• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Solon captures first cross country title this season

Girls win, boys third at Williamsburg XC
Solon’s girls celebrate their first cross country title of the season, Sept. 26, at Williamsburg. Turn to page 2B for details. (photo by Joe Wilkinson)

By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist

WILLIAMSBURG– Cloudy and cool was a welcome change… and so was the team title. Solon’s girls raced to their first 2017 win at the Raider Invitational cross country meet, Sept. 26, in Williamsburg. Leading the way, with her first high school win, was freshman Kiersten Conway.
With a smaller field, just four full (seven-runner) teams, the Lady Spartans packed all five scoring runners into the top-nine spots for a 25-point team total, besting fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Williamsburg’s 37. Tipton was third (86), with Lynnville-Sully fourth (92). Three other schools fielded partial (fewer than five runners) non-scoring teams.
Though she has finished in the top three-to-nine slots all season, Conway thought the view was pretty good from the front.
“It felt really good,” declared Conway. “We were competing against teams we don’t always see. The weather was good; cloudy and cooler, the course was flat. I really thought I could run rather fast across this course.”
At 20:17 over the 5 kilometers, she finished 34 seconds ahead of runner-up Cheyenne Shaw, of North Mahaska.
As a bonus, Conway cracked the IATC top-30 3A individual rankings (at 29th) the day before the meet.
“Kiersten with the win? It was exciting for her to get that,” applauded coach Emy Williams. “Great effort by the other girls, too, stepping up to beat runners who finished ahead of them at our home meet a week earlier. It’s great to see them all run together. For most, it was their fastest race of the year.”
Teammates Sophie Nicol and Erin Kerkhoff (each in 20:58) were fourth and fifth overall (third and fourth in the team scoring). Packing into the top of the 40-girl field were Ella Düster, eighth in the team breakdown and Nicole Shafer ninth (each at 21:29). Backing them were freshman Ashley Stinocher (13th, 22:15) and junior Saige Hauer (15th, 22:26). Nicol had a faster time once this season. Each of the six logged their year’s best.
“We got out strong, fast as a pack and kept it up,” noted Kerkhoff. “Talking a little about ‘gotta catch that girl’ through the race. I felt strong that second mile. Now, I want to hold that pace for the rest of the season. That’ll be my goal.”
With several smaller schools on the course, Solon was the only full junior varsity (JV) team. So, it was a matter of beating as many runners as they could catch. Solon’s Aira Foster (22:57), Calista Haasl (23:13) and Selma Kleinsmith (23:46) ran times lodging them about 20th to 24th in the combined varsity/JV field.

Boys third; best team finish of season
The cooler weather at Williamsburg felt great to Solon senior Carl Richey. Just eight days earlier, in muggy 90-degree conditions at Solon, he finished the race but went down with dehydration. A week of light duty followed, monitoring his recovery.
“Right after, I was off for three days, didn’t run at (the last) meet; couldn’t get out much in 90 degrees. I went for a 15-20 minute weekend jog,” said Richey, outlining his cautious comeback. Yet, he turned over an 18:30 at Williamsburg, 30 seconds faster than the week earlier, good for 13th place in the 49-runner field.
“I like this course. It’s one of the flatter ones. I got out as hard as I could; (but) brought that down to a trot about halfway, then slowly moved up in the second mile,” reviewed Richey. “In the final mile I picked out three, four guys to pass, and went all out in the last hundred yards.”
As a team, Solon finished third in the seven-school, 49-runner field. Class 2A, second-ranked Tipton (22 points) and No. 6 Williamsburg (35) were the teams to outrun the 3A Spartans (93). Following were Belle Plaine (114), North Mahaska (157), English Valleys (160) and Lynnville- Sully (168). HLV and Meskwaki had incomplete squads. Ben Lamparek, of Williamsburg, took the individual title in 17:04.
“On the boys’ side, almost all were faster than they were at Williamsburg last year,” noted Williams. “Carl looked strong and the rest of the boys are getting stronger. We have a lot of younger runners stepping up.”
Solon got help from junior Andrew Bransky (17th overall, 18:44) the second Spartan across the finish line. Sophomore Ethan Kober (18th, 18:48) was right behind. Freshmen Tyler Bilskie (22nd, 19:03), as well as Richey’s younger brother, Edward (20th, 19:11) were on their heels. Senior Logan Yakish (25th, 19:19) and a third freshman, Ben DeValk (26th, 19:25), were in the mix, too.
With a meet slated for earlier this week at Wellman, both teams now aim for the big North Linn Invitational, Saturday, Oct. 6.