MOUNT VERNON– Solon’s pack attack is picking up momentum. The boys finished third in the WaMaC cross country meet last week, with their aim now on Thursday’s state qualifying race.
Mount Vernon outdueled Marion for the team championship; 50 to 82 points. Solon (126 points) won a three-way dogfight for third over Western Dubuque (129) and Vinton-Shellsburg (132). Central DeWitt (159) and West Delaware (168) each cracked 200 points, with the rest of the 16-team field trailing off from there. “They had their strongest race this year and beat some teams that had beaten them earlier,” noted coach Emy Williams.
For Solon, Omar Longou (17:48) and Zach Slusher (17:49) pushed each other to the 14th and 15th spots. Turner Wentzien was 27th ( 18:09) for the Spartans… followed by Chase Gross (18th, 18:33) and Patrick McGill (37th, 18:22). Keegan Paisley (46th, 18:33) and Michael Rundell (54th, 18:45) were close behind among the 110 varsity runners on the sloping course between Cornell College and Mount Vernon High School. Third place matches the Spartans’ conference finish a year ago.
With all five junior varsity place-winners in the top 10, the Spartans ran away with the JV title. Matt Reiland was the individual medalist, crossing in 18:29. Taylor Walkner was next across for Solon (fourth, 18:41). Next across were Brent Kennicott (sixth, 19:00), Quinn Kelsay (seventh, 19:09) and then Kylan Patterson (10th, 19:18) to wrap up the scoring. Ryan Kunkel (17th, 19:44) and David Coberly (18th, 19:46) were on his heels. Jake Singkofer (19:48), Josh Prybil (19:49) and Andrew Barenz (19:50) were the next three across in the largest field of the season; 167 boys across the 5-kilometer course.
“The JV boys ran a tough race. One mile in, Mount Vernon had four runners in front of our group of four. We slowly closed in on them and each boy caught who he needed to catch. I was very proud of how we ran that night,” said Williams.
From here out, it’s varsity only at the state qualifier Thursday in Anamosa. There, three teams will move on to the Oct. 29 State Meet in Fort Dodge. Unranked late this season, Solon’s boys face a field including Marion, Mount Vernon and Fort Madison (ranked 10th, 12th and 14th respectively as the Class 3A regular season ends). Solon finished third at State last year and returns Gross, Longou and Slusher from that team.