Girls State Track: Solon On Top, For Now

By Jeff Linder (Story) and Scott Saville (Video), Reporters

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DES MOINES, Iowa — In the span of about 15 minutes, the Solon Spartans made a swift move to the top of the leaderboard.

A regular scorer at the state track and field meet, Lauren Benzing earned the first championship of her track career Friday. She anchored the Spartans to the Class 3A girls' distance medley relay title in dramatic fashion.

That wasn't all.

A few minutes later, Kara Misel and Shelby Gunnells went 1-2 in the shot put to put Solon into the lead as Day 2 closed at Drake Stadium.

"I heard one of my teammates say that we'd just won the distance medley," Misel said. "That was exciting."

The Spartans have 41 points through 10 events. Defending champion Dubuque Wahlert and Davenport Assumption are tied for second with 31 apiece.

Assumption still has a lot of points awaiting Saturday. But right now, Solon stands on top.

Waverly-Shell Rock set a tough bar to clear with a second-heat distance-medley effort of 4:09.63.

Then Jessica Brimeyer, Mallory Carr, Jordan Smith and Benzing claimed the third heat and the overall crown for Solon in 4:09.61.

"Waverly put up such a good time," Carr said. "We knew it would be tough to beat."

As Benzing hit the final curve, her teammates urged her on.

"They were screaming, 'Go for time,' " Benzing said. "I can't believe it. I had to do my part. I didn't have anything left."

Misel threw 41 feet, 10 1/2 inches to win. No surprise.

Gunnells' runner-up finish (39-4 1/2), that was gravy.

"Gunns, she came in and really got after it," Misel said. "I thought we could get a lot of points here; we just had to make it reality."

Brooke Willson of Center Point-Urbana was third in the shot put. Maquoketa's Aubree Taylor was third in the 400-meter hurdles.
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