Photo by Jeff Yoder
Photo by Jeff Yoder / Click here to view Drake Relays photo gallery
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Sprinkled among the Class 4A teams that predominately fill out most of the relay fields at the Drake Relays are several squads from the smaller classes.
At the 110th edition of the Drake Relays no small school has appeared in more relays than Solon.
Half of the school-record 10 events that Solon qualified for the Drake Relays this week are relays and the Spartans got off to a strong start with a pair of top-10 relay finishes on Friday.
“It’s exciting to be one of the smaller schools here and we are still competing with everyone else,” Solon junior Khaylor Fleck said. “It’s kind of fun to compete with the bigger schools and see how you compare with all of them.”
The Spartans showed on Friday they are fully capable of sticking with state’s best.
Solon placed fourth in the sprint medley relay in a time of 1:49.5 and added a ninth-place finish in the 4x200 in 1:45.03.
“This year we are really deep and we really push each other in practice to be the best,” Solon senior Erin Kerkhoff said. “We are deep with talent but we really respect each other and I think that helps.”
Kerkhoff and fellow senior Taylor Ryan were a part of both the Spartans top-10 relay performances on Friday.
Ryan and Kerkhoff joined juniors Fleck and Cayley Annis on the sprint medley squad that posted a season-best time in its fourth-place finish.
Those two teamed with freshman Makinley Levin and senior Abby Smith in the 4x200.
“That’s really exciting because we are so versatile as a group,” Ryan said. “There isn’t all that pressure on one race. If one race doesn’t do as well we have three more races to try to pick ourselves up.”
The Solon sprint medley relay team finished behind Class 3A Davenport Assumption that won the event in 1:46.9 and 4A teams Southeast Polk and Cedar Falls.
Solon entered with the third-best qualifying time in the sprint medley but couldn’t keep up with the Assumption foursome that was anchored by the state’s 400 leader Carly King.
Assumption took nearly two seconds off its state-leading time while winning the event for the second time in six seasons.
“Our goal was to get the stick to Erin (Kerkhoff) even with Carly (King) so she had a chance to compete with her in the 400 but that’s not where we ended up,” Ryan said. “We were coming in to win it that was our mindset through it all.”
The Solon 4x200 team finished behind Assumption, Dubuque Wahlert and seven 4A teams including Waukee which won in 1:42.45.
Among the deepest teams in Class 3A this season Solon also qualified its 4x400, shuttle hurdle and 4x100 relay teams all of which enter with top 13 times.
“I think it shows how talented everyone on our team is,” Fleck said. “It’s awesome that everyone can be so versatile and run different races.”
In all Solon sent 14 athletes to Drake Stadium this week and the importance of that number was not lost on the Spartans which hope to compete for a 3A state title on the same track next month.
“Having so many talented girls it’s fun to take different kids through the experience,” Ryan said. “We get to bring some younger girls up to run with us and that’s really exciting for them.”
Solon had its share of individual success on Friday as well.
Freshman Emma Bock set a school record in the 800, finishing 10th in a time of 2:16.15.
100 – 1. Kerris Roberts (Waterloo East) 11.82
400 – 1. Carly King (Davenport Assumption) 56.55; 7. Erin Kerkhoff (Solon) 57.95
800 – 1. Mackenzie Michael (Cedar Falls) 2:09.88; 2. Ashlyn Keeney (Liberty High) 2:09.99; 10. Emma Bock (Solon) 2:16.15.
100 hurdles – 1. Darby Thomas (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln) 14.3; 2. Peyton Steva (West High) 14.33; 4. Taylor Cannon (Liberty High) 14.62; 6. Caroline Schaeckenbach (City High) 15.01
Sprint medley relay – 1. Davenport Assumption 1:46.9; 4. Solon (Khaylor Fleck, Cayley Annis, Taylor Ryan, Erin Kerkhoff) 1:49.5; 15. City High (Te’Nia Ansley, Emma Clark, Emma Cooper, Ayana Lindsey) 1:51.95; 17. Liberty High (Chaise Lange, Tayshauna McGee, Devon Dunson, Ashlyn Keeney) 1:52.17
4x200 – 1. Waukee 1:42.45; 9. Solon (Taylor Ryan, Makinley Levin, Abby Smith, Erin Kerkhoff) 1:45.03; 17. City High (Emma Cooper, Ayana Lindsey, Emma Clark, Mia DePrenger) 1:46.82; 23. West High (Peyton Steva, Celestina Nuro-Gyina, Mia Dillingham, Amy Liao) 1:49.7
4x800 – 1. Southeast Polk 9:10.38; 11. Liberty High (Cami Mac, Anna Reese, Ashlyn Keeney, McKenzie Logan) 9:46.56
Shot put – 1. Jamie Kofron (Tipton) 45-2 ¼; 5. Salima Omari (West High) 39-7 ¼; 25. Alexie Little (West High) 34-10 ½
High jump – 1. Miracle Ailes (Keokuk) 5-8
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by becoming a member.