Solon, West High Girls Cross Country Teams Seeking Conference Titles

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

With the state cross country meet looming a little more than two weeks away area teams begin the drive toward the postseason with conference meets on Thursday.

For City High, West High and Liberty High the postseason push began last Thursday with the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet.

Regina won’t get a postseason tune up with the River Valley Conference cancelling its conference meet due to wet conditions at Kickers Soccer Complex in Iowa City.

Here is a quick look at the girls conference meets that are set to take place on Thursday as teams begin to narrow their focus towards a trip to Fort Dodge and the state meet on October 27.

Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Divisional Meet 

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where:Jones Park in Cedar Rapids

Teams: West High, Liberty High, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Wahlert, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Waterloo West

Defending Team Champ: West High won the Mississippi Division last season

Ranked Teams: 4A No. 12 West High; 4A No. 14 Liberty High; 4A No. 15 Cedar Rapids Kennedy; 3A No. 1 Dubuque Wahlert

Ranked Individuals: 4A No. 1 Ashlyn Keeney, Fr., Liberty High; 4A No. 2 Micah Poellett, Soph., Linn-Mar; 4A No. 14 Deniz Ince, Sr., West High; 4A No. 30 Chloe Skidmore, Soph., Linn-Mar; 3A No. 4 Gabby Moran, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert; 3A No. 20 Aunna Huseman, Jr., Dubuque Wahlert; 3A No. 21 Alix Oliver, Soph., Dubuque Wahlert

Team title chase: West High has a long tradition of stepping up at the conference meets winning 18 of the last 22 MVC titles including last season. The Women of Troy will need to fend off a strong group of contenders led by Dubuque Wahlert, Liberty High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy to defend their divisional title from a year ago.

Wahlert finished third at the Super Meet last week, six points in front of West High while Liberty High was sixth and Cedar Rapids Kennedy was seventh.

West High and Dubuque Wahlert will be the favorites with a slight edge to the Women of Troy.

Athlete to watch: Top-ranked Liberty High freshman Ashlyn Keeney remained unbeaten in high school races when she rolled to the individual title at the MVC Super Meet last week finishing more than 30 seconds in front of Linn-Mar sophomore Micah Poellett.

Poellett gets a rematch on Thursday and don’t count out West High senior Denize Inze who was seventh at the Super Meet last week.

Breakdown: Keeney is a heavy favorite in the individual race but the team race should be a wild one. Liberty High had a strong showing in its first ever Super Meet last week and will try to duplicate that again on Thursday.

West High is full of young talent but the Women of Troy always seem to come up big at the end of the season.

Expect nothing less on Thursday as West High goes for an incredible 19th conference title.

Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Divisional Meet

When: Friday,4:30 p.m.

Where: Dubuque Soccer Complex

Teams: City High, Cedar Falls, Dubuque Senior, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Washington, Western Dubuque, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Waterloo East

Defending Team Champ: Dubuque Senior won the Valley Division meet last season

Ranked Teams: 4A No. 5 Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 8 Cedar Rapids Prairie; 4A No. 13 Cedar Falls

Ranked Individuals: 4A No. 3 Claire Edmonson, Sr., Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 4 Lily Schmidt, Soph., Dubuque Senior; 4A No. 13 Reagan Gorman, Sr., Cedar Rapids Washington; 4A No. 22 Rowan Boulter, Fr., City High; 4A No. 24 Laurdyn Meyer, Soph., Cedar Rapids Prairie; 4A No. 27 Gabby Cortez, Fr., Cedar Rapids Prairie

Team title chase: Dubuque Senior and Cedar Rapids Prairie battled for the team title at the Super Meet last week with the Rams finish 29 points clear of Prairie for the crown.

Those same two teams will square off again on Friday in what expects to be a two-team title race.

Cedar Falls and City High should battle for the next two spots with both capable of moving up with a strong showing.

Athlete to watch: Rowan Boulter admitted she was nervous before her first MVC Super Meet showing last week but the City High freshman didn’t show it, finishing eighth in a personal best time of 19:24.14. Boulter could push for a top three finish on Friday with another strong run.

Breakdown: Speaking of peaking at the right time few teams have done a better job of that than City High over the past several decades.

Traditionally, the Little Hawks have been at their best at the state qualifying and state meets but a strong divisional showing could go a long way in boosting the Little Hawks into the postseason.

City High was a slightly disappointing eighth at the Super Meet last week and will look to close the gap between Dubuque Senior and Cedar Rapids Prairie.

WAMAC Meet

When: Thursday, 4 p.m. 

Where: South Tama High School

Teams: Clear Creek Amana, Solon, South Tama, Williamsburg, Marion, Maquoketa, Independence, West Delaware, Dyersville Beckman, Vinton-Shellsburg, Benton Community, Mount Vernon, Center Point-Urbana, Central DeWitt

Defending Team Champ: Benton Community

Ranked Teams: 3A No. 12 Solon; 2A No. 2 Williamsburg

Ranked Individuals: 3A No. 2 Adrianna Katcher, Jr., Center Point-Urbana; 3A No. 18 Kay Fett, Fr., Vinton-Shellsburg; 19. Emma Bock, Fr., Solon; 27. Aubrey Frey, Soph., Mount Vernon; 2A No. 13 Megan Rathjen, Jr., Williamsburg; 3A No. 27 Grace Schaefer, Jr., Williamsburg

Team title chase: Williamsburg and Solon have battled each other at meets all season.

The two ranked teams will meet one final time with a WAMAC championship on the line on Thursday.

Williamsburg and Solon met just last week at North Linn with the Raiders winning the team title, 36 points in front of Solon.

Solon was third a year ago behind defending champion Benton and Marion and the Spartans would like to improve on that this season.

Athlete to watch: Solon sophomore Kiersten Conway was eighth in her WAMAC meet debut last season and would like nothing more than to improve on that finish while helping the Spartans to a team title this season.

Breakdown: Last season the top four teams were separated by just 10 points and while that likely won’t be the case this season but the battle for the top two spots could be just as intense.

Solon and Williamsburg are expected to battle for the top spot but defending champion Benton and Marion are just a few of the teams that will be pushing for top five finishes.

Center Point junior Adrianna Katcher is back to defender her WAMAC individual title and is the favorite to win another conference individual crown.

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