Solon and a legacy of spectacular Spartans

A packed trophy case at Solon High School is the end result of years of work.
In some ways, it's a hallmark of how people all throughout Eastern Iowa think of Solon -- as a tough opponent in just about every sport.
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:22 AM CDT
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SOLON, Iowa (KCRG) – A drive through the northern edge of the Solon High School campus reveals a school of 450 students that is, clearly, supportive of its athletics.

From the main field that many people see from football, soccer or track and field to the baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts and numerous practice fields, Solon takes sports seriously.

Solon’s activities director Casey Hack is also a former head football coach in another district in Iowa, so he sees it from the viewpoint of the coaching as well.

“A lot of it starts with our coaches and the expectations they put on the students,” Hack said. “Three-and four-sport athletes and our coaches have to share athletes, and it isn’t always easy. The kids have high expectations for themselves.”

Here is a glance at the school’s legacy of state championships:

  • Baseball: 2010, 2011
  • Basketball, Boys: 2009
  • Basketball, Girls: 1994, 1997, 1999
  • Football: 1988, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Golf, Girls: 1995
  • Softball: 2003, 2007, 2015
  • Track & Field, Boys: 2010, 2014
  • Volleyball: 2014
  • Wrestling: 2020 for two individual titles

This is a clear point of pride and inspiration, as the glory of the trophies that adorn the entrance to the gymnasium come from the sweat of summer workouts and lifting in the weight room.

“All of the coaches saw a lot of value in us,” said Emma Bach, a senior who excels in track and cross-country. “I always think about, now, how I always looked up to the upperclassmen because I looked up to those students so much.”

Blake Timmons is a junior at Solon. He is in four sports, football, baseball, basketball and track. A similar story on showing a path to the future Spartans.

“The younger kids are out all the time watching the older kids, and they’re showing the younger kids on how to do it and do it the right way,” said Timmons.

Emy Williams offers a deeper perspective. She’s been the track & field and cross-country coach for nearly 20 years. She also grew up here.

“We have a lot of people who grew up here and come back and stay,” said Williams. “The town, the businesses, support us. If you need anything, they’re there. The family structures also support you.”

The success from football is, likely, the most resonating program across Eastern Iowa.

Kevin Miller stepped away from the role of head coach after the 2019 season, 19 years and four state titles. His son, Cam Miller, is quarterbacking North Dakota State, an FCS powerhouse every year. He also coached notable Hawkeyes, such as current center Tyler Linderbaum, who is projected as a high NFL draft pick. Strong-legged placekicker Marshall Koehn also booted field goals for Solon before his epic kicks at Kinnick for the Hawkeyes, leading up to the historic 2015 season.

Miller notes that Solon’s reputation for athletics does have some value outside of town.

“In my communication with coaches that we’ve signed kids to, (the colleges) know what they’re getting,” said Miller. “A hard-working individual who understands what it takes to be successful.”

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