Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby 2018

Iowans Take Home Lots of Hardware From the Relays

Gable Sieperda - Central Lyon ©Jim Kirby 2018

Gable Sieperda – Central Lyon
©Jim Kirby 2018

The 109th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee thrilled nearly 40,000 fans over four days of action with tremendous performances across all divisions. Monday, April 30, the best of those performances were honored with the announcement of the Relays Most Outstanding Performers.

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou©Jim Kirby 2018

Those winners include Ohio State Zack Bazile as the Maury White Award winner, Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer as the women’s invitational/collegiate Most Outstanding Performer, Central Lyon’s Gable Sieperda as the Robert Kramme Award winner and Linn-Mar’s Payton Wensel as the recipient of the Gerry Cooley Award.

Zack Bazile is the first collegiate Maury White Award winner since 2015 after claiming the long jump title, finishing third in the 100 meters and running a leg on the winning 4×100-meter relay for Ohio State.

Bazile won the long jump with a wind-aided mark of 25-3.25 (7.70m) on his third jump to best the field by more than a foot. With that jump, Bazile became just the second Buckeye to win the Drake Relays long jump and the first since track and field legend Jesse Owens did so in 1935. Bazile may have added on to that jump, but he passed on his fourth and fifth attempts in order to run the 100 meters. His winning long jump mark was the best at the Drake Relays since 2014.

The voting for the women’s collegiate/invitational Drake Relays Most Outstanding performer was near unanimous in selecting Missouri standout and Urbandale, Iowa, native Karissa Schweizer. Schweizer began her return to the Blue Oval by breaking the women’s University/College record in the 5,000 meters. Schweizer’s time of 15:23.21 bested the previous 33-year-old record by more than eight seconds. Her time is the fastest in the NCAA this year and fourth fastest in the world. She returned to the track Saturday afternoon to help Missouri win the distance medley relay in 11:07.59. Schweizer received the baton on her anchor leg with the Tigers in fourth place and clocked a 4:32.19 1,600 meters to move the Tigers through the field and win the event by more than 10 seconds.

The high school competitions produced record-setting performances as they have for generations at Drake Stadium, but there was a pair that was near unanimous selections for Most Outstanding Performer.

Linn-Mar’s Payton Wensel was the runaway vote-getter for the Gerry Cooley Award given to the most outstanding girls’ high school competitor at the Drake Relays.

The senior set a relay and individual record over the weekend and left the Blue Oval with three white flags and a second-place finish. She ran the anchor on Linn-Mar’s sprint medley relay that clocked a Relays record time of 1:44.07, an Iowa all-time best and the second-fastest time in the country this year. Later Friday, she finished second in the 800 meters with a time of 2:12.01. Her return to the Blue Oval Saturday saw her claim a Drake Relays record for herself as she won the 400-meter hurdles in 1:00.25. Her record-setting time is the second-fastest in Iowa history and sixth in the nation this year to help her win the event for the second-straight year. She concluded her final Drake Relays as a high schooler by helping Linn-Mar win its first-ever 4×100-meter relay title.

Gabe Sieperda of Central Lyon earned the Robert Kramme Award, given to the top boys high school competitor.

Sieperda opened the Drake Relays by easily winning the 3,200 meters with a 2:10 final 800 meters to finish in 9:11.17. That time was the 19th fastest on the Iowa all-time list. He completed the distance sweep on Saturday by clocking a 14-second season-best in the 1,600 meters in 4:15.68. He also turned in a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters.

The 109th Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee featured the 53rd consecutive Saturday sellout with 14,504 fans crowded around the Blue Oval after more than 16,000 fans streamed through the gates during the two Friday sessions. The 109th edition of America’s Athletic Classic is scheduled for April 24-27, 2019.

2018 Drake Relays Most Outstanding Performers
Maury White Award (Collegiate/Invitational Men) – Zack Bazile, Ohio State
Collegiate/Invitational Women – Karissa Schweizer – Missouri
Robert Kramme Award (High School Boys) – Gable Sieperda – Central Lyon
Gerry Cooley Award (High School Girls) – Payton Wensel – Linn-Mar