Solon sophomore Erin KerkhoffBy Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – In her second year of varsity cross country Erin Kerkhoff has grown accustomed to dealing with pre-race nerves.
Monday at the Solon Invitational those nerves were nowhere to be found for Kerkhoff and it showed in her performance.
Kerkhoff placed seventh on Monday in a time of 21:37 to lead Solon to a fourth place team finish at its home meet at the Solon Nature and Recreation Area.
“I’m more comfortable running at home, I was kind of surprised but I was not as nervous for this one,” Kerkhoff said. “I know this course inside and out.”
Kerkhoff led a trio of Solon runners that placed in the top 20 on Monday as the Spartans finished with 99 points, four behind third place Mid-Prairie.
Solon junior Sophie NicolFreshman Ella Duster placed 15th in 22:01 while Sophie Nicol was 17th in 22:18.
“Our top three have kind of gone back and forth,” Solon coach Emy Williams said. “They are just so happy for each other and push each other when they are running and I think that’s going to help us get stronger and stronger.”
On Monday it was Kerkhoff who took the top spot for the Spartans.
The sophomore finished eight seconds behind sixth place Maddie Case of North Scott.
“I think all the girls did a really great job,” Williams said. “They pushed a little bit and I think it helped them being on a course that they knew.”
Monday was the first of three meets for the Spartans on their home course this season.
Solon will host a pair of big meets next month, holding both the WAMAC Conference meet and a state qualifying meet at its home course.
Kerkhoff believes the strong showing on Monday will help when Solon returns home for the two postseason meets.
“I love running at home, I know the course really well and that helps,” Kerkhoff said. “Today gives us confidence, I’m really happy about today. I’m really looking forward to having the chance to run at home more.”
Class 4A North Scott placed four runners in the top 10 while running away with the team title.
The Lancers finished with 33 points to outdistance runner-up Mount Vernon-Lisbon by 31 points.
Mid-Prairie had the top two individual finishers in Anna Hostetler (19:21) and sister Marie Hostetler (19:49) and finished third with 95 points.
Solon used its own balance to finish in front of WAMAC rivals Williamsburg and Central DeWitt.
Nicole Shafer placed 22nd in 22:26 to go with the three top 20 finishes for the Spartans.
“I think we are really lucky this year because this team is about pushing themselves and making them better, no one is worried about not being the top runner,” Williams said. “I think that’s a great testament to the girls for the kind of runners that they are.”
Kaylie Barker finished 12th in 21:57 to lead Clear Creek Amana as the Clippers placed ninth with 221 points.
Team scores – 1. North Scott 33; 2. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 64; 3. Mid-Prairie 95; 4. Solon 99; 5. Williamsburg 144; 6. Central DeWitt 144; 7. Tipton 168; 8. Northeast 214; 9. Clear Creek Amana 221.
Individual results – 1. Anna Hostetler (MP) 19:21; 2. Marie Hostetler (MP) 19:49; 3. Presley Case (NS) 20:20; 4. Sommer Clydesdale (NS) 20:55; 5. Julia Campbell (CD) 21:21; 6. Maddie Case (NS) 21:29; 7. Erin Kerkhoff (SOL) 21:37; 8. Faith Anton (MVL) 21:43; 9. Brenna Kundel (NS) 21:49; 10. Hayley Corkin (MVL) 21:50.
Solon (99) – 7. Erin Kerkhoff 21:37; 15. Ella Duster 22:01; 17. Sophie Nicol 22:18; 22. Nicole Shafer 22:46; 38. Aira Foster 24:07; 44. Haley Kluesner 24:36; 49. Taryn Hansen 26:08.
Clear Creek Amana (221) – 12. Kaylie Barker 21:57; 50. Ally Loren 26:19; 51. Olivia Fairholm 26:25; 52. Danielle Wnek 26:29; 56. Emilie Harder 28:11.