All the news from Division I Mens and Womens Track.

Erin Hawkins-Roosevelt-Minnesota
©Jim Kirby

Erin Hawkins PR’s in Leading Gophers

Erin Hawkins-Roosevelt-Minnesota ©Jim Kirby

Erin Hawkins-Roosevelt-Minnesota
©Jim Kirby

The Gophers took home three individual titles and recorded 18 personal-best marks, including nine Minnesota all-time top-10 marks, as the team wrapped up the weekend’s action at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday.

Courtesy Gopher Athletics

Erin Hawkins-DM Roosevelt posted career-best times in both of her events. She finished sixth in the 100m in 11.67 seconds and also took sixth in the 200m in 23.93 seconds. Both times rank Hawkins fifth among all-time Gopher sprinters as well.

Likewise, three Gophers earned personal-best times in the 800m and four in the 1,500m run. Lauren Domski (2:10.27),Anne Ferguson (2:11.64) and Kate Shelerud (2:13.96) ran their career-best times in the 800m, and Kaila Urick(4:25.03), Liz Berkholtz (4:28.85), Stacey Swatek (4:34.33) and Kate Bucknam (4:37.93) ran their best times in the 1,500m.

Next weekend, the Gopher multi-event athletes are set to compete at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Va., and members of the team will also compete at the Concordia St. Paul Invite.

Gopher Top 5 Finishes
1. Esser, discus, 53.66m
1. Murphy, javelin, 45.83m
1. Piepenburg, 3,000m steeple chase, 10:42.06
2. 4x100m relay, 45.47 seconds
2. 4x400m relay, 3:38.95
2. Stanford, hammer, 59.24m
3. Strandemo, 3,000m steeple chase, 10:47.79
3. Spagnola, long jump, 5.81m
3. Thorpe, hammer, 55.40m
3. Melum, javelin, 43.45m
4. Urick, 1,500m, 4:25.03
4. Stanford, discus, 49.52m
4. Guenther, hammer, 53.66m
4. Spagnola, 400m hurdles, 1:01.96
4. Spagnola, 100m hurdles, 13.66 seconds
5. Burks, hammer, 51.36m
5. Kamps, shot put, 14.18m
5. Markland, 400m, 53.71 seconds
5. Mikkalson, 3,000m steeple chase, 11:04.78

Sebastian Barth-UNI
©Panther Athletics

Weekend “Rap!”

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Sun Devils Athletics

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Sun Devils Athletics

Results from the weekend…

  • Iowa State teams had a busy but successful weekend Click Here!
  • UNI happy with results at Nebraska Click Here!
  • Shelby wins 800 at home meet as she prepares for Drake Relays 800! Click Here!
  • Drake very competitive on the Blue Oval Click Here!
  • Iowa wins 5 events at Jim Duncan Click Here!
  • Central came up with some very good results in Des Moines Click Here!
  • UNO Mavericks get good efforts from former Iowa preps Click Here! and also Click Here!
  • Schweizer and Waymire perform well for Mizzou Click Here!
Justin Baker-SC Heelan-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Throwers Lead Panthers Early

Justin Baker-SC Heelan-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Justin Baker-SC Heelan-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The University of Northern Iowa track and field team will head to Lincoln, Neb. this weekend to compete in the Husker Spring Invitational. The meet will take place on Saturday, April 11.

The scored competition will feature five team total, including South Dakota, Indiana State, North Dakota State and Nebraska, along with the Panthers. The meet is set to start at 10 a.m. with field events while the running portion of the meet will kick off at 1:35 p.m.

UNI will take a full squad to Nebraska after most of the Panthers student-athletes took a week off from competition last weekend. The Panthers did take a small group of throwers to the Cornell Invitational on April 4, scoring several personal-best performances.

On the women’s side, UNI swept all three throwing events, placing first in the shot put, discus and hammer throw.

continued to shine for the Panthers, picking up wins in the shot put and hammer throw, both with season-best marks.

Senior Justin Baker took shots at the school record in the men’s hammer throw, finishing with a huge PR of 201-10 to rank him third all-time at UNI and grab the win. He also won the men’s shot put with a mark of 55-2.25.

UNI currently has 24 athletes combined from the men and women ranked in the top-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference in their respective events.

On the men’s side, the Panther field athletes have a quintet in the top-five, including Shawn Koch who is currently leading the conference in the triple jump. Justin Baker is also ranked second in the shot put after his standout performance at the Cornell Invite.

