©Mike Brynes 2017

“Drake Prepares For USA Outdoor Championships” by Mike Mahon

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City ©Mike Brynes 2017

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City
©Mike Brynes 2017

In less than two months all eyes around the world will be focused on venerable Drake Stadium when it hosts the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 21-24.

Feature photo: ©Mike Brynes 2017


World record holders and Olympic medalists as well American record holders and NCAA champions will converge on the blue oval in the biggest sporting event Iowa will host this summer.


“We want the top athletes and coaches in the U.S. to feel like the blue oval is a home away from away and Des Moines is a world class destination for the sport of track and field,” said Drake Relays director Blake Boldon.


Count on several native Iowans challenging for national titles. 2016 Olympian Shelby Houlihan, a native of Sioux City, returns to defending her outdoor title in the women’s 5,000. She also is a four-time USA Indoor champ.


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


Five-time NCAA champ Karissa Schweizer, a former West Des Moines Dowling Catholic prep standout, also will run in distance races.


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 third time Drake Stadium has served as the host of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.


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.


2008 Olympian and Olympic Trials record holder Kara Patterson set an American record in the women’s javelin on her final attempt that soared 218 feet 8 inches, 2005 World Outdoor Championships silver medalist Chaunte Lowe set an American record in winning the women’s high jump with a clearance of 6-8.75 on her final attempt. Lowe remained on the high jump pit for nearly a minute in tears after setting the record.


Fast forward three years later when four American records were set during the Saturday session of the 2013 U.S. Championships.


Just two weeks after setting the collegiate record in the women’s 100 hurdles record (12.39) at the NCAA Championships, Brianna Rollins ran a stunning 12.26 that left a high-quality field in her wake while demolishing the 13-year old U.S. record.


Amanda Bingson set an American record twice in the women’s hammer throw. Bingson first threw an American record on her second attempt at 245-9, quickly followed by an even better mark of 248-5 on her third. Michelle Carter had the throw of her career in the women’s shot put to add her name to the American record books. Carter’s throw of 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.


Officials from USA Track and Field, the national governing body, visited Drake Stadium April 10 touring the facilities while meeting with representatives from Drake along with Katie Fenci, director of Des Moines Conventions, Sports & Services


“Greater Des Moines has proven to be a Sports City…and that is due to our great location, facilities and community supporting athletics,” said Fenci, who will serve as local organizing committee meet director. “Drake University has a long standing tradition in hosting great events and we are excited to once again be hosting Championship events. We look forward to introducing new athletes and fans to competition on the famous Blue Oval and welcoming back those athletes who haven’t had a chance to compete on the Blue Oval for a few years.”


Drake assistant athletic director Brady Randall, directory of athletic facility and operations said that USA Track & Field representatives came away impressed with the Drake Stadium venue.


“One of the things that the delegation from USA Track & Field pointed out was that it was refreshing to come to a facility like Drake Stadium that can host an event of this caliber since we host a big meet like the Drake Relays on an annual basis.”












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


The meet will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks and webcast on NBC Sports Gold.




