By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The table is set for Solon to host one of the biggest dual meets in program history next week.
All that’s left is for the Spartans to do is secure their spot at that table.
When the Iowa High School Athletic Association announced host sites for Class 2A regional dual meets last week Solon was on the list.
The only caveat for Class 2A second-ranked Solon is they first have to assure itself a spot in Tuesday’s regional round.
Solon can and should do just that with a top-two team finish at the 2A, Section 3 meet on Saturday in Williamsburg.
“It’s exciting, we hope we can get a great crowd Tuesday and it’s going to be fun night but we have to take care of Saturday first,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “That is kind of the hard part is you aren’t really focused in on that right now but as soon as Saturday night is done we are turning around and getting ready for Tuesday.”
Top priority for Solon this weekend is advancing as many of its 14 wrestlers as possible to the district 2 meet in Fairfield.
Individual success on Saturday will bring the opportunity to do something the Spartans have never done, host a regional meet.
“If we wrestle to our ability we should be here on Tuesday and that is exciting in itself,” Williams said. “The one other regional duals we had a long time when I was coaching here it was one dual to go to state duals and we traveled up to Dyersville Beckman so we have never hosted this.”
Solon has a lineup full of wrestlers with eyes on deep state tournament runs.
Bryce West (44-1) is top-ranked at 120 pounds and brother Drew West (44-1) is second at 126.
Trevor Nelson (32-6) is ranked third at 160, Tyler Linderbaum (42-7) is fourth at 285 and Dillon Diltz is fifth at 182.
Even with the individual aspirations of the Spartan’s seven ranked wrestlers one of the first goals the Spartans discussed this season was a trip to the state dual meet.
“Wrestling is kind of an individual sport but it’s really a team atmosphere here and we talked about it since the beginning of the year and now it’s here,” Solon senior Ben Carr said. “We will see what we are made of.”
If Solon is wrestling in the regional in its own gym on Tuesday, the Spartans will be joined by three other teams.
Semifinals will begin at 6 p.m. with the winner facing off in the title match for a berth in the state dual meet on February 15 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“Having that at home helps motivate us because we don’t want to have four teams here that aren’t us wrestling in front of our home crowd,” Solon senior Ben Carr said. “That really motivates us to make sure we are here.”
Since the state dual tournament was moved to the day before the opening day of the traditional state tournament some teams have put less of a focus on the meet.
Solon doesn’t fit into that group.
“It’s a goal as a team, we talked about it at the beginning of the year is to get there as team,” Linderbaum said. “Of course, there is individual stuff as well but that is what everyone is thinking as a team that’s where we want to be.”
During Williams’ time as the head coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie the Hawks were regulars at the Class 3A dual meet.
Williams doesn’t have any doubt about how his team is approaching the dual tournament postseason this year.
“I think especially with our team that we have this year they realize that we have a great opportunity so let’s make the most if it,” Williams said. “As long as we keep winning, we are going for it there is no doubt about that. We have to take care of Saturday first and then Tuesday but it’s exciting.”