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Boys finish fifth, miss trip to state

ANAMOSA– No return ticket to the state this year.
A surge from Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Fort Madison and Marion sent those three boys cross country teams to the Oct. 29 Class 3A state meet. Solon and Xavier battled for the fourth and fifth spots in the 15-school qualifier at Anamosa.
Mount Vernon, behind individual medalist Connor Smock’s 16:39 pace over the 5 kilometer course, won the Oct. 20 meet with 42 points. Fort Madison’s 62 was good for second, with Marion just a beat behind (66 points). Xavier of Cedar Rapids edged Solon for fourth, 123-124. All four are ranked in the top 15 of Class 3A by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches. “The boys did a good job; running with those ranked teams,” reviewed coach Emy Williams. “They beat a couple teams, DeWitt Central was one, which had beaten them during the regular season.”
Zach Slusher was the first Spartan across the finish line at Central Park Lake near Anamosa. His 18:22 was good for 19th overall. Omar Longou was 21st in 18:27 with Patrick McGill 26th (18:39) “Zach, Omar and Patrick ran nice races; Keegan (Paisley), too,” said Williams. Paisley, a freshman, was on McGill’s heels (27th, also 18:39). Chase Gross was 31st (18:42), with Turner Wentzien next across (18:43) and Michael Rundell 34th (in 18:49).
Solon finished third last year at state, with a few different faces in the lineup this year. Wrapping up the 2011 season, they can count a meet title (at Williamsburg), three runner-up finishes (at Benton, Regina and Solon) and several fourths… as well as a strong junior varsity unit, with several runners moving up and down, pushing for varsity slots.