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WaMaC last week; state qualifier Thursday for Solon boys

Gabe Hinman, with a seventh-place finish, is Solon’s First Team All-WaMaC boys’ representative. (contributed photo)

MANCHESTER– Solon’s boys hit seventh place in the Oct. 17 WaMaC cross country conference standings. They look now at the state qualifying meet, this week (Thursday, Oct. 24) at home.
The WaMaC Conference meet, at Manchester, was a new look for runners from many of the 14 schools. “The course was pretty awesome. We liked those long downhills; you could really stride out and get going,” noted Solon junior Tyler Bilskie. “We wanted to see how we stacked up against Mount Vernon. We’re running against them at districts. We didn’t get to see West Delaware yet, either. We were hoping for sixth or seventh.”
Bilskie was the No. 3 runner across for the Spartans, in 18:11, 43rd overall. He followed sophomore teammate Gabe Hinman (seventh overall, 16:56) and junior Ben DeValk (29th, 17:47) over the criss-cross 5K around Hart Ridge Golf Course. Sophomore Nate Ferguson was a tick behind Bilskie, at 44th. Rounding out the scoring for the Spartans…Noelan Garbes (18:25) was 50th in the field of 95 varsity runners. Just back of him came Ty Becicka (53rd, 18:34) and Brad Yeomans (55th, 18:56).
“There were a lot of fast times. It is the first time that all our boys were under 19 minutes,” noted head coach Emy Williams. “Of the 26 boys that ran (varsity and JV) 18 had season bests and 12 of those were all time personal records. Both boys and girls team ran well.”
Clear Creek Amana ran away with the boys’ title, charting the second, third, fourth, eighth and 17th runners on their way to a 30-point low score. Center Point-Urbana– with individual champion Eli Larson (16:12)– was second with 69 team points. Third was Marion (80), followed by Mount Vernon-Lisbon (101), Williamsburg (136), West Delaware (147) and Solon (173) in seventh. Rounding out the boys’ field came Benton (232), Vinton-Shellsburg (260), South Tama (292), Central DeWitt (302), Independence (350) and Dyersville Beckman (386). Maquoketa did not field a full team.
This week, as the season draws to a close, the focus has been speed, and keeping legs fresh. “Really taking care of my body; rolling out a lot, drinking a lot of water, getting refueled,” predicted Bilskie.