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Girls sending a crowd to the Drake Relays

SOLON– High School track in Iowa has two season highlights. As with other sports, there is the state championship– May 17-19 this year. But this weekend, the Drake Relays spotlights international, college and high school athletes showing their stuff in a track showcase with a century of tradition.
To qualify for Drake, Iowa high schoolers compete against the entire state, not just their school’s enrollment class, for the limited events offered. Solon descends on Drake’s Blue Oval with five relay teams and four individuals.
Erin Kerkhoff will be at the line in the 100 meters. Gabbi Bullard goes against the state’s best in her specialty, the 400 hurdles. With her 17-5 season-best long jump, Khaylor Fleck will be there. And with improvements of 2 feet at each of her last couple meets, Emily Troyer will line up at the shot put ring.
Taylor Ryan, Fleck, Sophie Nicol and Kerkhoff ran the 4x100 relay into the Relays field. Ryan, Caylee Annis, Kerkhoff and Abby Smith had a qualifying time in the 4x200. The same four shared the baton in the 4x400. Ryan, Kerkhoff, Nicol and Molly Duckett qualified Solon’s sprint medley into the field. Duckett, Bullard, Peyton Sands and Rachael Nelson motored into the shuttle hurdle relay field.
Their chances in the toughest competition they’ll face this season? “Our 4x200 is eighth-fastest coming in, but this one will probably get quite a bit faster,” assessed Solon coach Brent Sands. “The 4x400 is eighth going in, as is Emily Troyer in the shot put. She keeps making big hikes in her throws, so it will be great for her to get that Drake experience.”