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Spartans 7th at Jesse Day Relays

Linderbaum 1st in shot put, Ira 2nd in hurdles

DAVENPORT– The Solon Spartan boys track and field team traveled to Brady Street Stadium for the Jesse Day Relays in Davenport on Thursday, April 12, and came away with a seventh-place team finish among the 11 teams participating. Bettendorf took the team champion honor with 143.25 points, followed by Pleasant Valley (113), Davenport West (108), North Scott (64.5), Clinton (62.5), Muscatine (56), Solon (53.5), Davenport Central (51), the event host Davenport North (36.25), Central DeWitt (36) and Davenport Assumption (15).
With several weather-related cancellations and postponements, Coach Mark Sovers savored the accomplishments the Spartans took away from the event. “The high level of competition found at the Jesse day (Relays) can either be a built-in excuse for a team, or you can rise to the challenge and compete at a different level and find out something new about your team,” he said.
Luke Ira set a new personal record in the high hurdle this year, Rocky Lensing set a new personal record in the shot put this year, Tyler Bliskie set a new personal record in the 1,600-meter run this year, the 4x800-meter team cut 16 seconds off its time, the distance medley shaved seven seconds off its time, and the 4x100-meter team set a new personal record this year, he added, just to name a few of the highlights from Thursday night.
“Placing high or medaling at a meet is just one way to define success. We were able to drop our times in most of our relays by trusting the process and each other,” Sovers explained. “The distance medley relay and the 4x800-meter relay are great examples of the athletes believing in each other and stepping up with time drops in very challenging events knowing they will continue to grow.”
In the 100-meter dash, Solon’s Matt Folkerts and Brady Stotler placed 19th and 20th with times of 12.95 and 13.29, respectively. In the 200-meter dash, Colton Hoffman clocked a 24.64 to capture 12th place and Lucas Walker finished 18th with a 26.22. In the 400-meter dash, Braden Rickertson finished ninth, just out of the team points, with a 56.15 and Miles Fuller finished 20th with a time of 1:08.30. Ethan Kober ran to a 15th-place finish with a 2:23.81 in the 800-meter run and Elijah McInnis finished 20th with a 2:58.25. In the 1,600-meter run, Tyler Bilskie finished 15th and Ben DeValk took 19th place with times opf 5:20.71 and 5:29.16, respectively. Ethan Kober was Solon’s lone runner in the 3,200-meter run finishing in 11:28.18, good for an 11th-place finish.
Luke Ira captured eight team points for the Spartans with his second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.96. In the 400-meter hurdles, Thomas Brandt added three team points for his 1:01.81, sixth-place fimish. The 4x100-meter relay team of Kendrick Harris, Adam Bock, Spencer Wegmann and Ira ran a 44.86 to capture fifth place and the four team points associated with it. Jackson Pipolo, Bock, Mason Stahle and Spencer Wegmann combnined for the 4x200-meter relay, finishing fourth with at time of 1:36.61 and garnering five team points. In the 4x400-meter relay, Thomas Brandt, Ryan Geistkemper, Dillon Hoit and Ben Krutzfeldt collaborated for a 11th-place finish with a time of 3:50.59. The 4x800-meter relay team of Brayton Bair, Brad Yeomans, Nolean Garbes and Bilskie ran a 9:46.53, adding another team point, finishing in eighth place. The 800-meter sprint medley teaming of Kendrick Harris, Spencer Wegmann, Pipolo and Krutzfeldt crossed the line in 1:39.93, for a fifth-place finish and four team points. Seamus Poynton, Jack Bell, Hoit and Clay Gerdin combined for the distance medley relay posting a time of 4:07.34 for ninth place, just shy of scoring team points. A fourth-place finish and five team points from the 1:04.65 effort of Brandt, Geistkemper, A.J. Coons and Ira also padded the Spartan boys’ team total.
The field events, the Spartans’foundation this season, compiled its share of team points. A four-way tie for eighth-place in the high jump at the 8-0 mark had Solon’s Hoffman and Coons adding a quarter of a point apiece for their finishes. Championing the shot put, Tyler Linderbaum’s 55-7 3/4 throw added 10 team points to the Spartan totals and Rocky Lensing’s fifth-place toss of 49-3.25 netted the Spartans another four team points. A bronze finish by Flansburg in the discus with a distance of 141-4 grabbed six more team points for the team while Luke Schaeckenbach’s hurl of 127-6 put him in sixth place and added three team points.
Asked about the number of events affected by the weather this season, Coach Sovers dispelled any concerns regarding qualifying for state and Drake. “We try and stay focused on staying present in the moment and focusing on things we can control,” he said. “The weather has been a challenge but instead of focusing on the opportunities we have missed, we try and make the most of the opportunities we have in front of us. You cannot always control the number of opportunities, but you can be in position to take advantage of the ones that do come your way. The Drake Relays have always been an event that is important to us but not something that will define us in the end if we do not qualify.”
Coach Sovers pointed out that the cutoff date for Drake Relay qualifications this year is April 19 and Luke Ira (110-meter hurdles), Tyler Linderbaum (shot put) and the 4x100-meter relay team have already qualified so far.
“The excitement has come from watching athletes develop positive relationships on and off the track,” he said. “The upper classman have done a great job of setting high standards and then doing what it takes to accomplishing their goals. Overall focus has been very good and the investment in their performance has been very rewarding to watch.”
He clarified the coaching staff’s gameplan for the rest of the season, a blueprint which has brought Coach Sovers and staff success in the past. “We will continue to challenge each other in practice and look for opportunities in meets to challenge athletes to step up in different events,” he said. “When we get to championship season, the goal is to have athletes gain a better understanding of where their gifts and talents fit into our lineup. This will set our team up for success and also move us closer to our individual goals. So in a way, championship season will fall into place because we will know we have done the work and invested in each other.”
“The upperclassmen have done a great job of establishing a positive culture and gaining a better understanding of how their choices have a impact on the experience that their teammates have,” Coach Sovers expounded on the team’s excitement level, even with the state of flux with the schedule. “The most noticeable thing, this year, has been their focus and investment in relationships. They have raised the expectations when it comes to performance on and off the track. It is exciting to see them have fun competing and at the same time enjoying experiencing all of it together.”