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Solon girls riding two more XC wins

TROY MILLS– Avenging a 2010 bump to second place, the Solon girls took the championship this year at the Oct. 8 North Linn Invitational. With all five scoring runners in the top 16 and a team score of 34 points, the Spartans ran away from last year’s winner– Benton Community– and the rest of the field. Second was Williamsburg (66 points), followed by Benton (119), Regina (128) and 10 other full teams. Another nine schools fielded partial teams.
“We are now in the competition part of our season and focusing on speed to help with turnover. They have done the work now it is time to refine it,” reviewed coach Emy Williams, looking back on the North Linn win, the conference meet Thursday, districts next week and hopefully the state meet Oct. 29.
As she has all year, junior Lauren Benzing scorched the field for the individual win; dropping to 14:21 over the course, her personal best. “It was a perfect day for running. The wind at our backs helped me on that uphill stretch (on the back side of the course),” said Benzing. With the postseason now here, she’s anticipating the speed work and team building in the season’s final days.
Her help was not far behind– again. Springville-Central City’s Arden Betzer was runner-up, but with displacement scoring (because Betzer did not run with a five-runner team), Solon freshman Alex Smith notched second in the team finish, with her 15:26. And close behind her were sophomore Tayvia Hansen (seventh, 16:00), senior Leah Adams (eighth, 16:02) and sophomore Bailey Kelsay (16th, 16:22). Senior Abby Ashton (19th, 16:33) and junior Mallory Carr (30th, 16:47) outran most of the 115-girl field, too.
And the barrage did not let up on the junior varsity course, either. Solon swept the top five places in that earlier race over the same course. Senior Anna Kosek (16:58), freshmen Molly Walkner (17:00), Carlyn Haas (17:00), Katie Folkerts (17:21) and sophomore Tarrah Wentzien (17:28) landing a perfect score of 15. And the next five Solon girls (Corri Goldsmith, Mileah Mesch, Jadyn Miller, Emily Moore and Sydney Gerdts) all packed into the top 20. That level of competition helps both teams. Had the JV team been swapped with the varsity Saturday, Solon still would have finished eighth, with 188 points…. right behind perennial cross country power Monticello.
Earlier in the week, Solon picked up another meet title. At Wellman, in the IMS Invitational, Benzing posted a 14:48 time for the win… Smith was third (15:47), Adams fifth (16:10) and Hansen sixth (16:11). Their 27 points outdistancing Williamsburg (63 points), Clear Creek-Amana (119) and by eight other full teams.
Heading into conference this week, five of the 15 state-ranked Class 3A teams will be on the course in Mount Vernon. “We are excited and ready to be starting the competitive part of our season,” admitted Williams.