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Girls take the hardware at Anamosa cross country meet

Conway, Bock lead the way for Lady Spartans
The muddy course shows as Solon sophomores Meg O’Neill and Kaia Holtkamp head for the hilly portion on the Anamosa Invitational course, Sept. 28. The Solon girls won their second meet title of the season. (photos by Joe Wilkinson)

ANAMOSA– There were a couple adjustments in the finishes, but it was still good for a meet title, as Solon outran the 10 (full) team field Sept. 28 in Anamosa. It was the girls’ second meet title this season.
Kiersten Conway (fourth place overall, 20:33) and Emma Bock (fifth, 20:49) swapped places again, as Solon’s one-two runners, pacing the 11th ranked (Class 3A) Lady Spartans over a wet, hilly course– on a meet morning that bordered on chilly, for the first time this season.
“Our girls’ team as a whole looked strong. We had six in the top 20 in the varsity race and six JV (junior varsity) girls medaling, in the top 15 there,” offered head coach Emy Williams. “Mara Düster ran a strong race– a personal record– in her first time in the varsity lineup.”
Freshman Mary Fiala continued pushing the team leaders, notching eighth place (21:04). Sophomore Meghan O’Neill was 12th (21:57) between Fiala and fellow frosh Düster (16th at 22:05) to combine for Solon’s 40 point total. “I think it went really well. We did some hills this week in practice. That really helped. We had a few hills today,” reviewed O’Neill. Anamosa’s hills are no mountains, but have short, steep slopes, often with quick turns, just as it gets vertical.
Monticello, third-ranked in Class 2A, was second with 70 points. Tipton (115) was third. Springville-Central City (second-ranked in 2A), with meet medalist and second-ranked Emily Staal at 18:44, was fourth (130 points). North Linn, 15th in 1A, was fifth (146), with South Winneshiek, 14th in 1A, sixth (166). From there, it was Cascade (168), Anamosa (173), Fort Madison (179) and Cedar Rapids Jefferson (200) filling out the team standings. Not running five-member teams were Camanche, Isaac Newton Christian and Midland.
With a short stretch from runners four through seven, Solon’s pack is picking up strength as the season moves on. “I really like running with the pack. It’s easier to push each other,” said O’Neill. “Each of us takes the lead once in a while, so it’s not like you’re pushing yourself the whole race. Your teammate’s pace carries you some of the way.”
And the pace of the junior varsity runners pushes the team, too. Aira Foster won the JV race in 22:52, a full minute ahead of her closest competitor, from Monticello. Grace Fiala, Reilly Johnson and Lilly Houtakker went five-seven-eight in the 40 runner field, with Jadyn Hanes (11th) to wrap up scoring. Pushing them were teammates Bella Feaker (13th) and Gracie Chapman.
With postseason ahead this month, the pace has picked up. “We started working on short, faster workouts the rest of the season,” said Williams. With a trip this week to Williamsburg, the Lady Spartans move Saturday toward their turn around North Linn’s course.