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Solon Lady Spartans tackle indoor meets

A cold, snowy March has made indoor track meets a popular venue. Though events and entries are limited with shorter tracks and limited space, they provide a good look for coaches and athletes ahead of the end-of-March through May outdoor season.
Through three indoor meets, Solon’s girls are providing some of the answers. Still, with spring break taking away a large share of the team… and this week’s first outdoor meet cancelled, there are plenty of questions.
No scores were kept at the indoor meets, which encourages coaches to experiment with relay combinations or new events, marking time until the whole team is on hand. “I have a pretty good idea what we can expect from those coming back (from last year) but need to find out about some of the new people,” explained girls coach Brent Sands.
Junior Rylee Smith provided one of the answers; winning the 55 meter hurdles at the WaMaC indoor meet March 19 in Mount Vernon. Her 8.82 seconds edged Clear Creek-Amana’s Mia Smith (8.91). Smith anchored Solon’s State Meet-placing shuttle hurdle relay team in 2012, but questions remain. Graduation and an injury have opened two of the four slots, with Sands looking to a couple freshmen from a record-setting eighth grade foursome.
From there, the Spartans figure to mix and match veterans with newcomers. “It’s pretty evident that Jordan Smith will be a great help to us,” noted Sands, after the transfer sophomore’s 1:02.36 indoor win in the 400 meters. Her 27.67 200 meters was good for fourth and a 15’2 long jump placed fifth.
That 400 meter distance is a key heading into the outdoor season. “Karly Kramer has run everything from 100 to 400 the last couple years. I expect we will be asking her to do all those again. Haley Bell will probably do everything in those ranges, as well. Jadyn Miller (moving from 800s to 400s) continues to impress me. She finished very strong last year and seems ahead of where she had been,” Sands said.
Miller teamed with seniors Kramer and Jessica Brimeyer and sophomore 800 leg Molly Walkner to grab first place (4:36.39) in the distance relay at WaMaC. Sands noted that Walkner has turned in a few very good 800s early this season. Brimeyer, Rylee Smith and Bell finished 3-5-7 in the 55 meter dash.
Just 24 hours before, the Spartans were on the indoor track at the UNI-Dome for the Dickinson Indoor State meet. “Our 4x200 relay team (Rylee Smith, Brimeyer, Kramer…with Jordan Smith replacing departed senior Emily Bransky) was almost a full second better than our time last year,” said Sands. “Shelby Gunnells (in the shot put) threw about a foot farther than she did at our first indoor meet. Really, so far, everybody is ahead of where they were a year ago.”
A warm weather move outdoors is the next step needed, as Solon heads into the outdoor schedule.