Solon 4x400 Notches Second Consecutive Top-8 Drake Relays Finish

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

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DES MOINES – The Solon 4x400 relay team showed last year at the Drake Relays it could compete with the best in the state.

Just in case there was any question if the Spartans really belonged alongside the top 4x400 squads in Iowa the Spartans proved it again over the last two days at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Solon secured its second top-eight finish in the 4x400 at the Drake Relays in as many years on Saturday, placing fifth in a season-best time of 3:59.63.

“It really pushes us because we are up against the best,” Solon junior Erin Kerkhoff said. “It pushes us to our best splits and our best times which makes us all better as a team.”

The foursome of Taylor Ryan, Cayley Annis, Abby Smith and Kerkhoff finished eighth at the Drake Relays last season.

That same quartet returned to Drake Stadium this week and reaffirmed its stature as one of the top relay groups around.

Solon entered with the seventh fastest time in the state this season 4:05.91 but took more than six seconds off that time in Saturday’s final.

“I think it was really exciting because we haven’t had good weather to hit the times we wanted,” Ryan s

aid. “This makes us really confident going into postseason meets after taking a couple seconds off our best time.”A strong Drake Relays showing last April was the springboard for a big finish for the Solon 4x400 team.

After running at 4:05.19 at Drake last year the Spartans finished runner-up at the Class 3A state meet in a school-record time of 3:58.62.

The Spartans showed on Saturday they are ahead of the curve in better that school record mark at the state meet next month.

“It’s great running here,” Kerkhoff said. “I think the atmosphere here with the crowd helps too.”  

Smith ran a 1:00.06 split on the third leg and Kerkhoff ripped off a 57.79 split on the anchor leg to move the Spartans up to fifth.

Southeast Polk won its second straight Drake Relays 4x400 title in a time of 3:52.09 while Davenport Assumption was second in 3:56.18.

Solon was one of five teams to break the four-minute mark on Saturday and finished less than half a second behind four-place West Des Moines Dowling.

The Spartans also finished 10th in the shuttle hurdle relay on Saturday in a time of 1:07.38 while sophomore Gabbi Bullard placed 14th in the 400 hurdles in 1:07.18.

Drake Relays

At Drake Stadium in Des Moines

Saturday Girls Results

1,500 – 1. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood) 4:31.11; 2. Anna Hostetler (Mid-Prairie) 4:32.1; 3. Bailey Nock (West High) 4:38.32; 4. Janette Schraft (East Mills) 4:42.14; 5. Helen Gould (West Des Moines Valley) 4:43.34; 10. Deniz Ince (West High) 4:48.43

400 Hurdles – 1. Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar) 1:00.25; 2. Isabel Ingram (Ames) 1:02.9; 3. Janette Schraft (East Mills) 1:03.18; 4. Katie Nimrod (Decorah) 1:03.46; 5. Skyler Shellmyer (Urbandale) 1:04.76; 7. Caroline Schaeckenbach (City High) 1:05.67; 14. Gabbi Bullard (Solon) 1:07.18.

Shuttle Hurdle Relay – 1. West Des Moines Dowling 1:03.04; 2. Benton Community 1:05.55; 3. Mount Vernon 1:06.79; 10. Solon (Gabbi Bullard, Rachael Nelson, Peyton Sands, Molly Duckett) 1:07.38; 13. West High (Peyton Steva, Amy Liao, Matayia Tellis, Kitra Bell) 1:08.96

4x100 Relay – 1. Linn-Mar 48.18; 2. Dubuque Wahlert 48.3; 3. Waukee 48.75; 4. Benton Community 48.8; 5. Pleasant Valley 48.96; 1. 28. West High (Peyton Steva, Katie Severt, Matayia Tellis, Kitra Bell) 51.08; 43. Solon (Taylor Ryan, Khaylor Fleck, Sophie Nicol, Erin Kerkhoff) 51.7. 60. Regina (Jessica Hunter, Annie Gahan, Madeline Adam, Jaedynn Evans) 52.45; 78. City High (Emma Clark, Emma Cooper, Tiara Green, Ayana Lindsay) 54.11

4x400 Relay – 1. Southeast Polk 3:52.09; 2. Davenport Assumption 3:56.18; 3. Waukee 3:56.71; 4. West Des Moines Dowling 3:59.35; 5. Solon (Taylor Ryan, Cayley Annis, Abby Smith, Erin Kerkhoff) 3:59.63; 13. City High (Tiara Green, CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Caroline Schaeckenbach, Ayana Lindsey) 4:04.84

4x800 Relay – 1. Waukee 9:15.6; 2. West High (Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Erica Buettner, Deniz Ince, Bailey Nock) 9:18.22; 3. Southeast Polk 9:23.29; 4. West Des Moines Dowling 9:30.72; 5. Johnston 9:39.28.