Drake Relays News


World Class Vaulters Psyched For Relays Indoor Vault

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

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

Another lineup of world-class women’s pole vaulters is slated to thrill the Drake Stadium crowd at the 2018 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee, Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays announced, Tuesday, April 17.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo:©www.iowapublicradio.com


The lineup for the men’s pole vault was announced April 3.

The women’s pole vault competition includes 2016 Olympic silver medalist and Drake Relays favorite, Sandi Morris. Morris is the American record holder in the event with a personal best of 16-4.75 (5.00m) that is also the second highest clearance ever by a woman in the event.

Another record holder from North America joins Morris in the field as Canadian national record holder Alysha Newman returns to Des Moines. Newman recently won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and was seventh at the 2017 World Championships. Her Canadian record stands at 15-7 (4.75m) and she finished third last season at the Drake Relays.

Katie Nageotte, who is having her finest season as a professional, will challenge the pair as a vaulter who has shattered the 16-foot mark. That personal best of 16-1.25 (4.91m) came in winning the USA Indoor Championship this past winter en route to finishing fifth at the World Indoor Championship.

Six other vaulters in the 11-athlete field have also cleared 15 feet to ensure that this year’s Drake Relays pole vault competition will live up to the excitement produced in recent years.

Fans in Des Moines will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with five members of that field with the Pole Vault at Capital Square, Wednesday, April 25, inside the atrium of Capital Square in downtown Des Moines at 6 p.m.

Morris, Nageotte and Newman are all slated to compete in the one-of-a-kind competition along with Kristen Brown and Kristen Hixson. They will be joined by previously announced competitors in the men’s field such as Olympic medalist and 2017 World Champion Sam Kendricks and 2015 World Champion Shawn Barber. Scott Houston, Andrew Irwin and Mike Arnold will also compete inside Capital Square.

Following the Wednesday, April 25, event at Capital Square, the men will compete inside Drake Stadium Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m. The women will take to the runway at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28.

Tickets to enjoy those competitions inside Drake Stadium are available for both Friday, Saturday and all sessions by visiting DrakeTix.com.

Omar McLeod-Olympic Gold Medalist
©Mike Byrnes 2017

The World Hurdlers Back For the Relays

Kendra Harrison ©Mike Brynes 2017

Kendra Harrison
©Mike Brynes 2017

For a generation, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee has been a go-to destination for the world’s top hurdlers and 2018 will continue that tradition, according to Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Omar McLeod-Olympic Gold Medalist ©Mike Byrnes 2017


Boldon unveiled the competitors selected to compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and men’s 110-meter hurdles. The two races will feature both world record holders, four Olympic medalists and eight total Olympians hurdling down the Blue Oval homestretch.

Omar McLeod, a three-time Drake Relays champion and the 2016 Olympic gold medalist reprises his role as a Blue Oval favorite as the two-time defending champion in the event and Drake Relays record holder. The Jamaican owns his country’s national record in the event with a personal best of 12.90 and has run faster than 13.30 27 times in his young career.

Veteran Aries Merritt, the world record holder and 2012 Olympic gold medalist will continue to provide an experienced challenge to the upstart McLeod. Merritt’s world record time of 12.80 has survived as the standard of the event for five years and he has logged an impressive 72 finishes under the 13.30 mark.

As jaw-dropping as the men’s field is, the women’s 100-meter hurdles is equally without peer with a world record holder and defending two-time Drake Relays champion plus an Olympic gold medalist returning to headline another outstanding lineup.

Kendra Harrison boasts the current world record in the event at 12.20 and is in search of a third-straight Drake Relays title, a feat that has not been accomplished in the race in a decade. Dawn Harper-Nelson, a Blue Oval staple, is also in the field as a two-time Olympic medalist including a gold in 2012. The five-time World Championship qualifier owns a personal best of 12.37. Tobi Amusan, the newly crowned Commonwealth Games champion from Nigeria, was recently added to lineup as another competitor who has run faster than 13 seconds.

Others who are no strangers to the Drake Relays are also in the talent-packed field include Kristi Castlin, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Drake Relays champion as well as the 2015 champion, Jasmin Stowers.

Beyond those household names, the men’s field boasts equally impressive credentials including 2016 Olympic finalists in Canada’s Johnathan Cabral and the USA’s Devon Allen. The newly minted USA Indoor champion and World Indoor Championships silver medalist Jarret Eaton is equally primed for an impressive 110 meters at Drake Stadium.

The women’s field also boasts Kori Carter, a world class 400-meter hurdler and the World Champion in the event, who is trying her hand at the 100-meter hurdles and British Olympian Tiffany Ofili. Devynne Charlton, a Relays favorite and collegian at Purdue, joins the elite field for the second-straight year as one of the world’s top young talents in the sport after earning a spot in the finals of the World Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles.

Serbian Olympian and national record holder Milan Ristic is slated to make his Blue Oval debut while the current USA Outdoor champion, Aleec Harris returns to the Blue Oval in search of his first Drake Relays title since 2015. Local favorite Aaron Mallett returns to Des Moines after winning the Drake Relays titles last year as a collegian at the University of Iowa and earning four All-America honors as a Hawkeye.

Both races will be contested within 15 minutes of each other inside Drake Stadium Saturday, April 28. The women’s race is slated to start at 2:37 p.m. followed shortly by the men’s race. A total of six hurdle races will be staged in a 50-minute window starting at 2 p.m. Saturday including the men’s and women’s 400-meter hurdles that features a total of 11 combined Olympians.

Tickets to enjoy those competitions inside Drake Stadium are available for both Friday, Saturday and all sessions by visiting DrakeTix.com.

©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