Gunnells wins shot put: Lady Spartans 14th
By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist
DES MOINES– As they had all season, the throws meant big points for Solon, this time at the Class 3A state meet, May 22-24 in Des Moines. The girls finished 14th, with their 20 points coming from the shot put and discus, high jump and sprint medley relay.
Besides a shot put crown and more points in the discus from junior Shelby Gunnells, Solon picked up team points from the sprint medley relay team of Haley Bell, Emily Ira, Sydney Lawson and Jordan Smith, posting a 1:50.59 for sixth place. They beat the school record by over a second, one that stood since 1997. “From Haley’s great lead off to Jordan’s 58 split on the 400 anchor, we got a great leg from each of them,” said coach Sands. Freshman Josie Durr’s tie for fifth in the high jump (5’0) added to the team total.
With no seniors on this year’s squad (hurdler/sprinter Rylee Smith was lost before the season with a leg injury), the Lady Spartans will return a ton of experience. “This group exceeded expectations. We had many people step up and fill holes in the line up,” observed Sands.
Examples? The 4x100 team came in seeded 21st of 24 teams, but finished 12th. The distance medley sliced almost six seconds off of its best time. “Jessica Heick got some good experience at the state meet and led off very well. Emily Ira consistently ran very well all weekend,” noted Sands. “Eva Platz really became a 400 runner we could count on every time out.” He also singled out Molly Walkner’s efforts for the weekend; cutting time off each of her three 800s.
“The 4x200 sliced a couple seconds, too… it just wasn’t enough this time,” Sands said. “The girls were frustrated with finishing so close in many events. They don’t want that next year. They can see it and now it is in their hands.”