Edwin Kurgat-ISU
©Luke Lu cyclones.com 2019

Drake Relays Outstanding Performer Heads NCAA Men’s Championships

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa ©Stephen Mally/Hawkeyesports.com 2019

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa
©Stephen Mally/Hawkeyesports.com 2019

AUSTIN, TEXAS — South Dakota junior Chris Nilsen, who will be seeking his third career NCAA

Edwin Kurgat-ISU©Luke Lu/Cyclones.com 2019


individual title in the pole vault, headlines a list of Drake Relays performers who will be competing

in the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships that gets underway Wednesday

at Mike A. Meyers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

From a local area flavor, Iowa State, which won the Hy Vee Men’s Cup at the Drake Relays, will

have seven athletes competing in five events. Meanwhile, Iowa, coming off a Big Ten Conference

outdoor team title, has athletes represented in 11 men’s events with two in the 200 and 400, Both

the Cyclones and Hawkeyes also will be competing in the 4×400 relay.

Victories in the 4×800 and distance medley relays propelled the Cyclones, who won the HyVee

Cup for the first time. Three key members of those winning relays — Edwin Kurgat, Festus Lagat,

Roshon Roomes —will be running at the NCAA Championships.

Kentucky, which made its first appearance at the Drake Relays in more than 30 years, has 11

event entries — tied for sixth most at the NCAAA Championships. This is the Wildcats’ first

season under coach Lonnie Greene, who guided Purdue to 11 victories at the 2018 Drake


Purdue has eight athletes competing in seven events, including five individual specialties: 100,

200 and 400, along with the decathlon and triple jump. In congruence with the storied history of

the Boilermaker relay teams, both the men’s 4×100- and 4×400 squads qualified, as well.

Kentucky is No. 18 in the latest men’s rankings entering the NCAA Championships, while Iowa is

ranked No. 23.

Trio On Bowerman List

Nilsen is one of three Drake Relays performers named to The Bowerman Pre-NCAA

Championship Watch List, who are considered top contenders in their respective events at the

NCAA Championships.

Kentucky junior Daniel Roberts and North Dakota State senior Payton Otterdahl, who had

impressive showings at the Drake Relays, join Nilsen on the list. The Bowerman, dubbed the

Heisman of collegiate track and field, is presented annually to the most outstanding male and

female athlete in the nation.

Nilsen and Roberts both came away with victories at this year’s Drake Relays that they’ll savor for

a long time.

Nilsen was named recipient of the Maury White Award as the Drake Relays outstanding men’s

performer when he became just the second collegian in meet history to upset a reigning World

Champion and Olympic medalist.

Nilsen, a junior and the defending NCAA outdoor champion, cleared a season-best 19-2 1/4

(5.85m) to beat Sam Kendricks, the reigning world outdoor champion. The event was moved into

the Drake Fieldhouse and that clearance was an indoor best for Nilsen, who entered the weekend

as the world leader and beat Kendricks for the first time in five tries.

Just one hour earlier, Roberts upset reigning world outdoor champ and 2016 Olympic gold

medalist Omar McLeod to win the World Showdown Invite 110 hurdles. Roberts, runner-up in the

60 hurdles at the NCAA indoor meet, ran a wind-aided 13.28 to nip McLeod by the narrowest of

margins. McLeod, a three-time Drake Relays champion and the meet record holder, finished in

13.29. It was the first loss on Drake’s Blue Oval for the former Arkansas star since 2014.

Otterdahl claimed 2019 NCAA Indoor titles in the shot put and weight throw, and will seek two

more titles in the discus and shot put this week. Otterdahl finished second behind reigning

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser in the Drake Relays invitational shot put.

The collegiate indoor record holder in the shot put is the only men’s thrower ranked in the top-10

nationally in both the discus and shot put. He also is ranked No. 12 in the world in the outdoor

shot put this year.

Nilsen is one of 15 athletes who are back to defend their men’s outdoor titles. The five-time

NCAA All-American broke a 22-year-old NCAA Championships meet record in 2018 with a vault

of 19-1 .. To defend his title, Nilsen will have to duel LSU’s freshman phenom Mondo Duplantis,

who set the NCAA’s all-time record this spring with a jump of 19-8 ..

Roberts has been phenomenal this outdoor season capped by beating two-time defending NCAA

champ and 60 meter hurdler American record holder Grant Holliday of Florida in the SEC

Championships in 13.07 which tied the second fastest mark in collegiate history.

A few weeks later, Roberts went 13.13 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round for what is now the

second best mark in NCAA Championships history.

Purdue, Iowa To Challenge in Relay Events

The first running event on the track Wednesday – the 4×100 relay — will include the top three

place winners at the Drake Relays: Illinois, Purdue and Houston.

In addition, Kentucky, which won the Drake Relays 4×200 relay, along with Iowa, also will run the

4×100 relay at the NCAA meet.

Purdue is ranked No. 8 on the collegiate list after setting a school record 38.75 en route to

winning the NCAA East Prelims. Earlier Purdue captured the Big Ten title. Illinois will be making

its second straight appearance in the NCAA Championships after finishing 10th last year.

Several sprinters from those relay units also will be competing in the 100 and 200 at the NCAA


Senior Devin Quinn, who anchored Illinois to the 4×100 relay victory at the Drake Relays, has

qualified in both the 100 and 200. The Big Ten 100 champ finished 10th in the 200 at the 2018

NCAA Outdoor meet.

Purdue senior Waseem Williams, who runs the anchor on the 4×100 relay, also is in the 100 after

running a season best 10.11 at the NCAA East Prelims. Teammate Samson Colebrooke, who

runs the first leg on Purdue’s 4×100 relay, qualified for the 200 after running a personal best of

20.46 in the NCAA East Prelims.

Iowa juniors Karayme Bartley and Antonio Woodard will be busy in their debuts at the NCAA

Championships running in the 200 as well as running legs on both the Hawkeyes’ 4×100 and

4×400 relays.

The semifinal round of the 400 which starts at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday features four sprinters

who participated in the Drake Relays led by Iowa’s Mar’yea Harris and Wayne Lawrence. Harris

is making his fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Championships, including a fourth-place

finish last year. Harris won the 400 and anchored Iowa’s wining 4×400 relay at the recent Big Ten

Outdoor meet. Lawrence is ranked 10th on the collegiate list with a top time of 45.33 at the NCAA

West Prelims.

Kentucky sophomore Dwight St. Hillaire and Purdue sophomore Brian Faust also will run in the

400. St. Hillaire, who ran the first leg on Purdue’s winning 4×200 relay at Drake, finished second

in the 400 at the 2019 SEC Outdoor meet.

Harris and Lawrence will be staples for Iowa in the 4×400 relay qualifying round at 7:18 p.m.

Wednesday. The Hawkeyes are a dark horse to contend for the 4×400 relay title, entering the

meet ranked sixth on the NCAA performance list with a season best time of 3:03.10 set at the

Florida Relays. Harris ran the second leg on Iowa’s 4×400 relay, which was second in the 2017

NCAA Championships and ninth last year. Iowa also was sixth in the 4×400 at the 2019 NCAA

Indoor meet.

Houston, which won the Drake Relays invitational 4×400 relay, is seeded third in the NCAA

Championships with a season best time of 3:02.61. Iowa State, Kentucky and Purdue also

qualified in the 4×400 relay. St. Hillaire and Faust, who are in the 400, will run the anchor legs for

Kentucky and Purdue, respectively.

