Ryan Crouser-Texas, Ricky Robertson-Mississippi, Erik Olson-Drake
©Jim Kirby 2018

Gold Medalist Crouser Leads World’s Best Again at Drake Relays

Ryan Crouser-Texas-Olympic Gold Medalist ©Jim Kirby 2018

Ryan Crouser-Texas-Olympic Gold Medalist
©Jim Kirby 2018

The return of the men’s invitational shot put to Drake Stadium will feature some of the world’s top throwers inside the Blue Oval for the 109th Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Ryan Crouser-Texas, Ricky Robertson-Mississippi, Erik Olson-Drake©Jim Kirby 2018

The nine-man field features the reigning Olympic gold and bronze medalists, the current World Champion, the Olympic record holder, the top two finishers in this week’s Commonwealth Games, plus the Drake Stadium record holder. Two of the competitors are also ranked among the top-10 all-time in the event and aiming to shatter the world record this season.

Ryan Crouser returns Des Moines after entertaining the crowd during a slam dunk competition during a Drake men’s basketball game in January along with other elite athletes. Crouser was a gold medalist at the 2016 Olympics with an Olympic-record throw of 73-10.5 (22.51m). The two-time USA Outdoor Champion owns a personal best of 74-3.75 (22.65m), which ranks as the eighth-best mark all-time in the event.

New Zealand’s Tom Walsh is another standout coming to Drake Stadium with the world record in his sights this season. The 2017 World Champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Walsh ranks sixth all-time in the shot put with a personal best of 74-4.5 (22.67m). He has broken the 21-meter mark a staggering 48 times in his career and will certainly push the elite field and test the Drake Relays record. He recently won the event at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Ryan Whiting is the current U.S. indoor champion and a six-time World Championship finalist as well as a 2012 Olympic finalist. Whiting owns the current Drake Stadium record at 72-6.5 (22.11m) and has a personal best of 73-1.25 (22-28m) which ranks as the 16th-best mark all-time. He was a five-time NCAA champion at Arizona State and is one of three former NCAA Champions in the field that have combined to claim a total of 10 NCAA titles.

Another Olympian, Darrell Hill, joins the field after finishing sixth at the recent World Indoor Championship. He was also a 2017 World Outdoor Championship finalist followed by a Diamond League win in Brussels. He ranks 14th all-time in the shot put with a mark of 73-7.5 (22.44m).

A quintet of up-and-coming athletes who are more than familiar with the Blue Oval is poised to use the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee as their platform to compete with and become the next generation of elite throwers. Josh Freeman, a four-time All-American and seven-time MVC Champion at SIU, is one those talents, as is Jon Jones, the 2015 NCAA Champion in the event while at Buffalo.

Chuk Enekwechi already has a Relays title to his credit in the hammer throw while competing for Purdue in 2015 and he has twice qualified for the World Championships in the shot put for his native Nigeria. This week he finished second in the shot put at the Commonwealth Games behind Tom Walsh.
JC Muransky also has a Relays title on his resume from 2016 in the shot put while at Ohio State and also qualified for the 2017 USA Championship. Alex Renner, an All-American and five-time Summit League champion at North Dakota State, returns to the Drake Relays after recently claiming eighth at the 2018 USA Indoor Championships.

The nine men will step inside the ring at Drake Stadium at 2:30 Saturday, April 28, in the final field event of the 2018 Drake Relays Presented by Hy-Vee. All-session, multi-session and single-session tickets are currently on sale via the Drake Athletic Ticket Office and DrakeTix.com.