WILLIAMSBURG– Solon’s Lauren Benzing and Alex Smith were the one-two punch as the Spartan girls rolled at the six-team Williamsburg Invitational, Sept. 26. In the boys’ race, Turner Wentzien was fourth– his top finish of the year– to lead his teammates to their half of a Solon twin-win.
Heading into their last two regular season meets this week– IMS at Wellman was scheduled for this past Monday, and North Linn on Saturday– the Spartans also eye the postseason. The WaMaC Conference meet is Oct. 13. And, the long-awaited state-qualifying assignments came out Monday.
Solon’s girls, ranked second in Class 3A, go head to head once more against top-ranked Davenport Assumption at Anamosa, Oct. 20. Mount Vernon-Lisbon, whose girls are ranked 12th, is also in the field. Solon’s boys are looking at seventh-ranked Mount Vernon-Lisbon, 11th-ranked Xavier and No. 13 Fort Madison in their field. The boys were ranked 15th for a couple of weeks in September before slipping out. Only three of the 13 schools move on to the Oct. 29 state meet near Fort Dodge, although top-finishing individuals can advance.
In the girls meet at Williamsburg, meanwhile, Benzing had more than a one-minute lead over the rest of the field, finishing in 14:44 over the 4 kilometer course. Smith crossed in 15:54… with teammates Leah Adams (16:07), Tayvia Hansen (16:12), Bailey Kelsay (16:21) going five-six-seven to cement the win; 21 points… well under Williamsburg’s 46. From there, it went Mid Prairie (106), North Mahaska (124), Belle Plaine (131) and English Valleys (189).
Mallory Carr (16:24) was eighth in the 86-girl field, which had all runners on the course together. Abby Ashton (16:55) was 14th, with Anna Kosek (17:09) next in line. From there, Solon’s Tarrah Wentzien, Carlyn Haas, Molly Walkner, Corri Goldsmith and Katie Folkerts packed together for 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd.
Heading toward the postseason, Benzing is third-ranked in the 3A statewide individual poll, with Smith 13th and Adams 25th.
For the boys at Williamsburg, the team race was a little closer. Wentzien was followed by Omar Longou (17:53) in sixth place, Michael Rundell (18:12) ninth, Chase Gross (18:13) 10th and Patrick McGill (18:20) 11th to rack up 40 points, just under Tipton’s 49. Also running were Mid Prairie (59), Williamsburg (117), HLV (163), Belle Plaine (189) and English Valleys (212).
Brent Kennicott (18:23) in 12th and Zach Slusher (18:27) 14th backed the Spartan pack in the 5 kilometer field of 96 runners. Taylor Walkner (18:39) was 21st and Matt Reiland (19:01) finished 23rd at the top of the junior varsity pack.
In the boys individual 3A rankings, Wentzien and Gross have each been in and out of the top 25 through the season.