Alex Wilson is currently ranked second in the 1,500 meters after her season-opening win in the event at the ESU Spring Invitational. In the field, Kassidy Sharp sits at the No. 3 spot in the women’s high jump while Jamie Lindstrom is currently ranked in the top-10 in the shot put, discus and hammer throws.

Aaron Mallett-Iowa
©Darren Miller

Hawks Ranked 25th Nationally

Kevin Lewis-Otumwa-Iowa ©Jim Kirby

Kevin Lewis-Otumwa-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

The University of Iowa men’s track and field team debuted at No. 25 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25 Division I National Team Computer Rankings released Monday.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics

The Hawkeyes were unranked when the preseason poll was announced March 24, but have since climbed eight spots following nationally-ranked individual performances at the Baldy Castillo Invitational, Florida Relays, and Stanford Invitational.

Aaron Mallett ranks second in the nation in the 110-meter hurdles following a career-best time of 13.60 at the Florida Relays. He added a second personal record in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 51.56 for a time that ranks 20th nationally.

Mallett also anchors Iowa’s top 400-meter relay. Vinnie Saucer, Jr., Brendan Thompson, James Harrington, and Mallett ran 40.07 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational and rank No. 15 in the country. Harrington hit an individual personal best at the same meet, running the 200 meters in 20.98, a time that ranks 21st in the nation.

Kevin Lewis set a personal-record in the 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational, finishing in 28:59.62 to rank 19th nationally.

The Hawkeyes are back in action April 17-18 at the Mt. Sac Relays. Iowa returns home to compete at the Drake Relays on April 23-25, and host the Musco Twilight XVI on Saturday, May 2.

sd

S. Dakota’s Glisar Breaks School Record

Megan Glisar-Sgt. Bluff-South Dakota ©Jim Kirby

Megan Glisar-Sgt. Bluff-South Dakota
©Jim Kirby

South Dakota senior Megan Glisar broke her own school record and finished runner-up in the high jump as the Coyote track and field teams wrapped up competition at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Saturday.

Glisar cleared 6 feet, ¾ inches to best the record she set a week ago at the Baldy Castillo Invitational by three-quarters of an inch. The height ranks third-best in Division I this season.

Distance runners senior Taylor Chapman and sophomore Mach Dojiok qualified to run in the Jerry Thompson Men’s Mile Invitational. Chapman placed eighth in 4:13.25 and Dojiok took 13th in 4:20.79.

Taylor Chapman-Spencer-Morningside ©Morningside Athletics

Taylor Chapman-Spencer-Morningside
©Morningside Athletics

Senior Cody Snyder rounded out the Coyotes competing on the final day of the Texas Relays. Snyder finished 14th in the shot put with a throw of 55-3.

Coyote track and field returns to South Dakota next Saturday for The Duels in Sioux Falls, S.D.

asu

Houlihan Breaks Meet Meet Record

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Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St. ©Michael Scott

Arizona State track and field’s senior Shelby Houlihan broke the 1500m run meet record on Saturday, the second and final day of ASU’s Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invite at Sun Angel Stadium.

“When you look at our team, you see that we continue to make growth,” Director of Track and Field Greg Kraft. “We have to be patient, it’s March 28 and we have a lot more season to come. We’re making progress and people are improving. It’s almost a broken record when you say Shelby Houlihan was special, Bryan McBride was special. We need other people to be special, and we’re starting to see it. When you have some people that haven’t been there before that you’re counting on, that you know have star quality, like Magdalyn Ewen, you just have to be patient and keep the faith that she’s going to be able to do that. Brianna Tate has experience with that, Sara McDonald had a nice race for us, and Shaina Corbin’s steeplechase was a big deal for us tonight. McDonald and LaTroya Franklin in the relays were big for us, and Melese Crozier in the 4x400m relay gives us a team that I really believe can make it to the NCAA finals.”

At the meet, ASU teamed up with UCLA and Arizona to take on Michigan, Indiana, and Nebraska of the Big Ten. The Pac-12 women defeated the Big Ten women, 372-353, while the Big Ten men defeated the Pac-12 men, 363.5-356.7.

Houlihan opened the 2015 outdoor season in the 1500m run, leading from wire to wire and finishing at 4:14.35 and breaking the previous best time, set in 2007 by Oregon Track Club’s Jemma Simpson at 4:19.53.