Iowa State senior, Eric Fogltanz, who won the Drake Relays university-college 400 hurdles, will

run in the qualifying round of the 400 hurdles at 6 p.m. Wednesday, while also anchoring the

Cyclones 4×400 relay.

Other Drake Relays competitors in the 400 hurdles include Iowa senior Chris Douglas and

Houston’s Amere Lattin and Quivell Jordan. Douglas, who won the Big Ten title, is making his

second straight trip to the NCAA Championships. Lattin and Jordan ran legs guiding Houston to a

Drake Relays title in the invitational 4×400 relay. Lattin is ranked No. 5 on the collegiate list this

season with a top time of 49:45 at the NCAA West Prelims.

Lattin also will join Kentucky’s Roberts in the qualifying round of the 110 hurdles set for 5:02

p.m. Wednesday. Lattin ran a personal best 13:56 to captured the American Conference

Championship May 10. Iowa junior Jaylan McConico and Kentucky’s Tai Brown, who won the

Drake Relays university-college 110 hurdles, also will compete. McConico was second in both the

Big Ten and NCAA West Prelims.

Smeeton Favored in Steeplechase

Oklahoma State sophomore Ryan Smeeton, who ran the third leg on the Cowboys’ winning

4×1600 relay at the Drake Relays, is one of the favorites in the 3,000 steeplechase after posting

the fastest collegiate time this season of 8:27.90 at the Payton Jordan invitational May 2. Earlier,

he captured the Big 12 title in the steeplechase.

Qualifying heats in the 3000 steeplechase will start at 4:32 p.m. Wednesday with the field

featuring Iowa junior Nathan Mylenek and Minnesota’s Alec Basten who also competed in the

Drake Relays. Mylenek was second in the Drake Relays university-college 1500, while Basten

was second in the invitational 5,000.

Kurgat ranks No. 8 in the 5,000, which will be held at 9:25 p.m. Friday, having posted a season

best of 13:34.10 at the Cardinal Classic. Kurgat, who ran the first leg on Iowa State’s victorious

4×800 and distance medley relay teams at the Drake Relays, will be looking to improve on his

seventh-place finish in the 5000 at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Kurgat was second

in the 10,000 and third in the 5,000 at the 2019 Big 12 Outdoor Championships.

The men’s 800 at 5:44 p.m. Wednesday will feature three runners who made their presence

known at the Drake Relays headed by the Iowa State junior duo of Festus Lagat and Roshon

Roomes, who are ranked Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, in the NCAA. Lagat ran legs on Iowa State’s

wining 4×800 and distance medley relay teams at Drake.

At the Sun Angel Classic, they ran matching 1:47.14s (Lagat was 0.003 seconds faster) to vault

into the top-10 nationally and the No. 3 and 4 spots in ISU history. At the Big 12 Outdoor

Championships, the two flipped spots in the record books with Roomes running a personal best

1:46.91 to finish third and Lagat taking fourth in 1:46.93. The two swapped spots once again at

NCAA West Prelims, with Lagat advancing in 1:46.58, while Roomes came in at 1:46.88.

Junior Michael Rhoads, who anchored the Air Force Academy to victory in the Drake Relays

men’s university sprint medley relay, also will run in the men’s 800 prelims Wednesday. Earlier,

Rhoads placed eighth in the 800 at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships. Rhoads, who owns

the school record in the 800 of 1:47.10, powered the Falcons to a school-record 3:19.33 clocking

to best the rest of the 12-team field at the Drake Relays by nearly 1.5 seconds.

North Dakota State Has 6 Throwers

The lone finale in the running events during Wednesday’s opening session will be the 10,000

meters at 9:08 p.m. featuring Oklahoma State senior Hassan Abdi who ran the anchor leg that

guided the Cowboys to the Drake Relays 4×1600 relay title. Adi went on to win the 10,000 at the

Big 12 Outdoor meet. It was his fourth career Big 12 title also winning the 10,000 in 2017 along

with the 2017 cross country title and a win in the 3,000 at the 2018 Big 12 Indoor

Kentucky sophomore Matthew Peare, who finished second in the Drake Relays university-college

pole vault, will join Nilsen in the pole vault finals that will start at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

North Dakota State tied with UCLA for the most entries in the men’s throwing events at the NCAA

meet, with six including three in the shot put.

There are fourth other Drake Relays competitors joining Otterdahl in the shot put finals at 6:40

p.m. Wednesday: UNI junior Darius King; Kentucky senior Noah Castle and North Dakota State

teammates Kristoffer Thomsen and Alex Talley.

Talley was third in the Drake Relays university-college shot put, while Thomsen was seventh,

Castle 14th and King 15th. King is coming off a personal best 63-4 . at the NCAA West Prelims.

Otterdahl and Talley are doubling up, competing as well in the discus and hammer throws,


The hammer throw will be the first field event of the NCAA meet, being contested at 2 p.m.

Wednesday. Minnesota sophomore Kieran McKeag, who captured the Drake Relays title, is in the

field along with Talley who was third, and Iowa State senior Vlad Pavlenko who was fourth.

This will mark McKeag’s second straight trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Both McKeag

and Pavlenko earned second team NCAA Indoor All-American honors in the weight throw.

Pavlenko has set the Iowa State school record twice during the outdoor campaign, while placing

second in the Big 12 Championships.

North Dakota State freshman Brendan Artley, who was second in the Drake Relays universitycollege

javelin, will compete in the javelin finals at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The discus finals on Friday also include Drake Relays runner-up Charles Lenford, a junior from

Kentucky; Kentucky senior Noah Castle (7th) and South Dakota senior Ben Hammer (12th).

Otterdahl ranks No. 4 on the collegiate list this season in the discus with a personal best of 206-6

The men’s high jump final on Friday features three Drake Relays performers headed by South

Dakota junior Zack Anderson who captured the title. Kentucky sophomore Rahman Minor, who

was third at Drake and Iowa sophomore Jay Hunt (fifth), also are in the field. Anderson is a twotime

NCAA All-American who is ranked No. 5 on the collegiate list this season at 7-4.25 en route

to winning the Summit League title. Minor is coming off a season best 7-2.25 at the NCAA East


Purdue’s Jah Stange and Tamar Greene, who finished first and second at the Drake Relays,

respectively, will compete in the triple jump finals Friday. Greene won the Big Ten outdoor

meet, while Stange was third. Strange is ranked No. 12 on the NCAA performance list with his

season best of 53-1.5 en route to winning the Drake Relays.

Rebeka Topham-Griswold-Wichita State 
©Jim Kirby-2016

Drake Relays Alums Perform Well at Natty’s

Drake Relays Outstanding Performer Ross Among 15 Champs Competing At NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Feature photo: Rebeka Topham-Griswold-Wichita State ©Jim Kirby-2016


AUSTIN, TEXAS – Fifteen Drake Relays champions, led by double winners Faith Ross of Kentucky and Amira Young of Minnesota, will be performing in the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships that start Thursday at Mike A. Meyers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

Jenny Kimbro-Iowa ©Darren Miller hawkeyesports.com 2019

Jenny Kimbro-Iowa
©Darren Miller hawkeyesports.com 2019

Ross was named the outstanding women’s performer of the Drake Relays after becoming the third collegian to sweep the 400 and 100-meter hurdles and first since 2004. Ross raced to a 58.21 time to win the women’s university-college 400 hurdles marking the first Drake Relays victory for Kentucky since 1988. She returned Saturday to win the 100 hurdles by pulling away over the last half of the race to finish in 13.30 and edge Iowa’s Jenny Kimbro, a three-time Big Ten indoor champion. Ross

Young, a freshman, won both the university-college 100 and 200 in her Drake Relays debut.

