News on the Drake Relays.

Next Level Iowa Podcast For March 27, 2018: Blake Bolden

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby 2017

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby 2017

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast, we catch up with Drake Relays Executive Director Blake Bolden and talk Relays, Relays!

We also take a look at early results from this fledgling outdoor season and look ahead to the big meets this coming week!

All this and more on this week’s Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Chloe Hansen JR Harlan_MB1_9202-1

High School Athletes Who Have Made the Blue Standard Updated 4-7-18

Madison Jochum Heelan ©Mike Brynes 2018

Madison Jochum Heelan
©Mike Brynes 2018

Feature Photo: Chloe Hansen-Harlan@Mike Brynes 2017

 

Here are the latest lists for those high school athletes making the Blue Standard so far this track season.

*Bold Indicates New Standards

Girls

Kitra Bell                  IC West                     Long Jump               17’11”

Dub. Wahlert                                              4x100m Relay.      50:33

Sydney Durbin.       OABCIG.                  High Jump.               5’5″

Ellie Friesen.            Crestwood.                800m.                     2:14.91

Ellie Friesen             Crestwood               1500m                      4:43.26  

Ellie Friesen             Crestwood               3000m                      10:06.08

Kiestern Fisher       SE Valley                  High Jump                5’5”

Maria Gorham        N. Polk                      High Jump               5’5″

Lea Grady.           Cent. Dav.                    Discus                       134’11”

Chandler Haight.      IC West.         Shot                          42’8″

Anna Hostetler          Mid Prairie               3000m                    10:06.84

Marie Hostetler         Mid Prairie               3000m                    10:24.17

Isabelle Ingram      Ames                     100H                     14:67

Jamie Kofron               Tipton                      Shot                        42’11.5″

Linn Mar                                                    SMR                        1:44.90

Jessica McKee          Johnston               3000m                   10:27.97

Kat Moody.                   Waukee               Shot                        43’9″

Kat Moody                     Waukee               Discus                   130’10”

Olivia Nebergall         Anamosa             High Jump            5’5″

Bailey Nock             IC West                     1500m                      4:46.17

Bailey Nock             IC West                     3000m                      10:26.78

Pella                                                        4x100m                  50.68

Skyler Presier         Linn Mar                    High Jump                5’5”

SE Polk                                                          4×4                             3:59.46

SE Polk                                                      4×800                      9:33.55

Wahlert                                                    4x100m                      50.33

Waukee                                                    SHR                              1:05.25

Waukee                                                     SMR                              1:44.80

Waukee                                                      4x100m                       50.24

Sydney Winger         Waukee               100H                             14.40

 

Boys

Ames                                                      4x100m                     43.31

Ank. Centennial                                 4x100m                      43.79

Myles Bach              CP-U                           3200m                         9:29.29

Beckman                                                 4x100m                    43.60

Grant Bouwer.     Sibley Ocheyden.        High Jump                   6’6.75″

Jaelen Boysen      Clinton                  Long Jump              22’5.5″

Blair Brooks             Marion                     High Jump                   6’6”

Camden Cox            Ank Cent                  1600m                        4:22.44

CR Jefferson                                          4x100m.                    42.92

Dominic Etherington    Algona                 Shot Put                       57’5″

Jackson Fisher         Chariton             High Jump             6’6″

Max Goodhue             Carlisle          Long Jump.               22’6.5″

Braeden Hoyer                Northeast         High Jump                    6’8”

Keith Keahna                     S. Tama           High Jump                     6’6”

Owen Minshall                  Waukee             High Jump                    6’6”

Riley Moss                        Ank Centennial         110H                      14.38

Mt. Pleasant.                                                       SHR.                       57:73

Nick Phelps                      KP-WC                      Shot                       66’0.75”

Nick Phelps                      KP-WC                    Discus                        181’2″

Cole Schroeder                Dowling                    3200m                      9:33.36

SE Polk                                                        4x100m                    43.47

Urbandale                                                    1600m Medley       3:32.5

Waukee                                                           4x100m                   43.74

 

 

 

©Mike Brynes

Drake Relay Alums Making Noise at Worlds

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays ©Jin kirby

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jim kirby

A total of 14 athletes that have graced the Blue Oval and Drake Stadium for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee recently earned podium finishes at the IAAF World Championships in Birmingham, England, March 1-4.