The senior out of Sioux City, Iowa, also ran the third leg of the 4x400m relay, teaming up with freshman Melese Crozier, sophomore LaTroya Franklin, and senior Sara McDonald. ASU won the race with a season best time of 3:38.61, which currently is marked at one of the top-10 times in the NCAA West region.

Up next, the Sun Devils will have a week to prepare for the third home meet of the season, the 36th Sun Angel Track Classic, April 9-11, at Sun Angel Stadium.

Head Coach’s Views on Shelby Houlihan

“We know she can do well in whatever race we enter her into, we’re extremely confident in her, but we also know that at the Pac-12 meet, she’ll be doubling like she did at the NCAA Indoor Championships. It’s a hard double to do, whether it’s the 1500m and the 5k, or the 800m and 1500m. We have to look at what sets her up most importantly for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June. We have to be able to put together points other than Shelby’s in order to meet our perennial goal of being a top-10 team. I’ve always said you have to be in the 20s, and Shelby can get us 10 points, but other people have to come up and score.”

Head Coach’s views onAssistant Coach Louie Quintana

“It was a great day. We started well in the 1500m with Shelby (Houlihan) running 4:14. We keep talking about the same thing, it seems, but she really brings a great energy to the meets. Being able to follow the race plan we put together was a great effort.”

Shelby Talkin’ Shelby

“I was really excited to come and open today. The 1500m went as planned, Louie (Quintana) wanted me to go out in 69-70s, go through 2:18 to 2:20, and that’s exactly what I did. I kicked the last lap and I kicked really well, going out in 63 seconds, with the last 200m in about 30, so that was awesome to be able to do. The leg of the 4×4 was awesome, I never get to run it, but I love running the 4×4, so it was fun to get out there. Louie asked me what I wanted to do this weekend, and we’d already talked about running the 1500m, and I asked if I could get into the relay and he said yes, and it would also help with my speed work.

“For this season I want to run the 1500m in around 4:07, which is the A Standard for Worlds, so that’s what I’m aiming at. I think I’m definitely in that shape right now. In the mile in indoor we went through 1500m in 4:09, 4:10, so I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of getting in the right race.”

Team Results

Women

  • Pac-12 (Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA) – 372
  • Big Ten (Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska) – 353

Women’s 1500m Run

  • 1. Shelby Houlihan – 4:14.35 (Meet Record/Previous: Jemma Simpson (Oregon TC: 4:19.53/2007)
uni

UNI Opens Up Outdoors

Brandon Carnes-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Brandon Carnes-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The University of Northern Iowa track and field program will open its outdoor season at the Emporia State University Spring Open on Saturday, March 28. The meet will be held at the Zola Witten Track in Emporia, Kan.

The ESU Spring Open is one of 10 outdoor meets that the Panthers will compete in prior to the MVC Outdoor Championships on May 15. The meet will begin at 12 p.m. with the field events, followed by the start of the competition on the track at 1:30 p.m.

Courtesy Panther Sports

UNI is coming off a strong indoor season where both the men’s and women’s teams were ranked regionally by the USTFCCCA. The Panthers posted strong performances at the MVC Indoor Championships, coming away with four individual titles and several personal-bests.

Brandon Carnes defended his MVC titles in the 60 and 200 meters, winning both events for the second consecutive season. The sophomore now has six individual titles under his belt between his indoor and outdoor seasons as a Panther.

Alex Wilson and Brette Correy picked up their first individual championships during the indoor season, winning the women’s mile and the 800 meters, respectively. Correy’s time of 2:09.49 ranks her fourth all-time at UNI.

The meet was also highlighted by Correy winning the MVC Elite 18 Award. The Elite 18 Award program was established by the MVC in the fall of 2010 to honor the highest achievement in academics and athletics by a student-athlete in each MVC-sponsored sport.

The indoor season was capped off by the Panthers sending senior Sebastian Barth to the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships. Barth had a standout indoor season in the 60 meter hurdles, breaking the school record with a time of 7.72.

His time of 7.72, which was run in January at the UNI Team Invitational, was the fastest time in the country at that time. The time qualified him for the National Championships as one of just 16 student-athletes to compete for that event.

Barth is one of six seniors on the men’s side returning for the outdoor season along with eight on the women’s side. UNI will also return six All-MVC men’s selections from a year ago and seven for the women, looking to score big team points this season for the Panthers.

