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Solon 4x400 sets school record

Lady Spartans third at Jesse Day Invitational
Minutes after breaking the school record, Solon’s 4x400 relay team enjoys the moment at the close of the April 13 Jesse Day Invitational in Davenport. Flanked by coaches Dan Dall (left) and Brent Sands (right) are Erin Kerkhoff, Taylor Ryan, Caylee Annis and Abby Smith. Their 4:05.05 time broke the record set just two years ago by Madi Shaffer, Eva Platz, Jordan Smith and Kristina Shelman, who rounded the track in 4:05.35. (photo by Jodi Smith)

DAVENPORT– With a school record in the final event, Solon’s girls capped an impressive showing at the Jesse Day Invitational Track meet April 13 in Davenport. Solon won four events, was second in two more, and double-placed in three individual events. The Lady Spartans scored in 14 of the 19 events in the meet.
“We had a strong feeling we could do some of the things we accomplished (at Davenport),” noted Solon Coach Brent Sands. “We only loaded a few events. Some of the faster girls only had two events. We want to give everybody a chance to run at this point.”
Solon and Davenport Assumption were the only Class 3A schools locking horns with eight 4A teams at Brady Street Stadium. Bettendorf won the team title, with 146 points in a fight to the finish. Perennial track and cross country power Pleasant Valley (145) came up a point short. Solon was third, (112), followed by North Scott (92), Assumption (85), Davenport Central (69), Muscatine (37), Burlington (19), Davenport West (16) and Davenport North (14).
The meet title came down to the final event, the 4x400 relay. Pleasant Valley had to beat Bettendorf to slip into first place. But the storyline became ‘Solon’ as Taylor Ryan, Caylee Annis, Abby Smith and Erin Kerkhoff left everybody in the dust with a whopping nine-second, school-record win (4:05.05) over Assumption; and then Bettendorf and PV. That erases the 2015 4:05.35 mark, set by Madi Shaffer, Eva Platz, Jordan Smith and Kristina Shelman.
Other wins came from freshman Gabbi Bullard in the 400 hurdles, with a 1:06.53; a two-second drop over her previous best, with a similar gap over the second-place runner. Josie Durr went 5-4 in the high jump for the win, with teammate Abby Smith in fifth place at 4-10. The distance medley team grabbed the fourth first, a one-second margin over Bettendorf in 4:31.65. Emma Winders, Peyton Moore, Sophie Nicol Bullard carried the baton on that one.
“Gabbi’s 400 hurdles was pretty impressive. She was really keeping a rhythm throughout the race,” assessed Sands. “Sophie (Nicol) ran a strategic race, too (1:10.78, her best), to pick up fourth place; tucking in with a group and going out at the end. The throwing events went well, too. Elli Becicka had another personal best in the discus (110-11 for third place) and Bryce Hinkel (106-10 for fourth) is getting closer to that.” Hinkel doubled back with a 35-0 3/4 toss in the shot, good for fourth place again. Jady Murphy picked up seventh-place points with 14-5 1/2 in the long jump.
The Spartans notched second place in the shuttle hurdle relay (1:07.99), with Bullard, Molly Duckett, Rachael Nelson and Alex Sands less than a half-second behind Pleasant Valley. Another second came in the 4x200, as Ryan, Bryn Hanrahan, Smith and Kerkhoff rounded the track in 1:47.70. Those events have been strengths all season. Sands sees progress, though, in other events– which haven’t been big point producers– yet. “Makayla Linderman keeps cutting seconds from her 3,000 (she was seventh at Davenport, 12:08.97); so has Haley Kleusner, in the 1,500.
Points also came in the 4x800 (Saige Hauer, Nicol Shafer, Aira Foster and Calista Haasl, seventh, 11:23.76), 4x100 (Hanrahan, Jessica Heick, Sands and Sayler McIlravy, sixth in 52.42) and the sprint medley (Alli Prybil, Peyton Sands, Heick and Khaylor Fleck, seventh, in 1:48.99).
This week’s highlight was the Tuesday Denny Gruber Coed Invitational, on Solon’s home track. Results from that will be featured next week.