Headlining the top Relays’ finishers at the World Championships were six athletes that won World Championships in their respective events. Below are those winners and their respective finishes at the Blue Oval the past five Drake Relays.

2018 Indoor World Champions
Name Event WC Finish
2017 Relays
2016 Relays
2015 Relays
2014 Relays 2013 Relays
Andrew Pozzi 60mH 1st 2nd (110mH)
Renaud Lavillenie Pole Vault 1st 3rd 1st 3rd
Will Claye Triple Jump 1st 4th
1st
 
1st
Sandi Morris Pole Vault 1st 1st 1st
3rd
 
Kendra Harrison 60mH 1st 1st (100mH) 1st (100mH)
 
Georganne Moline 4x400m 1st 1st (400mH)
2nd (400mH)
 
6th (400mH)

Six other Relays’ regulars claimed silver medals at the Indoor World Championships

2018 Indoor World Championship Silver Medalists
Name Event WC Finish
2017 Relays
2016 Relays
2015 Relays
2014 Relays 2013 Relays
Jarret Eaton 60mH 2nd 8th (110mH)
Sam Kendricks Pole Vault 2nd 1st 3rd
Ajee Wilson 800m 2nd
1st
 
Brittney Reese Long Jump 2nd 3rd 2nd 1st
Vashti Cunningham High Jump 2nd 2nd
Vernon Norwood 4x400m 2nd 2nd (400m)

And finally, two Drake Stadium fan favorites earned bronze medals at the Indoor World Championships

2018 Indoor World Championship Bronze Medalists
Name Event WC Finish
2017 Relays
2016 Relays
2015 Relays
2014 Relays 2013 Relays
Katerina Stefanidi Pole Vault 3rd 2nd 1st 3rd
Marquis Dendy Long Jump 3rd 6th
©Mike Brynes 2017

High School Athletes Who Have Made the Blue Standard

©Mike Brynes 2017

©Mike Brynes 2017

Feature Photo: @Mike Brynes 2017

 

Here are the latest lists for those high school athletes making the Blue Standard so far this track season.

Girls

Ellie Friesen             Crestwood               1500m                      4:43.26

Bailey Nock             IC West                     1500m                      4:46.17

SE Polk                                                          4×4                             3:59.46

Ellie Friesen             Crestwood               3000m                      10:06.08

Anna Hostetler       Mid Prairie               3000m                      10:06.84

Marie Hostetler     Mid Prairie               3000m                      10:24.17

Bailey Nock             IC West                     3000m                      10:26.78

Kitra Bell                  IC West                     Long Jump               17’11”

Kiestern Fisher       SE Valley                  High Jump                5’5”

Skyler Presier         Linn Mar                    High Jump                5’5”

Maria Gorham       N. Polk                      High Jump                5’5”

 

Boys

Camden Cox            Ank Cent                  1600m                      4:22.44

Myles Bach             CP-U                           3200m                      9:29.29

Cole Schroeder       Dowling                    3200m                      9:33.36

Blair Brooks             Marion                     High Jump                6’6”

Braeden Hoyer       Northeast                 High Jump                6’8”

Keith Keahna          S. Tama                     High Jump                6’6”

Owen Minshall      Waukee                      High Jump                6’6”

Nick Phelps              KP-WC                     Shot                           65’9”

 

Andre De Grasse
©www.independentsportsnews.com-2016

Relays Announce the Return to Olympian Andre DeGrasse

Andre De Grasse ©enwikipedia.com 2016

Andre De Grasse
©enwikipedia.com 2016

Andre De Grasse, a three-time Olympic medalist, is set to highlight the return of the invitational 100 meters to the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, announced Thursday, Feb. 15.

