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Home, sweet home: three firsts and a second for Solon XC

SOLON– Heading into mid-season, Solon’s girls cross country teams collected team titles in varsity girls and both junior varsity divisions and runner-up for the varsity boys, in the Spartans’ only home meet of the season Sept. 20 at the Solon Nature and Recreation Area.
The girls rolled to a 23 point total in the seven-team meet, undercutting Williamsburg (52), Northeast-Goose Lake (92), Mount Vernon (103), Clear Creek-Amana (105), Central Clinton-DeWitt (171) and Wilton (190). North Cedar and Tipton ran partial squads.
For the guys, Mount Vernon-Lisbon won the meet with 53 points. Solon and Tipton tallied 84 points, with Solon winning the tie-breaker. Also in the field were Central Clinton-DeWitt (90 points), Northeast-Goose Lake (96), Williamsburg (162), Clear Creek-Amana (173), West Liberty (194), North Cedar (202) and Wilton (236).
On the girls’ side, Solon’s Lauren Benzing and Alex Smith clinched a 1-2 finish; Benzing crossing at 14:43; with Smith at 16:02 on the 4 kilometer course. Also crowding to the top were teammates Tayvia Hansen (fifth at 16:18), Leah Adams (sixth, 16:27) and Bailey Kelsay (ninth, 16:36). No other team had more than two girls in the top 10. Benzing and Solon’s girls each showed up second last week in the individual and team Class 3A rankings of the Iowa Association of Track Coaches. Adams and Smith also rank in the top 30.
Solon still would have won easily with its sixth and seventh ‘insurance’ runners, Mallory Carr (15th at 16:58) and Abby Ashton (17th, 17:08), in the field of 54. And pushing all seven was the JV team. With a perfect 1-2-3-4-5 finish for 15 team points in their race over the same course, Katie Folkerts (17:31), Jadyn Miller (17:34), Corri Goldsmith (17:47), Anna Kosek (17:54) and Tarrah Wentzien (17:56)… as well as Molly Walkner (sixth, 17:57) and Carlyn Haas (eighth, 18:05) all had times that could have plugged into the upper middle of the girls varsity finish.
So did Mileah Mesch (10th, 18:12) and Emily Moore (12th, 18:25). Also finishing in the top 25 were Solon’s Sydney Gerdts (16th, 18:59), Shae Goldsberry (17th, 19:03), Abby Haas (18th, 19:09), Angel Wilford (21st, 19:31), Holly Regan (24th, 19:39) and Katherine Carr (25th, 19:50). Other Spartans running in the home meet were Jessica Brimeyer, Allie Moore, Morgan Kroymann, Madi Shafer, Brittany Stinocher, Slayte Eaton, Addie Bailey, Elizabeth Lewis, Jill Prentice, Sabrina Rooy, Sydney Hauer, Libbie Randall, Kaitlyn Rush and Hallie Mottinger.

For the boys, Connor Smock of sixth-ranked (3A) Mount Vernon-Lisbon won the 5 kilometer boys race in 16:36. Turner Wentzien was again Solon’s top runner, crossing ninth overall in 17:56. Omar Longou was the next Spartan across (17th, 18:14) followed by teammates Michael Rundell (18th, 18:15), Chase Gross (19th, 18:16) and Patrick McGill (21st, 18:18).
That was good for the tie with Tipton… with freshman Ian Paisley’s 28th place finish (at 18:42) trumping Tipton’s Katon Mohr’s 62nd, giving Solon the runner-up slot. Brent Kennicott (44th, 19:43) was Solon’s insurance runner. The Solon meet was the first competition for the boys since they broke into the Iowa Association of Track Coaches poll; listed at 15th in Class 3A. Wentzien now is listed 25th in individual rankings.
In junior varsity competition, the Spartans crammed all five scoring runners into the top 10 to undercut Mount Vernon-Lisbon 34-54. Matt Reiland (18:31), led Taylor Walkner (19:04), Andrew Barenz (19:16), Ryan Kunkel (19:26) and Jake Singkofer (19:28) to a 1-6-8-9-10 string. Backing them were Quinn Kelsay (13th, 19:35) and David Coberly (15th, 19:45) among the crowded 95-runner JV field.
Also running in the top 30 in Solon’s only home meet were Drew Schultz (19:47), Josh Prybil (19:49), Grayson Harrington (20:22) Conner Fitzpatrick (20:22), Kylan Patterson (20:31), Austin Hunt (20:44) and Cody Henneberry (20:44).
Rounding out the JV field were Jack Adolphson, Thomas Hand, Jordan Goodwin, Blake Steffens, Joseph Klingelhutz, Lucas Schwartz, Greg Hofsommer, Jeremy Wise, Charlie Jedlicka, Seth Groeschen and Kyle Stewart.