Thursday, June 21

1 p.m.                         Decathlon 100

1:50 p.m.                   Women’s 3,000 steeple 1stround

1:55 p.m.                   Decathlon Long Jump

2 p.m.                         Women’s discus FINAL

2:20 p.m.                   Women’s 800 1stround

2:40 p.m.                   Men’s 800 1stround

2:55 p.m.                   Decathlon shot put

3:05 p.m.                   Men’s 400 hurdles 1stround

3:35 p.m.                   Women’s 1500 1stround

3:55 p.m.                   Men’s 1500 1stround

4:10 p.m.                   Decathlon high jump

4:20 p.m.                   Men’s Masters mile

4:40 p.m.                   Women’s 400 1stround

5 p.m.                         Women’s javelin FINAL

5:05 p.m.                   Men’s 400 1stround

5:15 p.m.                   Women’s triple jump FINAL

5:30 p.m.                   Women’s Masters 800

5:45 p.m.                   Women’s 100 1stround

6:10 p.m.                   Men’s 100 1stround

6:40 p.m.                   Decathlo 400

7 p.m.                         Women’s 10,000 FINAL

7:4 0 p.m.                  Men’s 10,000 FINAL

8:40 p.m.                   Men’s 20k Race Walk FINAL
Friday, June 22

11:30 a.m.                 Decathlon 110 hurdles

12:30 p.m.                Decathlon discus

3 p.m.                         Decathlon pole vault

3:15 p.m.                   Men’s 3000 steeple 1stround

3:20 p.m.                   Men’s Hammer throw FINAL

3:50 p.m.                   Women’s 100 hurdles 1stround

4:30 p.m.                   Decathlon javelin

4:40 p.m.                   Women’s 400 hurdles 1stround

5:10 p.m.                   Men’s 400 hurdles 1stround

5:30 p.m.                   Women’s 100 semifinals

5:30 p.m.                   Men’s triple jump FINAL

5:45 p.m.                   Decathlon javelin throw

5:50 p.m.                   Men’s 100 semifinals

6:05 p.m.                   Women’s 400 semifinals

6:20 p.m.                   Men’s 400 semifinals

6:35 p.m.                   Decathlon 1500

6:50 p.m.                   Women’s 800 semifinals

7:05 p.m.                   Men’s 800 semifinals

7:22 p.m.                   Women’s 100 FINAL

7:30 p.m.                   Men’s 100 FINAL

7:40 p.m.                   Women’s 20K Race Walk FINAL


Saturday, June 23

10 a.m.                       Heptathlon 100 hurdles

11 a.m.                       Heptathlon high jump

1:05 p.m.                   Heptathlon shot put

1:10 p.m.                   Men’s 200 1stround

1:30 p.m.                   Men’s pole vault FINAL

1:35 p.m.                   Women’s 200 1stround

2 p.m.                         Heptathlon 200

2:10 p.m.                   Men’s javelin throw FINAL

2:15 p.m.                   Women’s long jump FINAL

2:20 p.m.                   Women’s hammer throw FINAL

2:20 p.m.                   Women’s 100 hurdles semifinals

2:30 p.m.                   Women’s high jump FINAL

2:35 p.m.                   Men’s 110 hurdles 1stround

2:45 p.m.                   Men’s shot put FINAL

3:03 p.m.                   Women’s 400 hurdles semifinals

3:20 p.m.                   Women’s 3000 steeple FINAL

3:36 p.m.                   Men’s 400 hurdles FINAL

4:08 p.m.                   Women’s 400 FINAL

4:30 p.m.                   Men’s 400 FINAL

4:40 p.m.                   Men’s 1500 FINAL

4:52 p.m.                   Women’s 100 hurdles FINAL


Sunday, June 24

11:30 a.m.                 Heptathlon long jump

12:50 p.m.                Heptathlon javelin throw

1:45 p.m.                   Men’s high jump FINAL

1:48 p.m.                   Mixed 4×100 relay exhibition

1:55 p.m.                   Women’s pole vault FINAL

2 p.m.                        Men’s 200 semifinals

2:10 p.m.                   Women’s shot put FINAL

2:15 p.m.                   Women’s 200 semifinals

2:20 p.m.                   Men’s discus FINAL

2:25 p.m.                   Men’s long jump FINAL

2:30 p.m.                   Men’s 110 hurdles semifinals

2:50 p.m.                   Heptathlon 800

3:04 p.m.                   Women’s 800 FINAL

3:13 p.m.                   Men’s 800 FINAL

3:22 p.m.                   Women’s 5000 FINAL

3:44 p.m.                   Women’s 400 hurdles FINAL

3:55 p.m.                   Men’s 3000 steeple FINAL

4:10 p.m.                   Men’s 200 FINAL

4:20 p.m.                   Women’s 200 FINAL

4:30 p.m.                   Men’s 5000 FINAL

4:52 p.m.Men’s 110 hurdles FINAL