Ross, a three-time NCAA All-American, will run in both the 100 and 400 hurdles at the NCAA meet, while Young has qualified in the 100.

Kentucky, making its first appearance at the Drake Relays in more than 30 years, won five women’s titles at the 110thrunning of America’s Athletic Classic. The Wildcats, under the guidance of first year coach Lonnie Green, has 11 event entries tied for fifth most in the women’s division.

Kentucky, ranked No. 9 in the latest track and field poll, has finished in the top five at NCAA outdoors three of the last four years and was fourth with 46 points last year.

The Iowa women, which won the Drake Relays Hy-Vee Cup for the first time, has four athletes competing at the NCAA Championships led by junior Laulauga Tausaga, who was named the Midwest Women’s Field Event Athlete of the Year.

Iowa State has three performers who have qualified for the NCAA Championships.

There are two opportunities for a Drake Relays champ to win an NCAA women’s individual title in the 1,500 and discus. Oklahoma State junior Sinclaire Johnson is the collegiate leader in the 1,500 after running a school-record 4:09.50 to win the NCAA West Prelims while beating a field that included defending champ Jessica Hull from Oregon..

Iowa junior Laulauga Tausaga threw a school record 205-8 to register the highest mark at either the NCAA East or West Prelims May 23.

“I’m am very proud of Laulauga and everything she has accomplished so far this season,” said Iowa coach Joey Woody, who also was named the Midwest Track and Field Coach of the Year. “To win both indoor and outdoor field athlete of the year in this region is extremely tough and is a tribute to her competitiveness in multiple throwing events. She is very deserving of this honor.”

Joining Minnesota’s Amir Young in the 100 at 8:16 p.m. Thursdaywill be Kentucky’s Kianna Gray and Celera Barnes. Gray, who was second in the 100 at the SEC Championships, anchored Kentucky to victory in the 4×200 relay at Drake while Barnes ran the opening leg.

Kentucky freshman Abby Steiner, who also ran on that winning Drake Relays 4×200 relay team, has qualified for the 200 which will be held at 9:14 p.m.Thursday.If that’s not enough the trio of Gray, Barnes and Steiner will join anchor Janie O’Connor in competing in the 4×100 relay qualifying that will be the first event run Thursday at 7:02 p.m.

Junior Chloe Abbott, who also ran on leg on Kentucky’s winning 4×200 relay at Drake, is in the400 that starts at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The SEC Outdoor champ won the 400 at the NCAA East Prelims, running a personal best 51.32 seconds

Ross will be running in three events during Thursday’s opening session starting with the 100 hurdles at 8:02 p.m. where she will be facing Iowa State freshman Keira Christie-Galloway in the second heat.  Christie-Galloway arrived in Ames at the start of the second semester, setting a school record en route to winning the 60 hurdles at Big 12 Indoor Championships. She then became Iowa State’s first ever Big 12 100 hurdle outdoor champ in  a school-record 13.10 .

Ross will be joined by Kentucky teammate Masai Russell, a freshman, in the 400 hurdles qualifying at 9 p.m. Thursday, along with Minnesota junior Rachel Schow. Russell placed third behind Ross at the Drake Relays university-college 400 hurdles.

Ross, Abbott and Steiner also will run legs for Kentucky in the4×400 relay, which will have qualifying rounds at 10:18 p.m. Thursday.The Wildcats won the 4×400 at the SEC Championships in a season best 3:30.81.

Johnson will run with two teammates in the 1500 at 9:26 p.m. Thursdaywho played a role in Oklahoma State winning the 4×800, 4×1600 and distance medley relay titles at the Drake Relays. Senior Molly Sughroue, who anchored the winning distance medley relay at Drake, won the Big 12 Outdoor 1500 title. Senior Jenny Celis, who ran on all three winning relays at Drake, is coming off a personal best of 4:12.92 in the NCAA West Prelim in the 1500.

Senior Dana Klein, who anchored San Francisco to third in the distance medley relay at Drake, also will compete in the 1500 after clocking a personal best 4:15.27 at the NCAA West Prelims.

The women’s 800 at 8:44 p.m. Thursday will include San Francisco’s Sadi Henderson and Iowa State senior Erinn Stenman-Fahey. Henderson, who ran on San Francisco’s 4×800 and distance medley relay teams at Drake, ran a personal best 2:03.31 at the NCAA West Prelims which ranks seventh overall on the collegiate list. Stenman-Fahey ran on the Cyclones’ 4×400 and distance medley relay teams. She placed sixth in the 800 at the Big 12 Outdoor meet.

Iowa junior Jenny Kimbro, who was second in both the Drake Relays university-college 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles, is in the heptathlon along with senior teammate Tria Simmons who ran a leg on Iowa’s 4×400 which placed second at Drake. Kimbro and Simmons placed second and third at the Big Ten meet, respectively.

Thursday’s opening round of competition features just one final running event – 10,000– with two Drake Relays performers competing in Minnesota’s Megan Hasz and Iowa State’s Amanda Vestri. Hasz ran the opening leg for Minnesota’s 4×1600 relay, which placed second at the Drake Relays. She finished second in the 10,000 at the Big Ten Championships.

Vestri, who also ran a leg on the Cyclones 4×1600 relay at Drake, was second in the 5,000 and 10,000 at the Big 12 Championships. She is ranked eighth on the NCAA performance list.

Megan Hasz’  twin sister – Bethany – will run in the 5,000 finals Saturday. Bethany anchored the Gophers’ 4×1600 relay at Drake.

Thewomen’s 3000 steeplechase at 7:32 p.m. Thursdaywill feature Wichita State redshirt junior Rebekah Topham who won captured the Drake Relays university-college 1500 as well as South Dakota State senior Rachel King who finished second behind Topham at Drake. Topham, a native of Griswold, Iowa, punched her ticket to her first NCAA Championships after finishing 11th in the NCAA West Regional with an American Athletic Conference and school record time of 9:53.92.

King will run in the first heat, while Topham is scheduled to run heat No. 2 of the  steeplechase prelims. The top-five finishers from each heat plus the next two fastest will advance to Saturday’s finals at 5:54 p.m. Topham is the first female Shocker in the program’s history to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase.

The 2019 outdoor season was packed full of highlights for Tausaga, setting Iowa records in the shot put , discus and hammer throw. She won her third-consecutive Big Ten discus title and was named Big Ten Outdoor Female Field Athlete of the Year after winning the discus title, placing third in the shot put and seventh in the hammer throw.

Missouri senior Gabi Jacobs is making her third straight appearance in the discus at NCAA Championships after recording back-to-back fifth-place finishes in  2017 and 2018. She finished second to Tausaga at the Drake Relays.

Missouri sophomore Sophia Rivera, who captured the Drake Relays women’s javelin title, earned her first trip to the NCAA Championships. She will be joined in the women’s javelin final Thursdaywith North Dakota State freshman Akealy Moton, who won the Drake Relays women’s university-college shot put.

Moton will have a busy Thursday also competing in the finals of the women’s shot put where she will be joined by Drake Relays competitors Tess Keyzers, a freshman from Minnesota who finished fifth at the Drake Relays, along with Iowa junior Nia Britt, who was 11that the Drake Relays.

Keyzers advanced to the national meet with a fifth-place finish in shot put at the NCAA West Prelim, where she recorded a career-best mark of 56-8, while setting a school record. She enters the NCAA meet seeded seventh and owns the nation’s 11th-best mark this season.