Alex Gochenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas 
©Jim Kirby

Gochenour Shines in Heptathlon For Hogs

Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas ©Jim Kirby Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas ©Jim Kirby

Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas ©Jim Kirby
Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas
©Jim Kirby

Scoring a personal-best score of 6,027 points, Arkansas junior Alex Gochenour (Logan Magnolia) won the heptathlon title Thursday afternoon for the Razorbacks at the 88th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin.

Gochenour is just the second Razorback in program history to eclipse 6,000 points in the heptathlon, trailing only school-record holder Makeba Alcide (6,050 points) in Arkansas’ record book. During the two-day event, she established three personal bests and two more all-conditions bests. Gochenour added more than 500 points to her prior best at Arkansas in the heptathlon, improving upon the 5,522 points she scored at last year’s Texas Relays.

Texas Relays Heptathlon (Day 1)

1. Alex Gochenour – 3,757 points

1. 100mH – 13.15 (PR) [1,102 points]

2. High jump – 1.78/5-10 (PR) [953]

4. Shot put – 13.02m/42-8.75 (PR) [729]

1. 200m – 24.08W (+4.3) [973]

Heptathlon (Day 2/Final)

1. Alex Gochenour – 6,027 points (PR)

1. Long jump – 6.27m/20-7w [934 points]

12. Javelin – 31.14m/102-2 [498]

4. 800m – 2:18.95 [838]

Lolo Jones, Queen Harrison Brianna Rollins and Vashti Thomas
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays 2015: The Sky’s the Limit-Part Deux

Lolo Jones, Queen Harrison Brianna Rollins and Vashti Thomas ©Jim Kirby

Lolo Jones, Queen Harrison Brianna Rollins and Vashti Thomas
©Jim Kirby

The Drake Relays Presented by Hy-Vee has bolstered its already stellar lineup with the addition of even more world-class athletes set to compete at Drake Stadium, Drake Relays director Brian Brown announced Wednesday, March 25.

Courtesy Drake Athletics

The additions to the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee include 20 elite athletes currently ranked in the top 10 in the world in their respective events and eight that are Olympic medalists. Brown also announced that Chaunte Lowe, Brandon Couts and legendary Iowa State coach Steve Lynn will be enshrined as members of the Drake Relays Hall of Fame.

Friday evening’s Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays will continue the Drake Relays and Hy-Vee’s rich history of bringing the central Iowa community together to showcase tremendous athletic events. Last season, the women’s shuttle hurdle relay was one of the evening’s fan favorites and 2015 will be no different as three teams comprised of seven of the best hurdlers in the world duel along the Drake Stadium homestretch.

One of the teams will feature four of the top 10 hurdlers in the world as Dawn Harper-Nelson, Queen Harrison, Brianna Rollins and Kristi Castlin join forces to race against Lolo Jones, Tiffany Porter, Jasmin Stowers and Sharika Nelson. Also joining the fray for the event’s lucrative prize purse will be Jackie Coward, Raven Clay Finlay, Tenaya Jones and Christina Manning.

Many of those same standouts, including Des Moines native and Drake Relays great Lolo Jones will step into the blocks on Saturday for the women’s 100-meter hurdles. The event is scheduled to feature the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9th ranked athletes in the event. In addition to Jones, the star-studded field features world No. 1, reigning USA Champion and two-time Olympic medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson. The 2015 Relays champion, Kristi Castlin, returns to defend her title while Jasmin Stowers will make her professional Drake Relays debut after winning the USA Indoor Championship in the 60-meter hurdles.

With five of the top 10 men’s 110-meter hurdlers in the world already committed to compete at the Relays, Brown added even more firepower to the Relays impressive hurdle lineup with 400-meter hurdle lineups that feature six athletes ranked in the top 10 and three Olympic medalists. The men’s 400-meter hurdles is headlined by the world’s Nos. 1 and 2 in Javier Culson and reigning Relays champion Michael Tinsley who narrowly edged Culson in last year’s matchup. The lineup, that features five Olympians, also includes Johnny Dutch who finished third at the 2014 Relays and Kerron Clement, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist.

The women’s 400-meter hurdles is equally impressive with three athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world including defending Relays champion Tiffany Ross Williams and last year’s third-place finisher and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Lashinda Demus. Georganne Moline, who is ranked sixth in the world and finished second at the last two USA Championships, posted the second-fastest time by an American in 400-meter hurdles in 2014 while fellow Relays entrant Cassandra Tate recorded the third-fastest time of the season.

