Drake Relays News
After a very successful start to the 2018 outdoor season, the University of Northern Iowa track and field program will face a big test this week as the Panthers make the short trip to Des Moines for the Drake Relays on April 25-28.
Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Jasmine Blue-CR Jeff., Maddie Bell-Hudson, Maddie Irmen-Assumption and Lyndsie Schinkel-Ankeny©Jim Kirby 2017
The event will be held at the Blue Oval in Des Moines, with the first day of action starting on Wednesday, April 25 and wrapping up on Saturday, April 28. Drake, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Ohio State will be just a few of the big names to join the Panthers for competition at the Drake Relays this week.
UNI will send 26 student-athletes on the men’s side and 25 on the women’s side this week, with the first events starting at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Panthers head to Drake after another successful weekend on the track, UNI won a total of 12 events at the Tom Botts Invite to close out action in Missouri. Senior Sarah Pate claimed MVC Track Athlete of the Week honors after breaking her own school record in the hammer throw, earning a mark of 207-02 in the event to take first overall.
Following this week’s action in Des Moines, the Panthers will compete at the Wisconsin Twilight on Friday, May 4 in Madison. The Panthers will compete at the MVC Outdoor Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on May 11-13.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @UNITrackFieldXC on Twitter and @UNITrackandField on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at @UNIAthletics on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The University of Iowa men’s track and field team won the Drake Relays Hy-Vee Cup in 2017 and director of track and field Joey Woody isn’t content with stopping there.
Courtesy Hawkeye Sports, click here! Feature photo: Joey Woody & the Iowa Hawkeyes ©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com 2017
Woody is not only positioning the Hawkeye men for a Hy-Vee Cup repeat from April 26-28 on Des Moines’s Jim Duncan Track, but he wants the women to join the celebration as well.
“One of our goals on both sides is to win the Hy-Vee Cup,” Woody said. “I feel good about what we’re doing. We have some great relays, so it is going to be a fun weekend.”
Started in 2013, the Hy-Vee Cup champion is the program that scores the most points in the 4×100, 4×400, 4×800, sprint medley, and distance medley relays. The Iowa men won the Hy-Vee Cup for the first time last year with a total of 39 points. The Hawkeyes won three relays: 4×800 (7:24.77), 4×400 (3:07.35), and sprint medley (3:20.40).
“It showed our overall team ability and being able to cover a lot of events; that was great to recognize our program last year,” Woody said. “It has been our goal the last few years to go in and win the Drake Relays Hy-Vee Cup. That was something we planned on doing; it was a battle, but our kids showed up.”
Woody was overwhelmed by the reaction that ensued from the Iowa City community and around the state. It also provided an assist in recruiting.
“One of my goals is to recruit the best kids in the state of Iowa and make sure they stay Hawkeyes,” Woody said. “We had a great recruiting class and I think a lot of it is (because of) what we’re doing at the Drake Relays.”
With a target on its back, Woody expects Iowa to receive stiff challenges from Big Ten Conference foes Illinois, Ohio State, and Purdue.
“We’re going to have to fight to win a lot of these events,” Woody said. “Some good Big Ten teams are going to be competing against us head-to-head, but that will give us a good idea where we stand going into the Big Ten Championships (on May 11-13).”
The Hawkeyes are standing tall based on scoring potential from outdoor season performance lists. On paper, Iowa is seeded first among Big Ten men’s teams and third among women. The Hawkeyes have Big Ten-leading performances in seven events: Brittany Brown (women’s 200-meter dash, 22.76), Mar’yea Harris (men’s 400, 45.71), Nathan Mylenek (men’s 3,000 steeplechase, 8:48.66), Laulauga Tausaga (women’s discus, 196-feet, 5-inches), Jahisha Thomas (women’s long jump, 21-1 ½), and the men’s 4×400 relay (3:04.38).
“I feel good about our chances at the NCAA level,” Woody said. “To get athletes like Brittany and Bri (Guillory) and Lagi (Tausaga) and Jahisha, that’s a great core of four athletes on the women’s team. Plus our relays and what we’re doing there.
