News on the Drake Relays.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays Announcement: Olympic Medalist Jenny Simpson

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Five-time Drake Relays champion Jenny Simpson returns to the Blue Oval to challenge the American outdoor 2-mile record as part of Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays, Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, announced Tuesday, April 3. Boldon also unveiled world-class competitors in the pole vault and high jump inside Drake Stadium for what has the potential to be a historic night of track & field action.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here!  Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Jim Kirby

Simpson, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee reigning 1,500-meter champion and Olympic bronze medalist, will challenge the American record of 9:20.25 in the two-mile race Friday, April 27, under the lights at Drake Stadium.

“I’m so excited to be returning to Iowa again this year to compete in my first outdoor race of 2018 at the Drake Relays,” Simpson said. “I’ve had so many special runs on the Blue Oval including collegiate and stadium records and this year records are on my mind again. I’ll be returning to the Drake Relays to challenge the outdoor 2-mile American Record. Runs like this are never easy or predictable but I’m excited to face the challenge in front of fans who have cheered me on to great runs in the past.”

Simpson will try to better the current record of 9:20.25 set by Shannon Rowbury in 2014.

Last year, Simpson won her fifth-straight race at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee with her 1,500-meter win as she held off rival Brenda Martinez. Martinez returns to the Relays to challenge Simpson again. Upstart Alexa Efraimson, who owns the American junior record in the 1,500 meters (4:03.39) and the national high school record in the 3,000 meters (9:00.16) joins the veteran laden field racing toward an American national record.

Another Olympic medalist and Drake Relays champion headlines the men’s pole vault field. Sam Kendricks was the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World Champion in the event he also won at 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. He is just one of 22 men in the history of the sport to clear six meters (19-8).

“I love to start the year off on home soil! Drake Stadium will bring out the best in all of us!” Kendricks said to announce his return to Des Moines.

Kendricks isn’t the only elite vaulter set to compete at Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays. Another member of the 6-meter club and the 2015 World Champion, Shawn Barber, will go jump for jump against Kendricks. Barber is the Canadian record holder in the event and the 2015 and 2016 Drake Relays champion. Scott Houston, the 2018 American indoor champion is also in the field.

The women’s high jump will feature another standout field headlined by Vashti Cunningham who has won four USA Championships at just 20 years old. Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, competed at the Drake Relays in 2016 as a high-school phenom and has since won a world indoor title and represented the USA in the 2016 Olympics. She owns a personal best of 6-6.25 (1.99m) in the event, an American junior record.

However, Cunningham won’t have an easy route to another Drake Relays title. The 2017 Drake Relays champion Levern Spencer returns to Des Moines. The Olympian own the St. Lucian national record in the event at 6-6 (1.98m). Another national record holder, Doreen Amata, will make her Drake Relays debut in 2018. The Nigerian record holder in the event, Amata is a two-time Olympian and served as Nigeria’s flag bearer for the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics. Canadian Alyx Treasure is another Olympian set to push the field in what has the makings of another outstanding competition at Drake Stadium.

All-session, multi-session and single-session tickets are currently on sale to witness all three of these events at Drake Stadium, including the potential setting of an American record. Visit DrakeTix.com to secure tickets to what has the promise to be a historic night at Drake Stadium.

Andre De Grasse-USC
©Frank Gunn/CP

Drake Relays Announcement: Olympian Medalist Andre De Grasse

Andre De Grasse-USC ©Cameron Spencer/Getty Images South America

Andre De Grasse-USC
©Cameron Spencer/Getty Images South America

The most exciting 10 seconds in track & field will live up its billing at Drake Stadium when the men’s invitational 100 meters makes its return to the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Andre De Grasse-USC ©Frank Gunn/CP

Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, has announced the full field for the event that will be headlined by Canadian Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse. However, De Grasse is just one of five Olympians in the eight-competitor field that will race down the homestretch of the Blue Oval April 28 at 2:56 p.m. Six of the event’s eight lanes will feature competitors has shattered the 10-second mark in the event.

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.’

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. 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.

Joining the cadre of elite sprinters is a local favorite that had a storied career at Drake Stadium as a collegian. Brandon Carnes, a two-time Relays champion in the event as a collegian at UNI, will race as a professional for the first time at Drake Stadium. The 16-time Missouri Valley Conference champion owns a personal best of 10.06.

Another competitor who made his mark a collegian returns as an experienced professional in Isiah Young. Young was an Olympic semifinalist in the 200 meters in 2012 and has been a member of three World Championship teams for the United States. While competing for the University of Mississippi, Young was a four-time Drake Relays champion and back-to-back winner of the 100 meters in 2012 and 2013. The second of those titles earned him Drake Relays Most Outstanding Performer honors and is one of three collegiate competitors to win the honor outright in the last decade.

Mike Rodgers is one of the veterans in the field that has run a sub 10-second 100 meters a staggering 39 times in his career and owns the 14th fastest time in the history of the event at 9.85. He has been a five-time World Championship semifinalist and led off the USA’s 4×100-meter relay in the 2016 Olympics.

Jarrion Lawson, the 2017 World Championship silver medalist in the long jump, also makes his pro debut at Drake Stadium after winning four events at the 2016 NCAA Champion to become the first athlete to win a national title in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4×100-meter relay since Jesse Owens.

BeeJay Lee completes the corps of Americans in the event and is another runner that has bested the 10-second mark with a personal best of 9.97.

Joining De Grasse among the international talent in the event is Turkey’s national record holder, Jak Ali Harvey. Harvey was the 2016 European Championship silver medalist in the event and finished seventh in the 2017 World Championship. With a personal best of 9.92, he qualified for the 2016 Olympics in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100-meter relay.

Kemar Hyman’s 9.95 best in the event makes him the national record holder for the Cayman Islands and he has twice represented his country in the Olympics and has experience on the Blue Oval while winning an NCAA Championship for Florida at Drake Stadium.

Thursday’s announcement of the 100-meter field brings the total number of Olympians set to compete at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee to 16 to date with dozens more to be announced in the coming weeks.

All-session, multi-session and single-session tickets are currently on sale via the Drake Athletic Ticket Office and DrakeTix.com.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado 
©Jim Kirby 2017

Next Level Iowa Podcast: Drake Relays Announcements From Blake Boldon

 

Jenny Simpson and Mike Mahon ©Jim Kirby-2013

Jenny Simpson and Mike Mahon
©Jim Kirby-2013

Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Jim Kirby 2017

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast Blake Boldon announces more elite track and field entries for this year’s Drake Relays!  Listen to the show and hear all about the latest Drake Relays Announcements!

We also talk about last week’s big Stanford meet, check in with Ryan Murphy-Lin Mar-Arkansas after his 10k debut and a whole lot more!

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

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 Byrnes 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.