Britt is coming off a personal best throw of 55-7 ¾ at the NCAA West Prelim. A downside to Britt’s big throw is that it knocked teammate Laulauga Tausaga into 13th and only the top 12 from each region advanced to Austin. Tausaga placed fourth at the 2018 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with a throw of 56-10 ¾.

Thewomen’s hammer throw Thursdayfeatures four place winners from the 2019 Drake Relays led by Minnesota senior Temi Ogunrinde, who finished fourth. Other athletes are Missouri senior Becky Keating (sixth), North Dakota State junior Bailey Retzlaff (seventh) and South Dakota senior Lara Boman (18th). Ironically Drake Relays champ Amy Herrington from North Dakota State did not advance from the NCAA West Prelims in the event.

Ogunrinde returns to the NCAA Championships for the third straight time after placing 18th in 2017 and ninth in 2018. She enters the national meet seeded fourth with a mark of 211-6, which earned her a runner-up finish at the NCAA West Prelim. Ogunrinde won her third-straight Big Ten title in hammer throw this spring with a season-best mark of 221-2 to become the first individual to three-peat as Big Ten women’s hammer throw champion.

South Dakota junior Helen Falda, who captured the Drake Relays university college pole vault, will be aiming for all-American honors in pole vault finals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. She is ranked seventh on the collegiate list with a personal best of 14-5.25.

Kentucky junior Ellen Ekholm, who won the Drake Relays university-college high jump, advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the third year in a row. When the high jump finals take place SaturdayEkholm will be looking to ride momentum from a strong spring. Ekholm captured the SEC title May 11, marking her fifth straight victory including wins at the Florida Relays, Tennessee Relays, Kentucky Invitational and Drake Relays .

Kentucky senior Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile Excel won the Drake Relays university-college triple jump and will contend for the NCAA outdoor title in the triple jump Saturday. She finished second in the triple jump as a sophomore at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor meet, while placing third last year as well as in the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Rachel Schneider, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and  Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby

Des Moines Prepares For USA Outdoor Championships

2019_Toyota_USATF_Outoor_Champs_FINAL(EDITOR’S NOTE: This preview lists anticipated athletes expected to compete at USA Outdoor Championships. Watch for additional names of more Olympians competing in the near future.)

In less than two months all eyes around the world will be focused on Des Moines when it hosts the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships July 25-28.

Feature photo: Rachel Schneider, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou©Jim Kirby


With the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics right around the corner, venerable Drake Stadium will never see a bigger array of the nation’s top track and field superstars in its history than the hundreds of athletes who will converge on the blue oval.

The U.S. Championships will feature more than 95 Olympians who have won a total of 47 Olympic medals including 20 gold, two world record holders and 15 current American record holders not to mention a bevy of NCAA champions setting the stage for the GREATEST track and field meet ever held in Iowa.


The top three place winners in each event will represent Team USA at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar Sept. 27-Oct. 6.


It’s the first leg highlighting the year-round quest of Team USA athletes to compete at the Olympic Games.


Individual and all session tickets for the U.S. Outdoor Championships are on sale by contacting the Drake Athletic Ticket Office at 515-271-3647 or online at www.draketix.com/usatf


Count on several native Iowans challenging for national titles. 2016 Olympian Shelby Houlihan, a native of Sioux City, returns to defend her outdoor title in the women’s 5,000 for the third straight year.


The 25-year-old Houlihan owned 2018, and she did so across two distances — 1,500 and 5,000 — while possessing perhaps the most lethal kick of any female distance runner in the world, becoming the second women ever to win both the 1,500 and 5,000 at the same U.S. Outdoor Championships since 2003. Houlihan ran a personal best of 3:57.34 in the 1500 at Lausanne, Switzerland, which ranked second in the world last year. Two weeks later she set the existing American record in the 5,000 of 14:34.45 in Heusden, Belgium, July 21.


Five-time NCAA champ Karissa Schweizer, a former West Des Moines Dowling Catholic prep standout, is expected to also run in the women’s 5,000.


Jenny Simpson, reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the 1500 as well as former World Outdoor champ (2011), is expected to compete in the women’s 1,500. Born in Webster City, Ia., the three-time Olympian has combined to win 11 U.S. indoor and outdoor national titles.


Since her first competition at Drake Stadium at the 2008 NCAA Championships, Simpson has won 10 out of 12 races, which she attributes to the family, friends and the great atmosphere.


“I race so much all over the world and so this [running at Drake] is a really great opportunity to race in front of my family,” said Simpson. “So to be in the Midwest and have so much family within driving distance, my parents often rally a small army to come cheer me on. It’s always a lot of fun to see those multi-generational groups showing up at the stadium together.”


Iowa City resident Erik Sowinski, a three-time U.S. Indoor champ, will be among top contenders in the men’s 800 after placing third last year. 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy is back to defend his title. Murphy ranks No. 3 on the U.S. all-time list at 1:42.93 when he became the first American to medal in the 800 at the Olympics since 1992.


Fourth Time Drake Stadium Has Hosted Nationals


If past history is any indication, track and field fans should be in store for some memorable moments on and off the track at U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships.


This will mark the fourth time Drake Stadium has served as the host of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, including the second consecutive year.


Each time fans have witnessed a bevy of American records.Two American women’s records were set the first time Drake hosted the U.S. Championships in 2010, including 2005 World Outdoor Championships silver medalist Chaunte Lowe setting an American record in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 6 feet 8.75 inches on her final attempt.


Three American records were set during the Saturday session of the 2013 U.S. Championships:

Brianna Rollins, women’s 100 hurdles record (12.26); Amanda Bingson, women’s hammer throw (248-5), Michelle Carter, women’s shot put (66-5)


In all 16 Drake Stadium records, including nine in the women’s division, were set at the 2013 U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships.


Last year athletes set one American record (women’s hammer throw), three world leads (men’s 100, women’s 20k race walk and women’s hammer throw), two USA Championship records (women’s triple jump, women’s 20,000m race walk) and 13 Drake Stadium records over the course of four days.


Many seasoned and successful veterans of the sport will look to continue their legacies. Fifteencurrent American record holders are set to compete, including 12 in the women’s division.


Eleven gold medalists from the 2016 Olympic games are expected to compete led by Matthew Centrowitzwho became the first American since 1908 to capture a gold medal in the men’s 1,500.Centrowitz will be trying to become just the second runner in U.S. history to earn his sixth men’s 1500-meter national title joining Steve Scott, who won six championships between 1977 and 1986.


Ryan Crouser, who set an Olympic record en route to winning the gold medal in 2016 at 73-10.75, will compete in the men’s shot put.  The men’s and women’s long jump will feature 2016 Olympic gold medalists Jeff Henderson andTianna Bartoletta, respectively.


Bartoletta captured the long jump at the 2005 and 2015 World Outdoor Championships, while earning gold medals for Team USA in the 4×100 relay at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Henderson will seek his fourth U.S. Outdoor title.


World Record Holders To Run Hurdles

After missing the 2018 U.S. Outdoor Championships,Dalilah Muhammad is expected to seek her fourth career title in the women’s 400 hurdles. Muhammad, who won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, will receive a strong challenge fromShamier Little, who set a Drake Stadium record of 53.61 en route to winning the title, while posting the second fastest time in the world in 2018.


Both the men’s and women’s short hurdles will feature world record holders Aries Merrittand Kendra Harrisonwith the finals expected to be another photo finish.

Merritt set the existing world record of 12.80 in Brussels, Belgium, a month after winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. 2016 Olympian Devon Allenreturns to defend his title in the 110 hurdles after edging six-time NCAA champ Grant Holloway 13.452 to 13.454 last year.


