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Most Outstanding Performers Named For 2012 Drake Relays

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 30, 2012
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DES MOINES, Iowa--The 103rd Annual Drake Relays featured a slew of fantastic performances in all divisions, and today the meet's Most Outstanding Performers have been determined. The award is voted on by media members covering the meet.

U.S. Olympic sprinter Wallace Spearmon is the Maury White Award winner as men's collegiate and open outstanding performer, while American record-holding pole vaulter Jenn Suhr took home the honors in the women's collegiate and open division. The Robert Kramme Award winner as boys' outstanding performer for the second year in a row is James Harrington of Cedar Falls High School, and the Gerry Cooley Award winner as girls' outstanding performer is Erin Hawkins of Des Moines Roosevelt.

In the 200-meter dash, Spearmon toppled one of the Drake Relays' most coveted records, blazing to a time of 20.02, beating the mark of 20.05 set by four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson in 1997. Spearmon, the American indoor record-holder in the 200 (20.10), has the world-leading time in the 200 (19.95) this outdoor season. With his record-setting win Saturday, Spearmon claimed his second consecutive Drake Relays victory in the event. It was not run last year after he won the 2010 race in a time of 20.20.

Suhr, the world's No. 1-ranked pole-vaulter, claimed two victories last week in Des Moines, setting a record in each. She won the "Pole Vault in the Mall" on Wednesday with an event-record leap of 15 feet 7 inches, then opted to compete in the stadium vault on Saturday, after initially not planning to enter. Suhr won that event too, breaking the Drake Relays record with a vault of 15-3, topping Stacy Dragila's height of 15-1½ from 2003. Suhr also owns the Drake Stadium record (16-0½), set at the 2010 USA Track & Field Championships.

Harrington set a new Drake Relays record in the 100-meter dash of 10.61 en route to becoming only the third three-time boys' 100-meter dash champion. He shattered the 12-year-old record of 10.63 set by Davenport North's Marques Simmons in 2000. Harrington joined the likes of Simmons (1999-2001) and Clyde Duncan (1962-64) of Des Moines North as the only individuals to win back-to-back-to-back 100-meter titles. In the 4x100 finals, Harrington took the baton for the last leg and led Cedar Falls to a come-from-behind victory to set a new Relays record of 42.17, breaking Des Moines East's old record of 42.19 set in 2003. The title marked the second in a row for the Tigers.  Harrington becomes the first back-to-back high school boys' MOP winner since Iowa City's Tim Dwight in 1993-94.

Hawkins helped Des Moines Roosevelt win four of their seven titles, which set a meet record for an individual squad at the Relays. She anchored both Des Moines Roosevelt 4x100 and 4x200 relay squads, leading them to Drake Relays records of 47.55 and 1:41.66, respectively.  Additionally, Hawkins anchored the Roughriders to a sprint medley relay title. She also won her second-straight 100-meter dash title with a time of 12.67 going into a strong headwind. Hawkins becomes the third Roughrider to win the Outstanding Performer award, joining the likes of Drake head track and field coach Natasha Kaiser Brown and acclaimed hurdler Kim Carson.

The 103rd Drake Relays saw 15 records broken over three days of outstanding competition. The Saturday attendance of 14,504 tied the 2009 "100th Drake Relays" celebration and last year's Saturday session for the largest crowd since the 2006 stadium reconfiguration, and extended the Relays' Saturday sell-out streak to 47 consecutive years.

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