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Joe Wilkinson

Boys tie for title, tiebreaker forces second

Girls win division at Ballard invite

BALLARD– The anticipated cross country showdown, between Class 3A’s No. 1 Ballard Bombers girls and No. 7 Solon’s Lady Spartans was not to be. The Sept. 14 near upset, though, came from Solon’s No. 5 3A boys, who went down to the wire with back-to-back state 1A champions Madrid.

First and second at Spartan Cross Country Invitational

SOLON– Approaching midseason, Solon’s cross country teams are leaning heavily on their depth to finish at– or near– the top of the standings.
That was driven home at Solon’s Sept. 21 home meet, at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area. Varsity boys shook off a one-point bump to second from their last meet to a close first place this week. With three top-10 runners, the Spartans pushed past Bettendorf, and a 52-59 win. In the junior varsity (JV) meet, they were second, 30-39 to Mount Vernon-Lisbon.

Clean sweep

Solon XC boys, girls and JV all win at Tipton

TIPTON– The cold and rain were certainly not welcome, but the results made it worth the soggy wait for Solon runners and fans at the Tipton Invitational Cross Country Meet Sept. 8.
Solon came home with wins in not only the varsity girls’ and boys’ race, but both junior varsity (JV) events, as well.
The coaches call that hard work and reaching a goal.

Wave of the future? Kind of confusing

Girls 2nd, boys 4th at divided Bob Brown Invitational

IOWA CITY– Solon’s girls finished second, with the boys cross country teams taking fourth, in a revamped version of Regina’s Bob Brown Invitational Cross Country meet, Sept. 3.
Trouble is… they only ran directly against about half the runners there.

Boys, girls each run 3rd, in cross country season kickoff

ANAMOSA– Same meet… different look, as Solon’s cross country teams opened the 2020 season. Usually held in midseason, the Anamosa Invitational was first on the calendar this year. It ushered in a new look, as COVID-19 precautions meant different training, team transportation, meet preparation, social distancing on the course and masks on many– certainly not all– spectators in the Aug. 29 meet.

No school? No spring sports. And no track

SOLON– Everyone hoped for better.
In the face of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called on schools in mid-March to shut down on-site education. Spring sports– girls’ and boys’ track, soccer and golf¬– were suspended.
Still, a framework existed for a possible three-meet end of season finish had there been a return to the classroom

Girls track starts strong at UD, Dickinson

COVID-19 makes it ‘wait and see’

DUBUQUE– With spring break this week, it is especially quiet in the classroom and out on the track. What lies ahead with the coronavirus pandemic should show major changes in how classroom and outside school activities are conducted through spring, in Solon, in Iowa and across the nation.
But there has been a start. For Solon’s girls, that came March 3, at the University of Dubuque. With a fourth-place finish among 20 Eastern Iowa teams, the Lady Spartans logged 40.5 points.
On the way there, they picked up first- through fifth-place points in six of the 11 indoor events.

Solon girls 7th at state XC

Now, it’s reload for 2020!

FORT DODGE– With a brisk midday wind, and temperature struggling to hit 40 degrees, Solon’s girls capped their cross country season on a high note. Basically matching their final ranking in the polls (which ranged from 12th to sixth through the second half of the season), the Lady Spartans finished seventh of the 15 regional qualifying teams on the turf Nov. 2, for the Class 3A state meet at Kennedy Park Golf Course in Fort Dodge.

Hinman in top tier at 3a state cross country

Solon sophomore finishes 35th at Ft. Dodge

FORT DODGE– Turning on the jets with less than a half-mile to go, Solon sophomore Gabe Hinman threaded his way through the pack. He picked up some valuable real estate at the Kennedy Park Golf (and cross country) course, Saturday, finishing 35th at the Class 3A state cross country meet.
“Gabe had a great meet,” applauded head coach Emy Williams. “He ran most of the race in 43rd place. In the last 400 meters he caught a lot of runners and ended up 35th. His experience from the year before (when he finished 46th as a freshman) helped, too.

On to state! Solon girls win XC regional

SOLON– It was a tight finish.
However, with all five scoring runners in the top 20, Solon’s girls punched their ticket to state. Next stop? The starting line, Kennedy Park, Fort Dodge; noon, Saturday, at the Class 3A state cross country meet.

Hinman back to state

Boys fifth at state qualifier

SOLON– For Solon sophomore Gabe Hinman, it’ll be another afternoon on the links. But not for golf. He joins more than 100 other runners… and a couple thousand screaming, mobile fans at Kennedy Park Golf Course Saturday, Nov. 2, for the 2019 Iowa State High School Cross Country Meet.
Finishing 11th at Solon’s Oct. 24 Class 3A qualifying meet, Hinman will be in a starting box, 12:30 p.m., in Fort Dodge. He will be one of a couple dozen individual runners, in the 3A race. He also qualified a year ago, as a freshman, finishing 46th.

WaMaC last week; state qualifier Thursday for Solon boys

MANCHESTER– Solon’s boys hit seventh place in the Oct. 17 WaMaC cross country conference standings. They look now at the state qualifying meet, this week (Thursday, Oct. 24) at home.