VINTON– The points came from all over as the Spartans ran away with the WaMaC Conference girls track meet May 3 in Vinton. Nearly doubling the score over runner-up West Delaware, Solon picked up points from 19 girls. They now look toward this week’s state qualifying meet.
The girls relied on four-event winners Lauren Benzing and Emily Bransky in the 16-team super-conference meet, racking up 143 team points. Benzing won the 3000 (10:44.79), the 1500 (4:59.54) and the 800 (2:20.09), then legged the 800-meter anchor on the distance medley. Teammates Emily Ira, Karly Kramer and Jadyn Miller brought the baton around to her. Bransky chalked up her wins in the long jump (16 feet, 10 inches), 100 (12.54) and 200 (25.36) in between anchoring the 4x200 relay. There, she, Jessica Brimeyer, Mallory Carr and Karly Kramer brought the stick around first in 1:47.00. That 200 finish blew away the school record. Rylee Smith delivered the ninth Spartan event win, dipping under 16 seconds (15.96) in the 100 hurdles.
“It was a pretty dominant performance; very strong times and performances. It seemed we were putting it all together,” pronounced coach Brent Sands. “In the (online) Iowa Association of Track Coaches power rankings, it was our best output of the year. Now’s the time to do that.”
The meet quickly turned into a three way dogfight for second, with West Delaware (77 points) edging Williamsburg (76) and Western Dubuque (72). The other 12 WaMaC teams carved up the remainder of the points.
Runner-up points came from Smith, Kramer, Brimeyer and Ira in the 4x100 relay, crossing in 52.04. Kelsey Cave tied for second in the high jump, clearing 5 feet. With a heave of 38 feet, 10.5 inches, Kara Misel claimed second in the shot put. In the relays, the shuttle hurdle relay (Smith, Kari Vance, Caitlin Knoedel and Jennifer Shelman) tacked up a second place finish in 1:08.10.
Carr, Alex Smith, Molly Walkner and Alyssa Rickels picked up fourth place in the 4x800 relay (10:03.80). Madi Shafer (1:03.30) was sixth in the 400, while Molly Walkner (2:30.10) picked up a team point in eighth place. Also fourth was Misel, doubling down in the discus (122 feet, 5 inches). Picking up eighth place in the 4x400 were Carr, Jadyn Miller, Karly Kramer and Shafer (4:15.00).
In a 16-team meet, ‘double placing’ is almost unheard of. Still, Solon padded its victory margin with Leah Adams sixth (11:40.90) in the 3000, and Shelby Gunnells, sixth in the shot put (37 feet 4 inches).
The Spartans now move into postseason mode. Coaches play the chess game, figuring which relay combinations, which solo events could break through at the state level. “A few girls solidified their places,” said Sands, noting Jadyn Miller’s 1:01+ 400 legs in two relays. First, though, they need to make it through districts. “It might put Lauren (Benzing) and Emily (Bransky) through a test... running four events in one night,” Sands said. (before the three-day format at State)
That chess match begins Thursday in DeWitt.