Courtesy Drake Relays.  Feature photo: Andre De Grasse©www.independentsportsnews.com-2016
Video announcement, click here!
De Grasse’s Blue Oval debut marks the first time an invitational 100 meters has been staged at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee since 2005.
In 2016, De Grasse won three medals at the Rio Olympics, including bronze in the 100 meters behind Usain Bolt. With Bolt’s retirement, De Grasse is thought by many in the track and field community to be the heir apparent to the title ‘World’s Fastest Man.’
“Andre is one of the biggest rising stars in international sports and it will be a thrill for our fans to see him compete against a world-class field,” Boldon said. “It’s the first time we’ve hosted an invitational 100 meters in 13 years and Andre will be the best short sprinter to come to the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee since Michael Johnson 20 years ago. The return of the invitational 100 meters will be an electrifying ten seconds.”
In addition to that bronze medal in the 100 meters, De Grasse won silver in the 200 meters behind Bolt and bronze in the 4×100-meter relay as a member of the Canadian team. He has run the 100 meters in 10 seconds or less in a legal wind nine times in his career, including a personal best of 9.91 and has run as fast as 9.69 with a tailwind.
Relays’ fans unfamiliar with De Grasse’s speed and athleticism can watch the star in action Friday evening as part of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. De Grasse is a member of ‘Team Clippers’ along with Jamie Foxx, Paul Pierce, Common, Bubba Watson and others.
“Andre’s participation in the NBA All-Star weekend goes to show that the Drake Relays presented Hy-Vee draws the biggest celebrities in sports,” Boldon added.
Boldon has scheduled De Grasse’s performance for the Saturday of Relays in front of a potential 53rd consecutive Saturday sellout at Drake Stadium. Starting Thursday, Feb. 15, fans can renew their single-session tickets for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. All-Session and All-American, Gold and Silver ticket packages are also available for purchase via DrakeTix.com or by calling 515-271-3647.
Trina Moreno-Urbandale-Utah
©Jim Kirby

Relays Announce Blue Standards For High School Athletes

McKenzie Yannek-PV-Alabama and Stephanie Jenks-Lin Mar-Cal ©Jim Kirby

McKenzie Yannek-PV-Alabama and Stephanie Jenks-Lin Mar-Cal
©Jim Kirby

For the second-straight year, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee has announced an exciting addition enhancing its already robust high school competition. Beginning in 2018, Iowa’s top high school athletes can automatically qualify for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee by achieving the Blue Standard times and marks in their respective events, Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Relays announced Monday, Jan. 29.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here!  Feature photo: Trina Moreno-Urbandale-Utah ©Jim Kirby-2016

 

“As a former Iowa high school athlete, I know that the Blue Standards would have changed my goals and how I approached my training to start each season,” Boldon said. “I hope this announcement excites Iowa’s top athletes to qualify for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee and gives athletes like myself who never qualified for the Drake Relays clear goals for this year and beyond.”

The addition of predetermined qualification standards will not change the entry process or field sizes for high school events. The Blue Standards were set by the Drake Relays committee based on historical data from the top 25 percent of accepted entries from past Drake Relays. For teams and athletes that do not attain a Blue Standard, the fields will be filled through the same protocol used in previous years.

“The Blue Standards will allow Iowa’s top athletes to share their excitement with coaches, teammates, families and communities on the same day they attain their Blue Standard qualifying mark for the 2018 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee,” Boldon added.

Click here to view the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee Blue Standards for the upcoming 109th Drake Relays

Boldon encourages those who achieve the Blue Standard to share their unique accomplishment on social media mentioning @DrakeRelays using the hashtags MYDRAKERELAYS and BLUEOVALBOUND.

The addition of the Blue Standards for automatic qualification continues Boldon’s commitment to recognize and provide opportunities for Iowa’s elite high school athletes. In his first year as the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Relays, he added a section to both the boys’ and girls’ 400-meter hurdles to add additional opportunities for Iowans in a strong event.

The 109th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee is scheduled for April, 25-28, 2018 at Drake Stadium.