Pulling the hurdles off the Blue Oval sets the stage for another highly anticipated race with four of the world’s top-10 scheduled to race in the women’s 400 meters. World No. 1 Novlene Williams, a three-time Olympian, is joined by Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross to put the top three-ranked 400-meter athletes on the track. Richards-Ross is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the event while McCorory teamed with Richards-Ross to earn an Olympic gold medal in the 2014 Olympic games.

Brown has also added athletes for a pair of field events with the world’s top two men’s triple jumpers and another competitive women’s high jump lineup ready to entertain fans inside the oval. World No. 1 Christian Taylor and No. 2 Will Claye will add another chapter in their rivalry that extends back to their time as collegiate teammates. In 2012, Taylor won Olympic gold while Claye earned silver. At the 2014 USA Championships, the the roles were reversed. France’s Teddy Tamgho, the current indoor world record holder, will also hit the runway with Taylor and Claye and is aiming to build upon his 2013 World Championship.

The women’s high jump competition marks the return of three-time Olympian and World No. 2 Ruth Beitia to the Drake Relays to take on a field that also includes American record holder and Relays Hall of Famer to be Chaunte Lowe. Lowe won the event last year for the fourth time and will attempt to add a fifth title to her resume as she enters the Relays Hall of Fame.

The lineup includes another four-time Relays Champion in Amy Acuff ,who is returning to Drake Stadium this season. Acuff is a five-time Olympian and recently took second at the USA Indoor Championship behind Lowe.

Lowe and her two other Hall of Fame classmates will have the unique opportunity to be enshrined to the Drake Relays Hall of Fame inside Drake Stadium. Previously, the ceremony took place on the Drake campus. However, this season the Hall of Famers will be honored inside the venue that saw them rewrite history in front of many of the fans that will be in attendance.

Lowe earned the prestigious honor by virtue of her Relays titles in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 in addition to her two indoor titles in 2006 and 2008. In 2010, she was named the Relays Most Outstanding Performer after winning the title with a Relays record clearance of 6-5. Two years later she shattered that record by clearing 6-6. She also set the American record at Drake Stadium by jumping 6-8.75 at the 2010 USA Championships. In international competition she is a three-time Olympian and has earned three World Championship medals. She is also a five time USA Outdoor Champion and a three-time indoor title holder.

Baylor’s Brandon Couts recorded some of the most impressive relay performances inside Drake Stadium and was named the Most Outstanding Performer in 1998 as a freshman. That year, he won the invitational 400 meters, anchored the winning 4×200 and 4×400-meter relays while taking the baton last in the Bears’ second-place 4×100-meter relay. A year later, he anchored the winning 4×400-meter relay while finishing second in the 400 meters and in 2000 he led Baylor to its ninth-straight 4×400-meter title with a 44.2 split. Couts was a 13-time All-American, a four-time NCAA Champion and a 15-time Big 12 Champion.

Steve Lynn, Iowa State’s head coach from 1993-2007, enters the Hall of Fame posthumously as a legend not only at the Drake Relays, but the state of Iowa as well. Under his tutelage, Cyclone student-athletes captured 18 Drake Relays titles in nine different events. As an assistant, he guided Danny Harris to five Drake Relays titles in the 400-meter hurdles, three NCAA Championships and the 1984 Olympic silver medal. In 1993, he was named the Big Eight Coach of the Year and guided the Cyclones to three Big Eight titles. His student-athletes earned a total of 56 All-America honors under his leadership.

Single-session tickets for the 2015 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee go on sale to the general public on March 26 at 9 a.m. Single-session, all-session and multi-session tickets are available at www.DrakeRelays.org or by calling the Drake Athletic Ticket Office at 515-271-3647.

Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays 2015: “The Sky’s the Limit”

Aries Merritt ©Jim Kirby

Aries Merritt
©Jim Kirby

The Drake Relays Presented By Hy-Vee has brought some of the finest athletes in the world to Des Moines for 105 years and 2015 will be no different as Drake Relays director Brian Brown has declared ‘The Sky Is The Limit’ for this season’s competition in Des Moines.

Brown announced the first round of elite athletes and events on Tuesday, Feb. 24, plus schedule and venue changes for events outside of Drake Stadium.

Ryan Grant, Director, Sports Marketing and Events at Hy-Vee, was also on hand to discuss Hy-Vee’s continued relationship as the presenting sponsor of the Drake Relays and the Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays. Hy-Vee’s partnership with the Drake Relays is a natural extension of its long-standing commitment to health and wellness in our local communities.

