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Times improve for boys; work now on closing the gap

Hinman finishes 8th at Regina invitational
Tyler Bilskie nears the finish line during the varsity 5K at the Regina-hosted Bob Brown Invitational cross country meet Sept. 5.

IOWA CITY– Solon’s boys are getting the pack idea down.
Their job over the next few cross country meets is to move it up as the finish line approaches.
With sophomore Gabe Hinman cracking the top 10 at the Regina-hosted Bob Brown Invitational, the Spartans didn’t have another runner cross the finish line for a minute and a half. Hinman, 25th ranked among Class 3A boys, turned in a 17:45 finish; good for eighth place at the Sept. 5 Regina meet.
As a team, Solon ran ninth in the 13-school meet. Still, their coaches see progress being made. “Almost all of the varsity boys improved their times from last year; five of them by over a minute. I am proud of how they are running right now. We are stronger then we were last year,” assessed head coach Emy Williams. “We are working on closing that gap between Gabe and them and then, closing the gap between our second through fifth runners.”
A team’s first five runners are where points are determined in a cross country meet. At Iowa City, junior Ben DeValk’s 19:13 was good for 52nd, as he crossed second for Solon. Tyler Bilskie, another junior was 62nd in the 113-runner pack (19:49). Also scoring for Solon were sophomores Oliver Burns (20:04) (65th) and Ty Becicka 20:35 (78th).
Within 40 seconds of those five, came teammates Gabe Yetley, Nate Ferguson, Noelan Garbes, Brad Yeomans and Ethan McLaughlin within a 20-second span.
Winning the 5-kilometer race was Class 2A top-ranked Tipton, with 69 points; with Caleb Shumaker, the top ranked individual 2A runner, capturing the title. Liberty High (73) was second. Class 3A third-ranked Clear Creek-Amana (CCA), also 73, was nudged to third place through the tie breaker. Liberty’s sixth runner finished 43rd. CCA’s No. 6 finisher trailed, at 49th. Western Dubuque (75) was nearly in the mix, too. Marion– ranked fifth in boys 3A– was fifth (115), with Monticello sixth (199).
They were followed by Mount Vernon-Lisbon (207), Calamus-Wheatland (230), Solon (237), Wilton (264), Regina (297), West Liberty (329) and Anamosa (332).
In the junior varsity run, Solon’s top finishers were sophomore Nolan Pauley (21:28, 30th) and freshman Lewis Sutton (21:45, 41st).
The boys’ next meet– following a Tipton race that had been set for Tuesday– is Saturday, Sept. 14, in Atkins, hosted by Benton Community.