All-session tickets for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee go on sale to the general public Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 9 a.m. Fans can secure their all-sessions tickets by calling the Drake Athletic Ticket office at 515-271-3647 or by visiting DrakeTix.com/Relays.

Ryan Crouser-Texas, Ricky Robertson-Mississippi,  Erik Olson-Drake
©Jim Kirby 2018

Relays’ Elite Shot Put Competition Will be a Slam Dunk

Ryan Crouser-Texas competes in the Drake Relays' Slam Dunk Competition ©Jim Kirby 2018

Ryan Crouser-Texas competes in the Drake Relays’ Slam Dunk Competition
©Jim Kirby 2018

The 2018 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee will feature an elite men’s shot put competition for the first time since 2013, Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Drake Relays Director announced Tuesday, Jan. 30. Boldon also revealed the first wave of University Division teams set to compete for the Hy-Vee Cup on the Blue Oval.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo:  Ryan Crouser-Texas, Ricky Robertson-Mississippi, Erik Olson-Drake©Jim Kirby 2018

 

Boldon’s announcement also marks the start of all-session ticket sales to the general public for the 109thinstallment of America’s Athletic Classic. To reserve all-session tickets, call the Drake Athletic Ticket Office at 515-271-3647 or visit DrakeTix.com/Relays

The men’s shot put returns to Drake Stadium with a field headlined by defending Olympic gold medalist and Olympic record holder Ryan Crouser. Crouser owns a personal best of 74-3.75 (22.65m) after setting the Olympic record at 73-10.5 (22.52m) to become the first American gold medalist in the event since 2004. The Oregon native who competed for the University of Texas enters this outdoor season with the world record in his sights and will return to Drake Stadium for the USA Championships in June.

Crouser will make his 2018 Des Moines debut in a different venue when he competes in a one-of-a-kind dunk competition Tuesday evening as part of Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee Night at the Drake vs. SIU men’s basketball game. During halftime of the contest, Crouser, who stands at 6-8 and weights more than 300 pounds, will compete against high jumper Ricky Robertson and Drake track & field student-athlete Erik Olson. Robertson is a 2016 Olympian who owns a personal best of 7-7.25 (2.32m) in the high jump and was a 10-time All-American at Mississippi. Drake standout Erik Olson, a pole vaulter, will join as the lone amateur in the field and test his mettle on the Knapp Center rims.

Olson is also one of the many collegiate athletes primed to compete at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee as Boldon announced the first list of university teams that promise to make the competition for the Hy-Vee Cup, awarded to the top scoring teams in relay events, another can’t-be-missed event.

More than 30 teams will be represented in the clash for the Hy-Vee Cup with five of those teams currently boasting a national ranking. In the men’s division, reigning Hy-Vee Cup champion No. 22 Iowa and No. 24 Ohio State will be in attendance along with programs such as Air Force, Illinois and Missouri, among others. The defending women’s Hy-Vee Cup Champion, No. 15 Ohio State aims to hold on to the Cup but will be challenged by No. 11 Minnesota and No. 22 Iowa State for the prestigious honor. Iowa’s men’s 4×400-meter relay team is ranked eighth in the nation with a time of 3:07.54 after helping the Hawkeyes claim the Hy-Vee Cup last year. That relay team features junior Mar’yea Harris. Harris’ 400-meter time of 46.50 is currently the 13th fastest in the nation this indoor season.

Ohio State boasts a pair of pole-vaulters tied at 13th in the nation with junior Coty Cobb and senior Cole Gorski both recording season bests of 17-6.5 (5.35m). The pair will challenge South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen. His season-best mark of 18-9.25 (5.72m) makes him the current NCAA leader. As a freshman, Nilsen competed in the invitational section of the pole vault and finished second in a field of professionals behind only 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks.

Nilsen won’t be the only current NCAA leader potentially competing at the 2018 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. Illinois freshman Jon Davis’ mile time of 3:55.46 mile is currently tops in the NCAA as he became just the 498th American to break the 4-minute mile barrier last weekend. His teammate David Kendziera is tied for ninth in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles at 7.76 and tied for fastest among potential Relays athletes along with Iowa’s Chris Douglas.