Mid-season mark; Solon girls second, boys fourth at Anamosa
ANAMOSA– Closing out the first half of its season, Solon’s cross country teams took their annual ‘Laps Around the Lake’ Sept. 24 at Jones County’s Central Park in the Anamosa Invitational cross country meet. The varsity girls were second, edged by top-ranked Assumption of Davenport. The varsity boys were fourth. In JV competition, both boys and girls were runners-up.
With only three regular season meets remaining– including at Williamsburg Tuesday, the Spartans start adjusting their training; with Conference, District and– hopefully– State competition looming. “We have put in our distance work this season. We have our base set,” explained coach Emy Williams. “Now, we can start working on our speed through the rest of the season.”
In the boys race, top-ranked (Class 2A) Monticello nailed down three of the top four spots on its way to a runaway win. Its 36-point finish was well ahead of Mount Vernon-Lisbon (86), Central-DeWitt (91), Solon (117)… and six more full teams.
Turner Wentzien was again Solon’s top finisher, crossing 13th in 18:09. Mount Vernon-Lisbon’s Connor Smock won the 5K race in16:33. A senior, Wentzien is still learning in his first year of cross country. “The first meet, I went out too fast; ended up running ahead of everyone, until they caught me. Now, I know to find someone to follow; to set a pace for me… then try to beat them at the end,” observed Wentzien. “There is a lot of team motivation. You wouldn’t be running as well without people (supporting us) out there.”
Backing him from Solon were senior Omar Longou (17th, 18:18), freshman Keegan Paisley (24th, 18:43), junior Chase Gross (25th, 18:51), senior Michael Rundell (38th, 19:12), sophomore Taylor Walkner (40th, 19:17) and junior Matt Reiland (45th, 19:39). From the JV side, junior Brent Kennicott was Solon’s top finisher; third (in 19:30). Senior Andrew Barenz was eighth (20:04) among the 115 junior varsity racers.
The girls race was a two-team dogfight between No. 1 and No. 2. Top-ranked (Class 3A) Davenport Assumption countered Solon’s 1-2 finish from junior Lauren Benzing and freshman Alex Smith by pushing all five of its scoring runners into the 4 through 9 slots; edging the second-ranked Spartans 33-36.
Benzing defended her 2010 meet title and broke the meet record (15:44) with a four-second win over Springville-Central City’s Arden Betzer. Since Betzer does not run with a full team, her place is discarded when team scoring is determined. Right behind was Smith, in 16:09. Solon packed the next bunch of runners; with senior Leah Adams 10th (16:39), junior Bailey Kelsay 11th (16:53), sophomore Tayvia Hansen 12th (17:13), junior Mallory Carr 13th (17:14) and senior Abby Ashton 15th (17:21).
On the JV side, the roles were basically reversed, though Assumption still got the 31-36 win over Solon. Solon junior Corri Goldsmith (18:08), freshmen Carlyn Haas (18:10), Katie Folkerts (18:22) and Mileah Mesch (18:30) and sophomore Emily Moore (18:35) went 5-6-7-8-10; with freshman Shae Goldsberry (18:55), junior Abby Haas (18:55) and freshman Sydney Gerdts (19:24) in the top 20. There were 83 junior varsity runners finishing the four kilometer course.