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Depth pays off for Solon XC girls at Bob Brown Invitational

Lady Spartans capture second at Regina meet
Kaia Holtkamp and Mary Fiala make the turn on the backside of the Kickers Complex course during the Sept. 5 Bob Brown Invitational cross country meet in Iowa City. (contributed photos)

IOWA CITY– Three runners in the top-20 led their pack, with Solon’s girls finishing as team runner-up in the annual Bob Brown Invitational cross country meet, Sept. 5 in Iowa City.
Sophomore Emma Bock was eighth, overall– seventh in the team count– across the finish line on the 5-kilometer course, in 21:40. Junior Kiersten Conway (11th overall, 10th in the team scoring), came in at 22:01). The pair swapped their one-two team finish the week prior at the season opener. Teammate Meghan O’Neill (22:32) was 18th. Kaia Holtkamp was 22nd, in 22:43, with freshman Mary Fiala 27th, 23:05.
“Our girls’ team is very deep; with 12 or so who could run on the varsity team,” pointed out coach Emy Williams. “Emma and Kiersten right now are leading the pack and in the last two meets the order has been different with different people stepping up.”
Also for the Spartans, Nicole Shafer crossed at 23:10 (28th overall). Aira Foster was right behind 23:12, with Ella Düster (32nd) at 23:21.
Iowa City Liberty– ranked 15th in Class 4A– won the individual and team competition. With her team notching 48 points, Liberty sophomore and top-ranked Ashlyn Keeney’s 18:30 was a minute and a half ahead of the next finisher. Solon, ranked 11th in Class 3A by the state’s coaches’ association, was second with 76 in the team finish. Western Dubuque was third (88), with Monticello (13th ranked, 2A) fourth (114), followed by Marion (135), Mount Vernon-Lisbon (146), Iowa City Regina (155), Clear Creek-Amana (189), Tipton (243), Anamosa (267) and Wilton (332).
Team scores, in cross country, discount the overall finish of runners who do not run with a full (minimum five-runner) team, or who do not finish among their own team’s top five. West Liberty, for instance, had only two runners on the course. They finished sixth and 17th in the 93-girl pack. Their place is recognized in the overall standings. However, runners behind them move past as team scores are totaled. For instance, O’Neill’s 18th overall place slides down to 16th, in Solon’s team finish… and eventual point standings. Other runners are affected likewise.
In the junior varsity (JV) race, seven teams fielded full teams, with Liberty again the winner (41 points). Mount Vernon-Lisbon was runner-up (53), with Solon third (93). Juniors Gracie Chapman (ninth, 26:15), Heather Bachus (17th, 27:11) and Olivia Heesch (20th, 27:34) were Solon’s top JV runners in the field of 96 girls.
“We have two meets this week; the 20-school Tipton invite, scheduled for Tuesday… and at Benton Community, on Saturday,” previewed Williams. “Then we will have our training week, where we get a big push before the last half of the season.”