In the women’s University division, there are a number of high ranking individual athletes including Relays’ favorite Karissa Schweizer of Missouri. She is slated to return to the Blue Oval and currently holds the NCAA lead in the mile at 4:27.54 and in the 5,000 meters at 15:17.31. Schweizer is a three-time NCAA Champion and four-time All-American. At the 2017 Drake Relays, she got elevated to the elite women’s 1,500 meters and finished eighth in a field that included 11 professional athletes and six Olympians including Jenny Simpson.

Relay teams from Purdue and Ohio State are sure to make certain the clash for the Hy-Vee Cup comes down to the final event as the Boilermakers will bring in the sixth-ranked 4×400-meter relay team in the nation. Ohio State’s 4×400-meter relay team is close behind, currently sitting in eighth place after helping the Buckeyes claim the Cup last year.

In the women’s field events, Air Force’s Shelley Spires is second in the NCAA in the high jump with a height of 6-0.75. Not far behind is Eastern Illinois’ Haleigh Knapp whose height of 6-0.5 puts her five spots back of Spires in seventh nationally.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

USATF Championships Back to Drake 2018

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St ©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

The USATF Outdoor Championships are returning to Des Moines June 21-24, 2018. The best track and field athletes in the country will compete this summer at Drake University’s Drake Stadium in what will be the final stop of the 2018 USATF Championship Series. The meet will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks and webcast on NBC Sports Gold.

Courtesy USATF, click here! Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado©Mike Byrnes

Drake Stadium has previously hosted the USATF Outdoor Championships twice, in 2010 and 2013, with two American records falling at each championship. In 2013, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Rollins provided a glimpse of what was to come by setting the American Record in the women’s 100m hurdles (12.26), and Amanda Bingson broke the AR in the women’s hammer throw (75.73m/248-5.25). In 2010, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Chaunte Lowe broke the high jump AR (2.05 m/6’8.75) and Kara Winger set the AR in the women’s javelin (66.67 m/218-8​.75).

 

Drake has hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 1970 (men only), 2008, 2011, and 2012, and annually hosts the Drake Relays, which in 2018 will celebrate its 109th year.

 

More information will be available in coming weeks at www.usatf.org, including ticket prices, broadcast details, and competition schedules.

 

About USATF

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.

Allyson Felix
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relay Alums Make Us Proud in London

Omar McLeod- Jamaica ©Jim Kirby

Omar McLeod- Jamaica
©Jim Kirby

With the 2017 IAAF Track & Field World Championships concluding this past weekend in London, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee had alumni posting many outstanding medal winning performances to garner 10 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals during the event.  Individual gold medal winners who competed at the 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee included Kori Carter (400mH), Phyllis Francis (400m), Sam Kendricks (Pole Vault), Omar McLeod (110mH) and Brittney Reese (Long Jump).

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Allyson Felix ©Jim Kirby 2013

Overall, the United States set a team record for the most medals at the World Championships with 30 (10-gold, 11-silver, 9-bronze) while three-time Drake Relays champion Brittney Reese became the first woman to win four World long jump gold medals and only the second woman to win four golds in a single event (Valerie Adams, shot put).  Below is a listing of the medalists with their last appearance year at the Relays in parentheses.  Unless noted otherwise, athletes represented the United States.

Women

 

  • Shelby Houlihan-5K (2017 Bowerman Track Club)
  • Morolake Akinosun – Gold-4x100m Relay (2016-Texas)
  • Kori Carter – Gold-400m Hurdles (2017)
  • Michelle Carter – Bronze-Shot Put (2016)
  • Allyson Felix – Bronze-400m, Gold-4x100m Relay, Gold-4x400m Relay (2006)
  • Phyllis Francis – Gold-400m, Gold-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Dawn Harper-Nelson – Silver-100m Hurdles (2017)
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) – Bronze-200m (2013-Georgia)
  • Sandi Morris – Silver-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Dalilah Muhammad – Silver-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Brittney Reese – Gold-Long Jump (2017)
  • Yarisley Silva (Cuba) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2014)
  • Jenny Simpson – Silver-1500m (2017)
  • Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) – Gold-Pole Vault (2016)
  • Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica) – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2015)
  • Ajee Wilson – Bronze-800m (2015)