“Then on the men’s side with the relays and Mar’yea. We have great things happening in the hurdles right now, Reno (Tuufuli) in the discus and shot. We have exciting things happening on both sides on the national level, too.”
Tuufuli is the defending Big Ten men’s discus champion with a winning mark of 194-feet, 8-inches (59.34 meters).
The Hawkeyes will not enter multi-event performers, meaning their events at the Drake Relays begin Thursday. Live results are available HERE.
“The Drake Relays is one of the premiere events on the globe,” Woody said. “We get a lot of great fan support and we want to prove that we’re one of the best teams in the country. To be able to go to Drake and get that recognition is a lot of fun for our student-athletes.”
Riley Masters and Emily Lipari bested their respective fields to win the Ninth-Annual Invitational Grand Blue Mile and USATF 1-Mile Road Championship Tuesday, April 24, evening in Des Moines.
Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Emily Lipari The Wins Grand Blue Mile ©Jim Kirby 2018
Masters, who was second in the event last year and third in 2016, finished in 4:03.12 to earn the USATF 1-Mile Road title against a field of 20 of the nation’s top milers. Eric Avila and Nick Harris trailed in second and third places in 4:03.90 and 4:04.31, respectively.
“Once I crossed the finish line it was pure ecstasy, I was so excited,” Masters said. “I told myself at the start line, ‘you worked so hard this year, why settle for anything but first?’ I’m happy to finally come out on top here.”
Emily Lipari, a six-time All-American at Villanova, came into the event with a road mile personal best of 4:35 and shattered that with a 4:32.77 finish. Lipari held off Olympian Brenda Martinez at the tape, who finished in 4:33.07 followed by Rachel Schneider in third in 4:33.77 among the 15-runner field.
“It’s pretty unreal. I set out to podium, that was the goal,” Lipari said of being the USATF 1-Mile Road Champion. “I’m really happy to come out with the win and it’s a great way to start out the year.”
Masters and Lipari each took home $5,000 for their titles as a total of $30,000 in prize money was distributed to Tuesday’s top finishers.
More the 3,500 runners navigated the 1-mile course in recreational, competitive and invitational races. One of the highlights of the men’s recreational race was 96-year-old Mike Fremont of Cincinnati, Ohio, setting the American road mile record in the 95+ age category with a time of 13:55.82. He will appear at Drake Stadium Friday morning to attempt to break the World Record in 95+ age category of the 800 meters.
Men’s Grand Blue Mile Invitational
USATF 1-Mile Road Championship
- Riley Masters, 4:03.12
- Eric Avila, 4:03.90
- Nick Harris, 4:04.31
- Daniel Herrera, 4:04.32
- Brandon Lasater, 4:04.39
- Garret Heath, 4:04.96
- Tripp Hurt, 4:04.99
- Pat Casey, 4:05.07
- Brannon Kidder, 4:05.38
- Emmanuel Bor, 4:05.77
- Dylan Blakenbaker, 4:06.20
- Brandon Hazouri, 4:07.13
- Henry Wayne, 4:07.99
- Graham Crawford, 4:09.70
- Leo Manzano, 4:09.83
- Jackson Thomas, 4:10.03
- Mikey Brannigan, 4:11.56
- Dey Dey, 4:12.03
- Chad Noelle, 4:14.60
- Eliud Rutto, 4:15.40
Women’s Grand Blue Mile Invitational
USATF 1-Mile Road Championship
- Emily Lipari, 4:32.87
- Brenda Martinez, 4:33.07
- Rachel Schneider, 4:33.77
- Shannon Osika, 4:33.94
- Katie Mackey, 4:34.93
- Sarah Brown, 4:37.15
- Therese Haiss, 4:38.02
- Eleanor Fulton, 4:39.10
- Dana Mecke, 4:39.90
- Megan Mansy, 4:40.81
- Alexina Wilson, 4:42.94
- Jessica Kamilos, 4:44.27
- Savannah Colon, 4:46.69
- Anna Connor, 4:47.37
- Rachel Weber, 4:48.57