Drake Relays News

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

USATF Championships Back to Drake 2018

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St ©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

The USATF Outdoor Championships are returning to Des Moines June 21-24, 2018. The best track and field athletes in the country will compete this summer at Drake University’s Drake Stadium in what will be the final stop of the 2018 USATF Championship Series. The meet will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks and webcast on NBC Sports Gold.

Courtesy USATF, click here! Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado©Mike Byrnes

Drake Stadium has previously hosted the USATF Outdoor Championships twice, in 2010 and 2013, with two American records falling at each championship. In 2013, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Rollins provided a glimpse of what was to come by setting the American Record in the women’s 100m hurdles (12.26), and Amanda Bingson broke the AR in the women’s hammer throw (75.73m/248-5.25). In 2010, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Chaunte Lowe broke the high jump AR (2.05 m/6’8.75) and Kara Winger set the AR in the women’s javelin (66.67 m/218-8​.75).


Drake has hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 1970 (men only), 2008, 2011, and 2012, and annually hosts the Drake Relays, which in 2018 will celebrate its 109th year.


More information will be available in coming weeks at www.usatf.org, including ticket prices, broadcast details, and competition schedules.



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.

Allyson Felix
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relay Alums Make Us Proud in London

Omar McLeod- Jamaica ©Jim Kirby

Omar McLeod- Jamaica
©Jim Kirby

With the 2017 IAAF Track & Field World Championships concluding this past weekend in London, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee had alumni posting many outstanding medal winning performances to garner 10 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals during the event.  Individual gold medal winners who competed at the 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee included Kori Carter (400mH), Phyllis Francis (400m), Sam Kendricks (Pole Vault), Omar McLeod (110mH) and Brittney Reese (Long Jump).

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Allyson Felix ©Jim Kirby 2013

Overall, the United States set a team record for the most medals at the World Championships with 30 (10-gold, 11-silver, 9-bronze) while three-time Drake Relays champion Brittney Reese became the first woman to win four World long jump gold medals and only the second woman to win four golds in a single event (Valerie Adams, shot put).  Below is a listing of the medalists with their last appearance year at the Relays in parentheses.  Unless noted otherwise, athletes represented the United States.



  • Shelby Houlihan-5K (2017 Bowerman Track Club)
  • Morolake Akinosun – Gold-4x100m Relay (2016-Texas)
  • Kori Carter – Gold-400m Hurdles (2017)
  • Michelle Carter – Bronze-Shot Put (2016)
  • Allyson Felix – Bronze-400m, Gold-4x100m Relay, Gold-4x400m Relay (2006)
  • Phyllis Francis – Gold-400m, Gold-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Dawn Harper-Nelson – Silver-100m Hurdles (2017)
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) – Bronze-200m (2013-Georgia)
  • Sandi Morris – Silver-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Dalilah Muhammad – Silver-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Brittney Reese – Gold-Long Jump (2017)
  • Yarisley Silva (Cuba) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2014)
  • Jenny Simpson – Silver-1500m (2017)
  • Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) – Gold-Pole Vault (2016)
  • Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica) – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2015)
  • Ajee Wilson – Bronze-800m (2015)


  • Will Claye – Silver-Triple Jump (2016)
  • Kerron Clement – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Sam Kendricks – Gold-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Renaud Lavillenie (France) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2015)
  • Jarrion Lawson – Silver-Long Jump (2015-Arkansas)
  • Wil London – Silver-4x400m Relay (2016-Baylor)
  • Omar McLeod – Gold-110m Hurdles (2017)
  • Gil Roberts – Silver-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Mike Rodgers – Silver-4x100m Relay (2007)
  • Jarrin Solomon (Trinidad & Tobago) – Gold 4x400m Relay (2013)
  • Christian Taylor – Gold-Triple Jump (2017)
  • Rabah Yousif (Great Britain) – Bronze-4x400m Relay (2016)
  • Stipe Žunic (Croatia) – Bronze-Shot Put (2012-Florida)
Jim Patterson-Drake Official
©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

50 Memorable Years for Jim Patterson by J.R. Ogden of The Gazette

Jim Patterson-Drake Official ©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

Jim Patterson-Drake Official
©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette

Imagine 50 years of head shakes and eye rolls from athletes. Or 50 years of calls questioned by coaches.

Imagine 50 years of overbearing parents screaming insults.

For Jim Patterson of Cedar Rapids, it’s been 50 fantastic years.

Courtesy The Gazette www.thegazette.com by J.R. Ogden, click here! Feature photo: Jim Patterson-Drake Official ©Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette


“I’ve enjoyed it all,” said Patterson, one of 11 men honored for a half century of service at the IHSAA’s 23rd annual Officials Recognition Banquet and Awards Ceremony at the Iowa Events Center.

Patterson officiated football for 37 years, landing nine state championship games. He still considers himself a football official first, even though he’s been working track and field meets for 40 years — and still working them today.

“My time to retire is getting closer,” he said last week while driving to Des Moines to work the Drake Relays.

He said he’s worked with and met some great people over the years — coaches and other officials.

But it’s the athletes who keep him working.

“I love being around kids,” he said. “It keeps you young.”

Not surprisingly, he’s seen lots of changes, too. He said athletes are bigger, stronger and faster. The way games are officiated are different, too. When he started working football, three officials called the game. When he retired in 2004, there were five. There now are two starters at all track meets.

But some things haven’t changed.

“The kids are the same, the coaches are the same,” he said. “(The coaches) are people who want to win, people who care about the kids.”

And those parents? Patterson hesitated when asked, then referred to an article in last week’s Gazette by correspondent and youth sports advocate Nancy Justis that, basically, told parents to “simmer down.”

“That was very to the point,” he said, adding “I’ve always been very big on sportsmanship.

“We have become too specialized. We don’t give kids a chance to become creative” in a variety of sports.

He’s seen some of the best athletes in Eastern Iowa, too, and worked some great games. He noted an Iowa City High-Bettendorf football playoff game when Tim Dwight was leading the Little Hawks and noted “any time you get a chance to work a state championship game, that’s a big highlight.”

But one of his favorite events is Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s annual coed track and field meet, now known as the Draxton-Stiers/Wilkinson Invitational after coaches Dudley Draxton, Al Stiers and Harold Wilkinson.

“Three great people,” Patterson said. “They meant a lot to me.”

Patterson, too, has meant a lot to a lot of people.

In addition to his officiating, he was a physical education teacher at Coolidge Elementary and “coached everything” at Taft Middle School, where he started the softball program and also coached football, basketball and baseball.

James Wood of Center Point was another of the 50-year honorees. And there were several other area honorees, as well, including Daniel Thomas of Cedar Rapids as one of five “aspiring new officials,” Patrick Pacha of Washington (Iowa) as softball official of the year and Chris Oberbroeckling of Marion as baseball official of the year.