Click here for more photos of Solon at the state track meet.
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – The Solon foursome of Abby Smith, Taylor Ryan, Erin Kerkhoff and Cayley Annis had quite the opening act at the state meet a year ago setting a school record in a runner-up finish in the 4x400.
The encore for the Spartan 4x400 squad on Saturday was even better.
For the second consecutive season Solon capped the Class 3A state meet with a school-record, runner-up performance in the 4x400 finishing second to Decorah on Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines in a time of 3:58.37.
“For sure we thought we could improve,” Kerkhoff said. “We aren’t little freshman and sophomores any more so we knew we could go faster than we did last year.”
The time of 3:58.37 was a couple of ticks faster than the old school record of 3:58.62 set by the same foursome last season and runner-up finish helped push Solon into the top 10 in the 3A team standings.
Solon got fourth-place finishes from its sprint medley and shuttle hurdle relay teams on Saturday and finished eighth in 3A with 27 points.
“I’m so proud of our team,” Smith said. “Everyone on our team was giving it everything they had today and I’m so happy for what we were able to do.”
The top performance on a strong Saturday for Solon came in the final event.
Solon came to the state meet with the second fastest time in the 4x400 after clocking a 3:59.63 at the Drake Relays last month.
The Spartans finished third at the district meet and ran the fourth fastest time in Friday’s state preliminaries at 4:01.94 with sophomore Khaylor Fleck filling in for injured junior Taylor Ryan.
Ryan returned to action for the first time since May 7 on Saturday to run on the Spartans’ fourth-place sprint medley team.
She felt good enough in the sprint medley to join the 4x400 team for the first time in nearly a month.
“I felt as fast as I’ve ever been,” Ryan said. “I didn’t run yesterday because I was really sore after testing it on Thursday. I was able to run today and the sprint medley thankfully went well and I was able to run the 4x400.”
Annis got Solon out to a strong start and Ryan had the Spartans in the mix going to the final 800.
Kerhoff was in third when she took the baton from Smith for the anchor leg but quickly took the Spartans to second behind eventually champion Decorah which won for the second straight season with a time of 3:57.66.
I thought we stayed consistent with where we were in our places the whole way,” Kerkhoff said. “Abby got it to me in a great spot because I like having people in front of me to catch.”
All four team members return next season along with Fleck who performed well in her time on the squad.
“We are really thankful for Khaylor Fleck because she helped get us here,” Smith said. “All of us are back so hopefully we can get it next year.”
The 4x400 team wasn’t the only Solon relay setting records on Saturday.
Solon set a school record in the shuttle hurdle relay as Gabbi Bullard, Rachael Nelson, Peyton Sands and Molly Duckett finished fourth in 1:06.88.
“It feels really great just knowing that is our last race of the season and we really just want to do our best,” Sands said. “We all worked hard to be able to do that.”
Solon came to state with the sixth best time in 3A at 1:07.38 but took half a second off that time on Saturday.
“We were stuck in higher 1:07s and we were able to take a lot of time off this week,” Duckett said. “We were aiming for a low 1:07 so it’s a great feeling.”
The sprint medley team of Annis, Duckett, Ryan and Kerkhoff finished fourth in a season-best time of 1:49.24.
That time was better than two seconds faster than the previous top time for that group.
“We definitely improved mentally from last year,” Ryan said. “Most of us physically were a little bit faster than last year but I think mentally we have grown a lot because we are more confident and we have more experience being on the track here.”
Team scores - 1. Pella 70; 2. Crestwood 64; 3. Dubuque Wahlert 64; 4. Benton Community 57; 5. Decorah 50; 6. Sioux City Heelan 37; 7. Davenport Assumption 33; 8. Solon 27; 9. Keokuk 25; 9. Iowa Falls 25; 9. North Polk 25; 9. Mount Vernon 25; 19. Clear Creek Amana 13
100 – 1. Ellie Masten (Benton Community) 12.45
200 – 1. Emily Vos (Pella) 24.68
800 – 1. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood) 2:13.63; 23. Camille Mac (Liberty High) 2:24.7
1,500 – 1. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood) 4:39.4; 6. Camille Mac (Liberty High) 4:53.57; 20. McKenzie Logan (Liberty High) 5:07.03
100 Hurdles – 1. Grace Martensen (Benton Community) 14.51; 2. Taylor Cannon (Liberty High) 14.58
Sprint Medley Relay – 1. Benton Community 1:47.31; 4. Solon (Cayley Annis, Molly Duckett, Taylor Ryan, Erin Kerkhoff) 1:49.24; 15. Clear Creek Amana (Riley Hennes, Andrea Roller, Karsyn Stratton, Cierra Lacina) 1:55.02
Shuttle Hurdle Relay – 1. Benton Community 1:04.84; 4. Solon (Gabbi Bullard, Rachael Nelson, Peyton Sands, Molly Duckett) 1:06.88; 6. Liberty High (Elizabeth Davis, Jada Murphy, Breeyn Gryp, Taylor Cannon) 1:07.87
4x100 – 1. Dubuque Wahlert 48.21
4x400 – 1. Decorah 3:57.66; 2. Solon (Cayley Annis, Taylor Ryan, Abby Smith, Erin Kerkhoff) 3:59.5