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With a season pending, Spartan track team remains poised

SOLON– Supported by an experienced coaching staff, the boys’ track and field team maintains its focus on the delayed 2020 season.
Head Coach Mark Sovers took a few moments to share his anticipation of the season and maintained his commitment to providing a unique opportunity for his team to develop and grow closer to the best version of who they are as an athlete, and most importantly a person. It’s been his focus throughout his 24 years teaching and coaching the track and field program at Solon High School.
“Very blessed to have the opportunity over the last 24 years,” Coach Sovers said. “To work with great families and very talented student athletes.”
Returning to aid Coach Sovers with his program are Assistants Brad Wymer and Emy Williams.
Wymer is on board for his ninth year coaching track at Solon and Sovers is proud of Wymer’s ability to mold successful throwers and build a “family” of achievement.
“(A) Family-first individual who can coach the throwing events at an incredibly high level,” Sovers elaborated. “Coach Wymer brings out the best in his athletes through modeling important characteristics of success and developing a passion in his athletes for what they are doing.”
Williams has become a key tool for Coach Sovers’ distance program and has received accolades of her own as head coach of Solon’s cross country programs, which draw recognition and large participation numbers of their own.
“(A) tremendous person and former Solon athlete who has the ability to bring out the best in the people around her,” Coach Sovers complimented.
The team returns 18 letter winners, he said.
“The seniors are a group that are ready to step into a leadership role and be the best they can be in the role that will be given to them,” Coach Sovers noted. “Our sprint relays will need people like the upper classmen to step in and continue the tradition.”
Seniors competing for the Spartans include: Brayton Bair running middle distance events, Jack Bell and Miles Fuller running in the sprints, Thomas Brandt competing in the hurdles, Hayes Diersen and Nolan Pattison contending in the throws, and Payton Herdliska contesting the jumps.
The strong, upcoming underclassmen includes juniors: Tyler Bilskie and Ben DeValk representing Solon in distance events; Colton Hoffman and Eddie Richey serving extra duty for the Spartans in the jumps and sprints; Bo Janssen, Brayden Rickertson and Brad Yeomans contesting the middle distance events; and Jackson Ryan bolstering the team in the hurdles and sprints.
“Really excited about the leadership stepping up from our juniors, 16 of them on the team,” Coach Sovers elaborated. “They have a really good mix of athletes ready to contribute in all events. Very good example of what our team will be all about this year, ready for the opportunity ahead of them to step in and carry on the tradition of Solon track and field.”
Sophomores Ty Becicka and Oliver Burns aide the team in distance events and Parker Pentico answers the call in the jumps and sprint events.
Coach Sovers praised the underclassmen and the potential they promise to bring to the events this year.
“The freshmen and sophomores,” he praised. “Very pleased with them so far and the way they are investing in themselves. I really appreciate them and their willingness to invest in their teammates. They will be able to contribute in the middle distance events.”
Coach Sovers’ 24 years have seen success, due mostly in part to the expectations early in the season and the programs ability to build strong athletes and young men of character.
He bore no reservation conveying his expectations.
“New faces that are set to make an impact,” he cited. “(Senior) Michael Broghammer (in the) throws, (sophomore) Gabe Hinnman (in) distance.”
He continued, listing, “Breakout season potential: (Senior) Hayes Diersen throws– state qualifier last year in the discus. (Senior) Thomas Brandt hurdles– state qualifier 400-meter low hurdles. (Juniors) Zach Harp throws, Colton Hoffman sprints/jumps, Ben DeValk distance, Tyler Bilskie distance, Bo Janssen middle distance, Brayden Rickertson middle distance, (and sophomore) Oliver Burns distance.”
Coach Sovers praised the team’s excitement and preseason preparation prior to being run afoul by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the experience and talent we lost from last year, this year’s team has embraced the challenge of this season as ‘Their Time,’” he noted.
He continued, “More time has been invested leading up to the season and they have literally ‘hit the ground running.’ To their credit, we feel like we have stepped up the expectations in practice and we are ready to see it play out in their performance. They have embraced the opportunity ahead of them and the important role each of them will play.”
With Gov. Kim Reynolds extending the closure of schools to the end of April, there is still hope the season will play out either later, in its entirety, or in some sort of abbreviated season. Either way, the coaches and team are hopeful they will get their time in the sun.
“We will be balanced this year on the track,” Sovers said. “Leaning more on our distance to middle distance with the most experience returning in this area.”
“We are trying to continue the momentum during this time of physical distancing and find ways to connect,” Coach Sovers assured. “The silver lining in this whole situation is now people have to be intentional with their time in staying connected with others. We will continue to worry about the things we have control over and hope to compete at some point this spring.”