Holloway closed out the 2019 indoor season by winning his second career NCAA Indoor title in the 60 hurdles in an American record 7.35.

Harrison is the two-time defending champion in the women’s 100 hurdles and was ranked No. 1 in the world last year in 12.36 followed by Brianna McNealat 12.38. Harrison set the world record of 12.20 in 2016. But she didn’t make the U.S. Olympic team, watching from the sidelines as Team USA swept the top three places in the women’s 100 hurdles at 2016 Olympics – the first time by any nation in the event and the first time in any women’s event for Team USA in Olympic history.

Brianna Rollinswon the gold medal at Rio De Janiero with Nia Aliearning the silver and Kristi Castlinthe bronze. The trio is expected to run in the U.S. Championships with Rollins seeking her third career title.

The last time a country pulled off a sweep of the gold medal in the men’s 100, 200 and 400 at the World Championships occurred in 2007 by Team USA. The U.S. has the personnel to do it once again.


World’s Best Featured In Men’s Sprints


American men topped the world lists in the 100, 200 and 400 in 2018 led by Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, and Michael Norman. This trio could soon combine to dominate the sprints in ways not seen since before the Usain Bolt era, translating spectacular 2018 campaigns into gold at this year’s World Championships

Americans posted the top four times in the world in the 100 in 2018. And those sprinters will be competing on the blue oval at Drake Stadium.


Coleman, who earned a silver medal in the 100 at the 2017 World Championships, will go for a sprint 100-200 double at the U.S. Championships setting the stage for a run at gold in both the World Championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The decision to run the 100 and 200 assures the U.S. Championships of a major showdown in both events. Justin Gatlin, the reigning king after beating rival Usain Bolt at the 2017 World Championships, and indoor bronze medalist Ronnie Baker, will likely by Coleman’s opponents in the 100 and Lyles in the 200.

The 22-year-old Coleman won the 60 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships and scorched a world-leading 9.79 in the 100 in Brussels, Belgium on Aug. 21, good for seventh all-time. He set the American indoor record in the 60 of 6.34 seconds winning the 2018 U.S. Indoor Championships.

Gatlin was the 2004 Olympic champion in the 100 as well as the 2005 and 2017 World champion in the same event. He also earned a silver medal in the 100 at the 2016 Olympic and a bronze medal in the 200 at the 2004 Olympics and 100 at the 2012 Olympics. Baker ranked second in the world in the 100 last year with a top time of 9.87.

At 20, Lylesbecame the youngest man in 34 years to win the 100 at the 2018 U.S. Championships, setting two Drake Stadium records and two world leads in the semifinals and finals, winning in 9.88, which ranked No. 3 in the world. He also was undefeated in the 200 last year capturing back-to-back Diamond League titles while recording the worlds fastest time of 19.65. The 200 also features two-time defending outdoor champ Ameer Webbalong with three-time NCAA champion Elijah Hall.

Norman, 21, is the sprinter to beat in the 400 after running a world-leading and collegiate record 43.61 en route to winning the 2018 NCAA outdoor title for USC.

Strong Steeplechase

This is a huge year for the top U.S. steeplechasers. Defending world champion Emma Coburnand 2017 silver medalist and American record holder Courtney Frerichsboth look to recapture their London magic at the World Championships in Doha while also battling each other again for the women’s American record, while Evan Jagerwill seek the two elements still missing from his illustrious resume: a gold medal and a sub-8:00 performance.


The battle for American supremacy between Coburn and Frerichs is a fantastic storyline. Coburn claimed her fifth consecutive national title en route to a Drake Stadium record time of 9:17.70 last year, while Frerichswas second in 9:18.69, Coburn has been the face of the event in the U.S. for nearly a decade (winning seven national titles since 2011), but Frerichs very nearly became the sixth woman in history to break 9:00 with her 9:00.85 American record last July.


Jagerhas won seven U.S Outdoor titles in the steeplechase, while earning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics. He has been knocking on the sub-8:00 door ever since his unforgettable 8:00.45 American record in 2015.


Sam Kendricksis the reigning World Outdoor champion in the men’s pole vault and has won every indoor and outdoor USA Championship since his first outdoor title in 2014. The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist made it five USA Outdoor Championships in a row with his Drake Stadium record vault of 19-2.25 last year.


Wilson Seeks 3rdStraight Women’s 800 Title

The first running event final – 10,000 meters  – on July 25 at the U.S. Championships are expected to feature American record holders Galen Ruppand Molly Huddlein their respective men’s and women’s divisions. Rupp, owner of 11 U.S. national titles, won a silver medal in the 10,000 at the 2012 Olympics while capturing a bronze medal in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics. He set the American record in the 10,0000 of 26:44.36 in 2014. Huddle set the current U.S. record of 30:13.17 at the 2016 Olympics.


Lopez Lomong, who last won back-to-back national titles in 2009 and 2010 in the 1500, also will return to defend his men’s 10,000 title.


2016 Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimowill seek his third men’s 5,000 outdoor title in a row.

After having a baby in June of 2018, three-time Olympian Shannon Rowburyhas returned to the track hoping to make her presence in the 1500 where she holds the American record of 3:56.29.

2016 OlympianAjee’ Wilsonwill be seeking her third straight women’s 800 title after setting a Drake Stadium record of 1:58.18 last year. Wilson posted the U.S. outdoor record of 1:55.61 in 2017 and then rewrote the American indoor mark of 1:58.60 at the 2019 Millrose Games.


Fans should expect another captivating battle in the women’s long jump between 2016 Olympian Keturah Orji and American record holderTori Franklin where the Drake Stadium record fell three times last year.Orjientered the 2018 U.S. Outdoor meet owning a 7-0 career record vs. Franklin in head-to-head competition.Orji leapt to a facility record on her first jump at 47-0.75. Franklin set the USATF Outdoor record and Drake Stadium record on her first jump at 47-6.25 leap. Orji responded with a winning jump of 47-10.5, clinching the national title.


American Record Holders Set To Defend Titles In Women’s Field Events


2016 Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morriswill be seeking her third straight title in the women’s pole vault. Morris, the American record holder at 16-4 ¾, will renew her rivalry with Jenn Suhr, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and world indoor record holder, who has won 10 U.S. outdoor titles.


All four of the women’s throwing events— discus, shot put, hammer throw, and javelin— will feature the American record holder in competition.


Three-time Olympian Michelle Carter set the American record in the shot put at 67 feet 8 ¼ inches at the 2016 Olympics en route to becoming the first U.S. woman ever to win the gold medal.


Eight-time U.S. champ and three-time Olympian Kara Winger set the existing American mark in the javelin of 218-8 at the 2010 U.S. Championships at Drake Stadium.


2016 Olympian DeAnna Pricereturns to defend her crown in the hammer throw after setting an American record of 256-3 last year at Drake Stadium, which was also the best in the world in 2018. 2012 Olympian Gia Lewis-Smallwoodis the American record holder in the discus at 226-11.


Catch rising women’s stars in Sydney McLaughlin, who competed in the 2016 Olympic 400 hurdles at the age of 16, along with 21-year-old Vashti Cunningham, a two-time defending USA Outdoor high jump champ as well as four-time reigning USA Indoor champ. McLaughlin won the 2018 NCAA 400 hurdles as a freshman at Kentucky before turning pro. Earlier she set the collegiate record of 52.75 in the event. Cunningham competed in the 2016 Olympics and won the 2015 World Indoor Championship high jump as a 17-year-old.

