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Drake performances highlight busy week for girls

Rylee Smith in her 100-meter hurdles heat at the Drake Relays. (photo by Norv Coblentz)

DES MOINES– Spread across three days, the Drake Relays capped a three-meet week for Solon in track. The Lady Spartans’ efforts were highlighted by a fifth-place finish by Kara Misel in the shot put (40’10) and Lauren Benzing’s eighth-place finish in the 1,500 meters, her 4:45.71 cutting 10 seconds off her qualifying time.
Drake performers are in an elite field, with all Iowa high schools fighting for the few open slots in the meet as opposed to going up against only those in their enrollment class. Misel doubled up at Drake, taking 12th in the discus, throwing 122’5. Benzing also competed in the 3,000, finishing 13th in 10:32.12, and ran on the 4x800 relay with Mallory Carr, Alyssa Rickels and Molly Walkner. Their 9:49.33 was 14th.
Also competing for the Solon girls in the elite field were Rylee Smith (16.82 in the 100 hurdles); Smith, Jessica Brimeyer, Emily Ira and Karly Kramer (52.31 in the 4x100 relay); Brimeyer, Carr, Kramer and Jordan Smith (1:49.90 in the 4x200 relay); and Jordan Smith (15’8 1/4 in the long jump).
Even with key performers missing at the Drake Relays, Solon still managed fourth place at Clear Creek Amana’s Pacha Relays April 25. The Spartans still notched four wins and placed in all but four of the 19 events. It was ‘same event, different name’ in the shot put winner’s slot. With Kara Misel in Des Moines for the Drake shot put, Shelby Gunnells had a 36’3 heave for first. However, younger sister Katy Misel stepped up from junior varsity to finish fourth (32’5) in the varsity competition. Alex Smith moved out to the 3,000 meter win (11:22.41). Kari Vance was the 100 hurdles winner (16.64) and Katie Folkerts dropped another half-second to claim the 400 hurdles title (1:11.36).
Mount Vernon took the team title with 116 points. In a fight for runner-up, Clear Creek-Amana (99) was second, followed by Williamsburg (97) and Solon (94). From there, it was BGM (63), Regina (44), Tipton (41) and Davenport Assumption (34).
Solon’s girls doubled up on the competition, storming to the team title at Center Point-Urbana April 22. The Spartans’ 168 points were more than runner-up Center Point-Urbana’s 76 and Clear Creek-Amana’s 71 combined. North Linn (66) was fourth, followed by Monticello (58), West Branch (50), Springville (34), Edgewood-Colesburg (30), Jesup (23) and Alburnett (12).
Logging seven first place finishes and a combination of double-places helped drive up Solon’s score. Katie Folkerts recorded her first win in the 400 hurdles; dropping nearly a second (to 1:11.84) from her previous best. Jordan Smith was a double-winner, in the 400-meter (1:01.40) and the 200-meter (26.87). Kara Misel was first in the shot put (39’5 3/4). Lauren Benzing (500.95) took the 1,500. Relay combinations in the 4x100 (Rylee Smith, Emily Ira, Jessica Brimeyer and Sydney Lawson, 52.08) and distance medley (Kari Vance, Haley Bell, Mallory Carr and Benzing, 4:22.19) also brought first-place points.
The Spartans’ depth showed beyond the wins and 21 other varsity places with a strong junior varsity (JV) showing, too. Katy Misel kept it in the family with a JV first place in the shot (31’5). Allison Kral, Lauren Geistkemper, McKenzie Patrick and Madi Shafer ran first in the sprint medley (2:05.63) with Tori Zenisek, Alexa Roeder, Kral and Patrick coming back for first in the JV 4x100 (59.13).