Team depth, placing in all 19 events– including wins in eight– had the Lady Spartans doubling up again April 30 at the Monticello Invitational. Solon cashed in with double-place winners in eight of the 12 individual events.
The girls rolled to196 points, more than twice what runner up Anamosa (73) could muster. They, Monticello (72), Mount Vernon (69) and West Branch (59.5) chased each other, battled for second through fifth place. Rounding out the field were Regina (34), North Cedar (32), Dyersville Beckman (29½) and Prince of Peace-Clinton (10).
With a delayed WaMaC East Division conference meet now on Monday, May 7, Solon will see a short turnaround to districts Thursday, May 10. The girls state meet is May 16 through 18, in Des Moines.
This is where that depth can pay off. It provides a chance to shift the lineup; maybe see who might perform better in a given relay, or by moving up or down in distance. “It gives us the creativity, the flexibility in aligning everybody. We might shuffle it after districts; getting the lineup for state,” noted coach Brent Sands.
Senior Mallory Carr has been one of a half-dozen or more girls who are part of that chess game to see where everyone fits best. A solid 800-meter runner for three years, this spring she has run 200s, 400s, even the shuttle hurdle relay once– along with her traditional race. “Judging by what I have run, that’s a pretty good example shared by most of the team,” reasoned Carr. “I don’t worry about missing a spot. The team effort can fill it.”
“Mallory showed late last year she could run 200s. We know it now. That (speed work) has even made her 800 times stronger. It gives us options,” said Sands.
That depth starts with the field events. Sure, Kara Misel again won the shot and the discus;,setting the school record in the shot put with a heave of 42 foot, 7 and one-half inches; with a 128-foot 5-inch toss in the discus. But support came through big from teammate Shelby Gunnells, claiming third in the shot (37-4) and fourth in the discus (105-6).
From there, other Solon firsts included the 1,500-meter run (Alyssa Rickels, 5:20.18 with Alex Smith second in 5:22.86); the 100 hurdles (Rylee Smith, 16.42, with Kari Vance second, 17.00); the 4x800 relay (Molly Walkner, Katie Folkerts, Alex Smith, Lauren Brokaw, 10:19.52); 1,600 medley relay (Emily Ira, Karly Kramer, Haley Bell, Lauren Benzing, 4:25.80); the 4x100 relay (Rylee Smith, Bell, Jessica Brimeyer, Sydney Lawson, 51.94); and the 4x400 relay (Benzing, Jadyn Miller, Bell, Jordan Smith, 4:12.29).
Also putting the last regular season meet way out of reach were Bell and Kramer, second and third in the 200; Brimeyer and Ira, third and fourth in the 100; Jadyn Miller and Madi Shafer, second and third in the 400; Brokaw, second in the 800; Carlyn Haas, fourth in the 3,000; and Katie Folkerts and Lindsey Reicks, third and sixth in the 400 hurdles. Jordan Smith was second in the long jump (15’9.5”). Olivia Erenberger nailed third in the high jump (4’2”).
Relay help came from the 4x200 (second, with Brimeyer, Carr, Lawson and Jordan Smith); the 800 medley (third with Ira, Kramer, Vance, Carr); and the shuttle hurdle relay (second with Rylee Smith, Vance, Lawson, Erenberger).
So, how does a school record feel? “I knew, going in, I felt really good. My warmup tosses were pretty nice,” recalled senior Kara Misel. She had just come off a personal best throw (40’10) at last week’s Drake Relays. “I scratched on my third (of four) throws. I just looked at Kelsey (Cave, who was watching) and said ‘make sure I stay in the ring!’ I’ve been fighting to stay in the ring the last few weeks.”
Then came the heave: 42 feet, seven and one-half inches; bringing a big smile to her face. It broke the record, set in 2005 (42’, three and one-quarter inches) by Quinn Morelock.
So, which was more fun: hitting 40 feet this season, or the record? “Oh, it was definitely more fun setting the school record,” smiled Misel, picturing it one more time.