Last season, Connor Ham earned the first state track title of his career, winning gold in the 110-meter hurdles.
This season, with some help from his teammates, Ham has plans to add another type of title.
Ham headlines a deep and talented Solon boys team that returns five athletes that earned state medals from last year’s team that placed fifth at state.
Now the Solon junior has his sights set on a state team title.
“The goal is to win a state championship,” Ham said. “With everything that we have coming back, I think we can do that. I think we have a chance to get even more points this year.”
Led by Ham’s first-place finish in the 110 hurdles and his seventh-place finish in the 200, Solon placed fifth in Class 3A last season with 36 points.
The Spartans return four other athletes that earned state medals last season, including senior Dalton Ferguson, who was runner-up in the shot put.
“It’s definitely a team sport for us,” Ham said. “We have a lot of depth, we have a lot of people that are capable of scoring points and the key for us is Coach (Mark) Sovers. He knows how to get us to push ourselves and he is the perfect conductor behind our orchestra.”
Ham and Ferguson are among a group of 34 returning lettermen on a Solon team that claimed the WaMaC East title before finishing fifth in Class 3A.
Seniors Jordan Wymer (4×100, 4×200), Jacob Black (shuttle hurdle, 4×100, 4×200) and Jacob Gibbs (shuttle hurdle) all return after competing on relay teams that placed at state last year.
Ham joined Wymer and Black on both the 4×100 relay team that placed third and the 4×200 relay team that placed fifth at state last year.
Black has been sidelined with an injury suffered early in the season but should be back in time for the postseason to add experience to Solon’s already talented relay teams.
“Jordan Wymer has a lot of high expectations and he is ready to have one of those special years,” Sovers said. “We have a lot of guys that are right there that are ready to contribute at a high level.”
Solon certainly has the depth to be a state title contender and the Spartans also have the top-level talent in their lineup.
Ham won the Class 3A title in the 110 hurdles in an all-class best time of 14.72 seconds, while Ferguson finished second in the shot put with a toss of 55 feet, 6 inches.
“Connor and Dalton are in similar situations where they don’t seem to be satisfied with their past performances,” Sovers said. “They have pushed each other and I have challenged them to push their teammates, and I think they have done that.”
The junior has already bested that time this season.
Ham won three individual events at the Tipton Early Bird meet last Tuesday, including a first-place finish in the 110 hurdles in 14.42.
He also won the 100 and 200, and ran a leg on Solon’s winning 4×100 relay.
“I am definitely happy with that time in our second meet of the season,” Ham said of the 14.42 in the 110 hurdles. “To start the season with a better time than I ended the season last year is a great, and hopefully as the weather warms up I can drop that time even more.”