres and Brady Wall hoisted the gold with their time of 1:27.87, setting a new meet record.
In the 4x100-meter relay preliminaries, the Spartan team of Black, Roeder, Childs, and Christensen finished fifth in the third heat with a time of 43.52 to qualify to run Saturday in the finals and end their day of competition on a high note.
On the final day, Saturday, May 21, the skies took on almost the same blue as the track and the breezes that tussled the previous two days, calmed and the heat turned up, literally, as the temperature rose to the 80s.
Junior Graeson Dall ran a 1:59.62 in the 800-meter dash to take 10th place in 3A. The winning effort by Wyatt Gatrost from Center Point was a 1:56.27.
Senior Nate Christensen ran an 11.28 in the 100-meter dash finals to become the seventh fastest man in Class 3A in the state. The victor was Eli Hicks of Boone with his 11.02 run.
In the 4x100-meter relay, Spartans Black, Roeder, Childs, and Christensen became the sixth fastest team in Class 3A with a time of 43.73. Boone’s team of Alex Vodenik, Kaden Sherrard, Elijah Johnson and Eli Hicks championed the 4x100 with their time of 42.67.
The team standings shook out with Pella in first with 62 team points, Vinton-Shellsburg sat in second with 56, SB-Luton finished third with 47, Mount Vernon was fourth with 45, and Boone was in fifth with 41. They were followed by Center Point (40), Estherville-LC (33), Marion (29), DC-Grimes (26), North Polk (21), Fairfield (20), Oskaloosa, Algona, and Carlisle tied with 18 apiece, Spirit Lake (17), Cedar Rapids Xavier (15), and Solon, Grinnell, Assumption and Benton Community (14 apiece).
“We were pleased with our performance,” Head Coach Mark Sovers commented. “All year long, we evaluated our performance based on our preparation and going out and competing at our personal best. We were in a good place at the state track meet and went out and competed at the highest level we were able to. That is the great thing about the state track meet, it gives you an opportunity to see the best version of yourself at the highest level possible. The Blue Oval always provides an opportunity for your best to come out.”
“I am very proud of the senior group and the way they went about preparing each and everyday to become the best version of themselves. Everyone wants to have an impact and leave their mark on what ever they are part [of]. The seniors left a positive mark on the track and field program and built on the tradition that had been established before them. We will miss all of their contributions on the track and in the field but really thank them for the people they grew into and how they demonstrated what is truly important. What you want to become and what you want to accomplish is truly up to you and no one else can decide that for you,” Sovers expounded regarding the graduating seniors and their accomplishments.
When asked about his assessment of the track and field talent returning next year, he commented, “The future is bright for the returning athletes. The thing that is the most important is they are good people first and they have a great relationship with each other on and off the track. Relationships are the first step towards success and when you start with that, opportunities for success will take care of themselves.”
Nate Christensen summarized sentiments the best in a tweet on Saturday, May 21: “Couldn’t of asked for a more fun and successful way to end my senior season. What a year.”