2016 Olympian Zach Ziemekreturns to defend his decathlon title, while Erica Bougardalso is seeking her second straight crown in the heptathlon.


Coburn, Gatlin and Kendricks are among eight athletes from Team USAwho are reigning 2017 IAAF World Outdoor Champion, receiving an automatic wild-card bye into the World Championships for their respective events. Others are Tori Bowie,women’s 100; Phyllis Francis, women’s 400; Kori Carter, women’s 400 hurdles; Brittney Reese, women’s long jump and Christian Taylor,men’s triple jump.

Taylor is a two-time defending Olympic champ and American record holder (49-8 ¾). Reese won the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics along with a silver in 2016.



Thursday, July 25

2:45 p.m. Decathlon 100

3:30 p.m. Decathlon Long Jump

4:30 p.m. Decathlon shot put

4:40 p.m. Women’s 100 1st round

5:05 p.m. Men’s 100 1st round

5:30 p.m. Women’s 1500 1st round

5:30 p.m. Men’s Discus FINAL

5:45 p.m. Decathlon high jump

5:57 p.m. Men’s 400 hurdles 1st round

6 p.m.    Women’s Javelin FINAL

6:22 p.m. Women’s 800 1st round

6:30 p.m. Women’s triple jump FINAL

6:47 p.m. Men’s 800 1st round

7:12 p.m. Women’s 400 1st round

7:37 p.m. Men’s 400 1st round

8:02 p.m. Decathlon 400

8:50 p.m. Women’s 10,000 FINAL

9:29 p.m. Men’s 10,000 FINAL


Friday, July 26

12:30 p.m. Decathlon 110 hurdles

1:30 p.m. Decathlon discus

3:15 p.m. Decathlon pole vault

4:05 p.m. Women’s 100 hurdles 1st round

4:30 p.m. Men’s 1500 1st round

4:45 p.m. Decathlon “A” javelin

4:57 p.m. Women’s 3000 steeple 1st round

5:15 p.m. Men’s Hammer Throw FINAL

5:25 p.m. Women;s 400 hurdles, 1st round

5:30 p.m. Men’s Triple Jump FINAL

5:40 p.m. Decathlon “B” Javelin

5:45 p.m. Men’s Shot Put FINAL

5:50 p.m. Women’s 100 semifinals

6:04 p.m. Men’s 100 semifinals

6:18 p.m. Women’s 800 semifinals

6:32 p.m. Men’s 800 semifinals

6:46 p.m. Decathlon 1500

6:56 p.m. Women’s 400 semifinals

7:14 p.m. Men’s 400 semifinals

7:28 p.m. Men’s 400 hurdles semifinals

7:44 p.m. Women’s 100 FINAL

7:53 p.m. Men’s 100 FINAL


Saturday, July 27

1 p.m. Heptathlon 100 hurdles

1:45 p.m. Women’s Masters 50+ 200

1:52 p.m. Men’s Masters 50+ 200

2 p.m. Heptathlon high jump

2 p.m. Men’s pole vault FINAL

2 p.m. Women’s 200 1st round

2:20 p.m. Men’s javelin throw FINAL

2:25 p.m. Men’s 200 1st round

2:30 p.m. Women’s hammer throw FINAL

2:40 p.m. Women’s high jump FINAL

2:45 p.m. Women’s long jump FINAL

3:03 p.m. Women’s 100 hurdles semifinals

3:17 p.m. Men’s 110 hurdles semifinals

3:43 p.m. Women’s 1500 FINAL

3:54 p.m. Men’s 3000 steeple FINAL

3:55 p.m. Heptathlon shot put

4:08 p.m. Women’s 400 hurdles semifinals

4:27 p.m. Men’s 400 hurdles FINAL

4:36 p.m. Women’s 400 FINAL

4:45 p.m. Men’s 400 FINAL

4:54 p.m. Women’s 100 hurdles FINAL

5:03 p.m. Heptathlon 200


Sunday, July 28

3 p.m. Heptathlon long jump

4:05 p.m. Heptathlon javelin throw

5 p.m.  Men’s 200 semifinals

5:05 p.m. Women’s discus FINAL

5:10 p.m. Women’s pole vault FINAL

5:14 p.m. Women’s 200 semifinals

5:20 p.m. Men’s high jump FINAL

5:42 p.m. Heptathlon 800

5:45 p.m. Women’s shot put FINAL

6:02 p.m. Men’s 800 Final

6:09 p.m. Women’s 3000 steeple FINAL

6:23 p.m. Men’s 5000 FINAL

6:42 p.m. Women’s 5000 FINAL

7:04 p.m. Women’s 400 hurdles FINAL

7:17 p.m. Women’s 800 FINAL

7:25 p.m. Men’s 110 hurdles FINAL

7:33 p.m. Men’s 1500 FINAL

7:43 p.m. Women’s 200 FINAL

7:51 p.m. Men’s 200 FINAL

Grand Blue Mile 2019
©Jim Kirby 2019

Next Level Iowa Podcast For April 24, 2019: Drake Prep and Time With the Iowa Hawkeyes

Joey Woody & the Iowa Hawkeyes ©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com 2017

Joey Woody & the Iowa Hawkeyes
©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com 2017

Feature photo: Grand Blue Mile 2019 ©Jim Kirby 2019


On this edition of the Next level Iowa Podcast we get amped up for the Drake Relays and also stop by the Iowa Hawkeye Senior Banquet to talk with Coach Woody and some of the Hawks.  It’s going to be a great Drake relays’ weekend!

All this and more, on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Emily Lipari The Wins Grand Blue Mile
©Jim Kirby 2018

Grand Blue Mile Field Announced

Riley Masters Wins The Grand Blue Mile ©Jim Kirby 2018

Riley Masters Wins The Grand Blue Mile
©Jim Kirby 2018

Grand Blue Mile race officials announced preliminary fields for the 2019 USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships set for Tuesday, April 23, in Des Moines. A world-class group of elite milers will headline the event along with approximately 3,500 participants from across the nation who will compete among the recreational and amateur competitive divisions.

Courtesy of the drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Emily Lipari The Wins Grand Blue Mile ©Jim Kirby 2018

“We’re excited to continue the tradition of welcoming high-profile, high-caliber athletes to Grand Blue Mile in partnership with the Drake Relays,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s senior brand marketing manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. “As Grand Blue Mile marks its tenth anniversary, being entrusted to host a fifth national championship in 10 years provides even more reason to celebrate the tremendous impact this special event has throughout central Iowa and beyond.”

This year’s race features a top prize of $5,000 each for the men’s and women’s champions with the potential to earn an additional $2,500 for setting a new course record — currently 4.00.0 (2017) and 4:32.7 (2014), respectively. Overall, $30,000 in prize money will be contested across the men’s and women’s championship divisions.

In the men’s division, returning to defend his title is Riley Masters. He will be joined by:
·         Harun Abda
·         Julius Bor
·         Mikey Brannigan
·         Joe Coffee
·         Jake Edwards
·         David Elliott
·         Nick Harris
·         Daniel Herrera
·         Tripp Hurt
·         Lawi Lalang
·         Brandon Lasater
·         Will Leer
·         Mile Marsella
·         Kyle Medina
·         Kyle Merber
·         Chad Noelle
·         Jay Welp

In the women’s division, returning to defend her title is Emily Lipari. She will be joined by Heather Kampf, three-time Grand Blue Mile champion, and:
·         Grace Barnett
·         Savannah Camacho-Colon
·         Hannah Fields
·         Therese Haiss
·         Rebecca Hehra
·         Nikki Hiltz
·         Marisa Howard
·         Rebecca Mehra
·         Shannon Osika
·         Megan Rolland
·         Ashley Stinson
·         Maddie Van Beek
·         Alexina Wilson

Additional entries to the Men’s and Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championships fields will be finalized next week.

