By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist
CENTER POINT– It’s back home for districts Oct. 24 as Solon’s cross country teams determine whether they run once more at the 2013 state meet.
Solon’s boys launched their postseason run with sixth place at the WaMaC Conference meet in Center Point Thursday, Oct. 17. The girls finished second. “It was a great night. We had 40 personal records from the 53 boys and girls running,” noted coach Emy Williams.
This week, from each of five Class 3A qualifying meets, only three teams emerge with a ticket to state. The 15-school field at Solon will include five ranked girls’ teams– including the Lady Spartans– and four from the boys’ side. The top 10 individuals advance, as well. “We would love to have as many spectators as possible Thursday (at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area; 4 p.m. girls, 4:30 p.m. boys) to see what cross country is all about,” invited Williams.
Appleget, McGill lead boys
At Center Point, junior Ty Appleget and senior Patrick McGill ran seventh and ninth in the 94-runner field, around the school grounds. “I like the flat courses; it was really fast. Credit to Ty, too. I gotta stay close to him,” said McGill. “From here, I make sure I stay healthy, lots of sleep, keep my legs well rested (for districts). The rest of the team, too; take care of ourselves to create the best chance possible.”
The rest of Solon’s varsity seven packed together from 33rd to 50th; with senior David Coberly (17:50), sophomore Simon Düster (37th, 18:01), junior Josh Prybil (40th, 18:03), senior Nik Rehnke (47th, 18:11) and senior Taylor Walkner (18:19) pushing each other through the 5 kilometers. “The boys are running well in a pack. We are working on moving that pack up and not just settling in,” noted Williams.
Center Point-Urbana, with 68 points, won the conference title, with Vinton-Shellsburg (74) right behind. From there, it was Mount Vernon Lisbon (95) and Marion (109), all rated in the Iowa Association of Track Coaches’ Class 3A top-15. Following were Clear Creek Amana (121), Solon (126), 13th-ranked Williamsburg (143), then Western Dubuque, Benton, West Delaware, Central DeWitt, Maquoketa, Independence and Dyersville Beckman.
In the junior varsity (JV) race, it was another pack that pushed the Spartans to second overall, behind only Mount Vernon in the crowded 12-school, 158-runner field. Sophomore Keegan Hess (18:26) was ninth, followed closely by junior Keegan Paisley (18:33) 12th, sophomore Joe Regan (18:34) 13th and freshman Adam Smith (18:43) 18th. Sophomore Walker Sea was 27th (19:12).
Also running JV in the last meet of the year were Austin Hunt, Ben Hancock, Cole Paisley, Jake Singkofer, Parker Mueller, Louis Gnida, Eric Holtorf, Preston Miller, Payton Stahle, Marcus Ortiz, Hunter Gerhke, Charlie Jedlicka, Elijah Kane, Zach Cusick and Cherif Longou.
Smith, Folkerts, Hansen top-10 for girls
With three runners in the top 10, Solon’s girls had a firm grip on second in the 15-team WaMaC Conference cross country meet. With juniors Alex Smith fourth (15:39), Katie Folkerts eighth (15:44) and Tayvia Hansen ninth (15:46), the Lady Spartans (84 points) were the only team close to WaMaC champ Mount Vernon-Lisbon (66) at the Oct. 17 meet in Center Point.
Trailing them were Western Dubuque (131), West Delaware (170), then Central DeWitt, Center Point-Urbana, Benton, Marion, Anamosa, Clear Creek Amana, Maquoketa, Independence and Dyersville Beckman.
“I’m starting to realize I have more in me during the race, than I thought,” noted Folkerts. “I’m starting to stay within sight of Alex, now. Tayvia and I push each other to stay near the top of the pack, too. At district? Everyone needs to pack it up; to run together.” Solon’s second pack came with junior Molly Walkner (31st, 16:26), sophomore Trish Coberly (32nd, 16:26), junior Carlyn Haas (39th, 16:47) and junior Mileah Mesch (45th, 16:56).
The Lady Spartans lock horns with four other Class 3A ranked teams for one of the three berths to state, at district. They have beaten two of them– Mount Vernon-Lisbon and Mount Pleasant– at one meet or another this season. They have also finished behind them, as well as Cedar Rapids Xavier and Davenport Assumption, in others.
The solution? Move up the pack. “Getting the girls to pack it up and close the distance between our two packs,” assessed coach Williams. “We will do better if we can close that gap. We scaled back (the mileage) this week to keep our legs fresh, so they are ready to run Thursday.”
The power teams in the WaMaC Conference showed up in the junior varsity standings, too. It was Williamsburg (26), Mount Vernon-Lisbon (82), Solon (84) running one-two-three, with Western Dubuque (91) close by. In the top-20 for Solon were Junior Sydney Gerdts (eighth, 17:19) who led the 167-runner field for the first half-mile. Joining her were freshman Kylie Holubar (11th, 17:25), sophomore Laurin Brokaw (19th, 17:46), senior Emmy Moore (20th, 17:47) were all top-20 for Solon. Sophomore Shae Goldsberry was 27th (18:04).
Also in the Solon pack were sophomore Karly Benzing, freshman Lauren Fisher, senior Emily Capper, in the top 40, along with sophomores Jade Flansburg, Eva Platzs, junior Madi Shafer, freshman Katie Feldcamp, senior Carissa Siddell, sophomore Andria Kakacek, senior Holly Regan, freshman Sydney Stegeman, Senior Alyssa Stotler, freshman Sarah Roy and junior Allie Koffron.