The Hy-Vee Road Races at the Drake Relays will be held on Sunday, April 26th. The Hy-Vee Road Races present an opportunity for people of all skill levels to be actively involved in the Drake Relays. Early bird registration has been extended to March 14th for the 5k run/walk, the 10k run and the half marathon. Information and registration for the Hy-Vee Road Races can be found at www.Hy-VeeRoadRaces.com

Relays week will kick off a day earlier this spring with the annual Beautiful Bulldog contest on Sunday, April 19, in the Knapp Center. The internationally adored event begins a full week of Relays festivities in Des Moines that continues on Tuesday, April 21, with the Grand Blue Mile on the streets of downtown Des Moines. Registration for the popular 1-mile road race opens to the public on Feb. 26.

The most notable physical change to Relays week comes on Wednesday, April 22, as the pole vault leaves the familiar confines of Jordan Creek Town Centre for the heart of downtown Des Moines. This year’s pole vault exhibition will take place on Court Avenue as some of the world’s top vaulters take to the streets and airspace of the popular entertainment district.

Scheduled to compete in the men’s event is Olympic gold medalist, world record holder and defending Relays stadium champion Renaud Lavillenie of France. The women’s field features world record holder and No. 3 in the world Jenn Suhr of the U.S. and the world’s No. 2 vaulter and 2013 and 2014 Relays champion Yarisley Silva of Cuba.

Those events early in the week will serve as appetizers for the incredible fields lined up to compete inside Drake Stadium April 23-25. Friday night is again ‘Hy-Vee Night at the Relays’ with some of the top athletes in the history of track and field set to preview this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

Brenda Martinez ©Jim Kirby

Brenda Martinez
©Jim Kirby

A new event will also be added to the Friday night’s schedule with the women’s 800 meters. Eight of the top 10 American 800-meter runners are poised to line up at Drake Stadium including world No. 2 Ajee Wilson and No. 3 Brenda Martinez.

In its tradition of welcoming the world’s finest athletes to the Blue Oval, the Relays will stage a 200-meter paralympic race on Friday, April 24 with T44 classification athletes, including world record holder Richard Browne and former world record holder Jarryd Wallace. The T44 classification is for athletes that run with the use of prosthetics. Browne won silver in the 2012 Paralympic Games in the 100 meters while Wallace took gold in the International Paralympic Committee’s 2013 World Championships.

Joining the field will be a T11 competitor in David Brown who is blind and runs with the aid of a guide runner. Brown owns the T11 world records in both the 100 and 200 meters.

Last year’s men’s 400 meters was one for the ages with American LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James of Grenada writing another chapter in their storied rivalry with Merritt narrowly edging James, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. The pair will reprise that role this year in a 400-meter field that features seven of the top 10 ranked athletes in the world with Merritt and James being followed by the Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 400-meter runners.

The men’s 110-meter hurdle field is similarly exceptional with seven of the top 10 in the world confirmed to step into the blocks. World No. 1 Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France will be joined by the world’s Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 hurdlers, in addition to world record holder Aries Merritt. World No. 3 Hansle Parchment will try to defend his 2014 Relays title against the star-studded field.

Many of those hurdlers will also participate in the always thrilling shuttle hurdle relay with three teams of four competing in the back-and-forth race along the Blue Oval straightaway. Currently, two teams of Americans – David Oliver, Aries Merritt, Ashton Eaton, Alec Harris and Ronnie Ash, Ryan Wilson, Spencer Adams, Jason Richardson – will line up against a team of Jamaicans in Parchment and Andrew Riley and French brothers Pascal and Thomas Martinot-Lagarde.

The men’s high jump also returns to Hy-Vee Night at the Relays in an encore of last year’s thrilling competition that saw Derek Drouin set a Drake Relays and Canadian national record by clearing 7-10.5. Challenging Drouin’s attempts at repeating as Relays champion is a field that has five of the top 10 Americans slated to jump.

As the elite professional fields continue to come together, Brown has also bolstered the collegiate competition with commitments from Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech set to join the traditional lineup of collegiate programs inside Drake Stadium. Those teams will join the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State and Wisconsin in competing for the Hy-Vee Cup, awarded to the top scoring team in the collegiate relay events. Baylor won the women’s Hy-Vee Cup last season while Arkansas and Illinois shared the men’s title.