    Men

  • Will Claye – Silver-Triple Jump (2016)
  • Kerron Clement – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Sam Kendricks – Gold-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Renaud Lavillenie (France) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2015)
  • Jarrion Lawson – Silver-Long Jump (2015-Arkansas)
  • Wil London – Silver-4x400m Relay (2016-Baylor)
  • Omar McLeod – Gold-110m Hurdles (2017)
  • Gil Roberts – Silver-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Mike Rodgers – Silver-4x100m Relay (2007)
  • Jarrin Solomon (Trinidad & Tobago) – Gold 4x400m Relay (2013)
  • Christian Taylor – Gold-Triple Jump (2017)
  • Rabah Yousif (Great Britain) – Bronze-4x400m Relay (2016)
  • Stipe Žunic (Croatia) – Bronze-Shot Put (2012-Florida)
Jim Patterson-Drake Official
©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

50 Memorable Years for Jim Patterson by J.R. Ogden of The Gazette

Jim Patterson-Drake Official ©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

Jim Patterson-Drake Official
©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

Imagine 50 years of head shakes and eye rolls from athletes. Or 50 years of calls questioned by coaches.

Imagine 50 years of overbearing parents screaming insults.

For Jim Patterson of Cedar Rapids, it’s been 50 fantastic years.

Courtesy The Gazette www.thegazette.com by J.R. Ogden, click here! Feature photo: Jim Patterson-Drake Official ©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

 

“I’ve enjoyed it all,” said Patterson, one of 11 men honored for a half century of service at the IHSAA’s 23rd annual Officials Recognition Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the Iowa Events Center.

Patterson officiated football for 37 years, landing nine state championship games. He still considers himself a football official first, even though he’s been working track and field meets for 40 years — and still working them today.

“My time to retire is getting closer,” he said last week while driving to Des Moines to work the Drake Relays.

He said he’s worked with and met some great people over the years — coaches and other officials.

But it’s the athletes who keep him working.

“I love being around kids,” he said. “It keeps you young.”

Not surprisingly, he’s seen lots of changes, too. He said athletes are bigger, stronger and faster. The way games are officiated are different, too. When he started working football, three officials called the game. When he retired in 2004, there were five. There now are two starters at all track meets.

But some things haven’t changed.

“The kids are the same, the coaches are the same,” he said. “(The coaches) are people who want to win, people who care about the kids.”

And those parents? Patterson hesitated when asked, then referred to an article in last week’s Gazette by correspondent and youth sports advocate Nancy Justis that, basically, told parents to “simmer down.”

“That was very to the point,” he said, adding “I’ve always been very big on sportsmanship.

“We have become too specialized. We don’t give kids a chance to become creative” in a variety of sports.

He’s seen some of the best athletes in Eastern Iowa, too, and worked some great games. He noted an Iowa City High-Bettendorf football playoff game when Tim Dwight was leading the Little Hawks and noted “any time you get a chance to work a state championship game, that’s a big highlight.”

But one of his favorite events is Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s annual coed track and field meet, now known as the Draxton-Stiers/Wilkinson Invitational after coaches Dudley Draxton, Al Stiers and Harold Wilkinson.

“Three great people,” Patterson said. “They meant a lot to me.”

Patterson, too, has meant a lot to a lot of people.

In addition to his officiating, he was a physical education teacher at Coolidge Elementary and “coached everything” at Taft Middle School, where he started the softball program and also coached football, basketball and baseball.

James Wood of Center Point was another of the 50-year honorees. And there were several other area honorees, as well, including Daniel Thomas of Cedar Rapids as one of five “aspiring new officials,” Patrick Pacha of Washington (Iowa) as softball official of the year and Chris Oberbroeckling of Marion as baseball official of the year.