Mascot Madness Charity Challenge returns
Iowa’s most popular mascots are back to compete against each other in the Mascot Madness Charity Challenge. Mascots will run the backstretch of the Grand Blue Mile race course in a friendly competition. The winning mascot from each division will be awarded a $1,000 prize for their school or organization’s charitable foundation.
Confirmed mascots in the “fast” division include:

  • Viktor (Grandview University)
  • Rosie the Reader (Des Moines Public Library)
  • Wanda the Wallaby (Blank Park Zoo)
  • Sam the Ram (Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired)

Confirmed mascots in the “furriest” division include:
·         Champ (Iowa Games)
·         TC (University of Northern Iowa)
·         Cubbie Bear (Iowa Cubs)
·         Spike (Drake University)
·         Cy (Iowa State University)
·         Herky (University of Iowa)

Register today
Youth and adult registration for the Grand Blue Mile is $20 and $25, respectively, with proceeds supporting school-based wellness programs in association with Iowa Kidstrong and the historic Drake Relays.

For more information and to register, visit GrandBlueMile.com.


About the Grand Blue Mile
The Grand Blue Mile is an annual one-mile fitness run/walk sponsored by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, in partnership with the Drake Relays, to engage individuals at all stages of fitness, encourage healthy habits and empower positive change. The annual wellness event includes recreational, competitive and invitational events featuring a field of elite male and female track and field athletes from around the world. Proceeds from the event benefit Iowa Kidstrong, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting healthy, active lifestyles among youth. For more information about the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.grandbluemile.com.

About Wellmark
Wellmark, Inc. (Wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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.


Sydney Milani-SE Polk-ISU
©Mike Byrnes 2018

Drake Relays Early Blue Standard Achievers

@jim Kirby 2016

@jim Kirby 2016

High school athletes across Iowa have taken advantage of pristine spring weather to record more than 90 Blue Standard performances to guarantee their spot in the 2019 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here!  Feature photo: Sydney Milani-SE Polk-ISU©Mike Byrnes 2018

The predetermined Blue Standard qualification standards are based on entries to QuickStatsIowa.com and do not change the entry process or field sizes for high school events. Last year, a total of 131 athletes achieved Blue Standard marks. Athletes have until April 18 to qualify for this year’s Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.

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.

This year’s current Blue Standard achievers include 52 from the girls, plus 38 from the boys field. The high jump has been a particularly fruitful event in achieving the Blue Standard with a total of 18 boys and girls athletes clearing the mark of 5-5 for girls and 6-6 for boys.

Iowa high school athletes who record a Blue Standard during April are encouraged to share their unique accomplishment on social media mentioning @DrakeRelays using the hashtags #MYDRAKERELAYS and #BLUEOVALBOUND.

All-Session tickets or single session reserved are now on sale at draketix.com/drakerelays or by calling 515-271-3647.  For group ticket packages or more information, contact the Drake Ticket Office at 515-271-4949.

Girls Blue Standard Qualifiers

Name School Event Result Date Location Blue Standard
Kerris Roberts Waterloo East 100m 11.93 3/28 Waverly Shell Rock 12.30
Ainsley Erzen Carlisle 400m 58.96 3/26 Simpson 59.00
Carly King Assumption 400m 56.39 3/4 Assumption 59.00
Grace Larkins SE Polk 400m 58.30 3/26 Simpson 59.00
Mackenzie Michael Cedar Falls 400m 57.51 4/6 Assumption 59.00
Auriona Kimbrough Cedar Falls 400m 59.00 4/6 Assumption 59.00
Janette Schraft Glenwood 800m 2:14.95 3/26 Creston 2:16.00
Ashlyn Keeney IC Liberty 800m 2:15.71 4/6 IC West 2:16.00
Ashlyn Keeney IC Liberty 1,500m 4:40.07 3/28 North Scott 4:47.00
Janette Schraft Glenwood 1,500m 4:45.81 4/2 Clarinda 4:47.00
Camille Jackson Ames 3,000m 10:26.60 3/18 Ames 10:30.00
Claire Edmondson Dubuque Sr. 3,000m 10:27.75 3/23 IATC at Dubuque 10:30.00
Janette Schraft Glenwood 3,000m 10:24.68 3/18 Ames 10:30.00
Marie Hostetler Mid Prairie 3,000m 10:19.93 3/18 Ames 10:30.00
Micah Poellett Linn Mar 3,000m 10:29.25 3/4 UNI 10:30.00
Ashlyn Keeney IC Liberty 3,000m 10:06.24 4/4 Washington 10:30.00
Katie Peterson Ankeny 100mH 15.09 4/2 Waukee 15.10
Peyton Steva IC West 100mH 14.63 4/6 IC West 15.10
Zoey Stark Waukee 100mH 15.05 4/6 WDM Valley 15.10
Bettendorf 4x100m 50.34 3/21 Muscatine 50.80
Ankeny 4x100m 49.04 4/2 Waukee 50.80
Waukee 4x100m 49.32 4/2 Waukee 50.80
Wahlert 4x100m 50.52 3/26 Clinton 50.80
Pleasant Valley 4x100m 50.14 3/28 North Scott 50.80
Cedar Falls 4x100m 49.47 4/6 Assumption 50.80
IC West 4x100m 50.34 4/6 IC West 50.80
Solon 4x100m 50.41 4/5 Clear Creek 50.80
SE Polk 4x400m 4:02.48 3/18 Ames 4:03.00
Pleasant Valley 4x400m 4:02.29 4/5 Pleasant Valley 4:03.00
Linn Mar 4x400m 4:00.19 4/5 Pleasant Valley 4:03
Dowling 4x800m 9:34.13 3/26 Simpson 9:36.00
SE Polk 4x800m 9:34.64 3/26 Simpson 9:36.00
Assumption SMR 1:48.74 3/28 Mt. Pleasant 1:49.00
Gabby Guilford Monticello HJ 5-5 3/21 RVC Meet at Dubuque 5-5
Katy Stephens WB-ND HJ 5-5 3/26 West Burlington 5-5
Madison Harms Sergeant Bluff-Luton HJ 5-7 3/22 SDSU 5-5
Miracle Ailes Keokuk HJ 5-8 3/1 Central College 5-5
Olivia Nebergall Anamosa HJ 5-5 3/21 RVC Meet at Dubuque 5-5
Reagan Dahlquist Waverly-Shell Rock HJ 5-6.25 3/18 Ames 5-5
Sara Hoskins Pleasant Valley HJ 5-5 4/5 Pleasant Valley 5-5
Darby Thomas CB Abe Lincoln LJ 18-2.75 3/18 Ames 17-8
Dimia Burrell Linn Mar LJ 17-10 3/23 IATC at Dubuque 17-8
Katie Severt IC West LJ 17-10 3/26 IC West 17-8
Brylie Zieisneiss South Hardin Discus 147-7 3/25 BCLUW 130-6
Jamie Kofron Tipton Discus 142-9 3/26 Tipton 130-6
Sharon Goodman Crestwood Discus 132-1 4/5 Decorah 130-6
Lydia Knapp Panorama Discus 133-8 4/2 Panorama 130-6
Lily Meester Mt. Vernon Discus 131-0 4/2 Williamsburg 130-6
Brylie Zieisneiss South Hardin SP 46-2.5 3/15 Buena Vista 42-0
Jamie Kofron Tipton SP 43-6.75 4/2 West Liberty 42-0
Lauren Payne Lewis Central SP 43-0 3/22 Doane 42-0
Lexie Magnani Mt. Pleasant SP 42-4 3/26 West Burlington 42-0

Boys Blue Standard Qualifiers

Name School Event Result Date Location Blue Standard
Harrison Waylee Urbandale 100m 10.75 3/28 Waukee 10.80
Darien Porter Bettendorf 400m 48.51 4/2 North Scott 49.90
Jacob Keller WDM Valley 400m 49.10 4/6 WDM Valley 49.90
Sam Hall Dowling 1,600m 4:23.78 4/4 IC West 4:24.00
Max Murphy Pleasant Valley 3,200m 9:34.71 3/5 UNI 9:35.00
David Holesinger Dubuque Hempstead 3,200m 9:33.25 3/28 Pleasant Valley 9:35.00
Kolby Greiner IC West 3,200m 9:32.45 4/6 IC West 9:35.00
Jace Christensen SE Polk 110mH 14.56 4/6 WDM Valley 14.60
SC East 4x100m 43.44 4/6 Lynx Invite 43.80
Dowling 4x100m 43.12 3/28 Waukee 43.80
DM East 4x100m 42.97 4/6 WDM Valley 43.80
SE Polk 4x100m 43.76 3/26 Simpson 43.80
Waukee 4x100m 42.82 4/5 43.80
Williamsburg 4x100m 43.42 4/4 Clear Creek 43.80
WDM Valley 4x100m 43.47 4/6 WDM Valley 43.80
Bettendorf 4x100m 43.65 3/29 North Scott 43.80
Bellevue 4x100m 43.78 4/6 IC West 43.80
Waukee 4x400m 3:22.50 3/28 Waukee 3:23.00
Urbandale SMR 3:32.88 4/4 Dowling 3:34.50
Braeden Hoyer Northeast HJ 6-9 3/21 RVC Meet at Dubuque 6-6
Bret Price Boone HJ 6-6 3/23 IATC at Dubuque 6-6
Carter Morton Greene Co. HJ 6-7 3/16 Buena Vista 6-6
Cauy Spidle Central Decatur HJ 6-8.25 3/22 East Union 6-6
Grant Brouwer Sibley Ocheyden HJ 6-8 3/19 Corn Palace Indoor 6-6
Japannah Kellogg Ames HJ 6-6 3/12 Wartburg 6-6
Michael Keegan Beckman Catholic HJ 6-7 3/16 Grinnell College 6-6
Junior Bodden Aplington-Parkersburg HJ 6-6 4/2 Grundy Center 6-6
Grant Kelchen Western Dubuque HJ 6-6 3/28 Pleasant Valley 6-6
Keith Kehana South Tama HJ 6-6 4/2 South Tama 6-6
Aguek Deng WDM Valley HJ 6-8 4/6 WDM Valley 6-6
Damon Jaeger Western Dubuque LJ 22-5 3/11 UNI 22-4
Tamin Lipsey Ames LJ 22-5 4/1 Ames 22-4
Parker Kiewiet Dike-New Hartford LJ 22-9 4/5 Clear Creek 22-4
Cam Jones CR Kennedy DT 175-8 4/2 Western Dubuque 171-0
Logan Jones Lewis Central DT 174-8 4/1 Lewis Central 171-0
Zach Beason Mt. Pleasant DT 172-3 4/2 Mediapolis 171-0
Nick Dejong Pella SP 60-5 4/6 SE Polk 57-0
Noah Fenske New Hampton SP 60-7 4/5 Waverly-Shell Rock 57-0
Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Michael Scott 2019

Next level Iowa Podcast for April 3, 2019

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Michael Scott 2019

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Michael Scott 2019

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast, we talk about some of the meets that took place last week.  We also talk about the IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in Denmark, featuring our own Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou.

Mike and I also discuss the changing IAAF Olympic standards and look ahead to the Drake Relays and all the conference meets coming up.  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame
©Jim Kirby

Relays Announces More Great Teams!

Drake StadiumThe Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee announces the return of some premier track and field teams who have a history at America’s Athletic Classic.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame©Jim Kirby

Back after a one year hiatus is the University of Minnesota.  The throws crew performed well at the NCAA Indoor Championship, which included second team All-American honors for Kieran McKeag in the men’s weight throw, Johnathan Tharaldsen in the men’s shot put and Kiley Sabin in the women’s shot. The Golden Gophers will also be a threat in the distance events with Obsa Ali who placed 15th in the men’s 5000m at NCAA indoors and is the reigning NCAA champion in the steeplechase.

Also returning with a stellar distance contingent will be Oklahoma State.  The women’s team capped their indoor season with a third place finish in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Championship to earn All-American honors.   The men’s team has two All-Americans from last fall’s NCAA Cross Country Championship in Isai Rodriguez, who finished fourth, and Ashenafi Hatte in 27th place.  Both look to be threats in the distance events.

The University of San Francisco women’s team makes the trek to America’a Athletic Classic this year with strength in the middle distance events.  Senior Sadi Henderson is a four-time All American in the 800m from her undergrad career running at Boise State and fellow senior Dana Klein led the Dons in the indoor 3000m this season.

An exciting team coming back to the Blue Oval this year is Kentucky, which returns for its first appearance since 2011 when Keenan Hall won the men’s triple jump.  At the NCAA Indoor Championship, the Wildcats had All-American performances from Daniel Roberts claiming second in the men’s 60m hurdles, Marie-Josee Ebwea-Excel taking third in the women’s triple jump, Kianna Gray placing fourth in the 60m dash and the women’s 4x400m relay team finishing in eighth place.  Kentucky head coach Lonnie Greene will have his teams ready to be strong contenders for the Hy-Vee Cup.

All-Session tickets or single session reserved are now on sale at draketix.com/drakerelays or call 515-271-3647.  For group ticket packages or more information, contact Dustin in the Drake Ticket Office at 515-271-4949.

Derek Jacobus-CR Kennedy-Arkansas

Next Level Iowa Podcast For March 16, 2019: National wRAP!

Bella Solis-Dubuque Central-Loras ©DuHawks Athletics 2018

Bella Solis-Dubuque Central-Loras
©DuHawks Athletics 2018

Feature photo: Derek Jacobus-CR Kennedy-Arkansas©DarrenMiller/hawkeyesports.com

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we cover last weekend’s Nationals for D1,2 and 3.  We also look ahead to out door season and the IAAF World Championships, featuring Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, keeping for Team USA in Denmark, March 30, 2019

All this and more, on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!


Lavon Davis-Ames-Grand View, Coach Seth Roberson-Grand View, James Plummer-Grand View
©Doug Wells 2018

Next Level Iowa Podcast For March 6, 2019: Seth Roberson

Val Vioek-WDM Valley-GVU and Seth Roberson-GVU ©Doug Wells 2017

Val Vioek-WDM Valley-GVU and Seth Roberson-GVU
©Doug Wells 2017

Feature photo: Lavon Davis-Ames-Grand View, Coach Seth Roberson-Grand View, James Plummer-Grand View©Doug Wells 2018

On this edition of the Next level Iowa Podcast we talk with Grand View throws coach, Seth Roberson.  The vikings had an All-American weekend at Nationals and we talk with Seth about the Vikings’ performance.

We all discuss the upcoming National Indoor meets for our Iowa athletes and talk high school indoor track.  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!