Drake Track And Field Readies For The Relays
DES MOINES, Iowa - While the Drake and Des Moines communities are looking forward to the 105th installment of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee – the Drake men’s and women’s track teams are also gearing up for an exciting weekend as well on the Blue Oval.
The Bulldogs will have a partial squad competing at the Drake Relays while other athletes continue their training at nearby Simpson College with the Kip Janvrin Invitational.
Drake men’s athletes who have earned the required mark to earn entry to the prestigious Drake Relays will include James Saxton in the 800 meters, Rob McCann in the 1,500 meters and steeplechase, Conor Wells in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Travis Marsh in the 110 and 400-meter hurdles, Ryan Cook in the high jump, Johnathan Osifuye in the long and triple jumps, Andy Curtis in the hammer throw, and Phillip Beeler and David Silkman in the javelin. The men’s team will also enter 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, sprint medley and distance medley relays.
Women’s competitors include Tiara Winston and Danyelle Cole in the 100 meters, Emma Huston in the 5,000 meters, Erin Poss in the 10,000 meters, Sarah Yeager in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles, Jaclyn Aremka in the high jump and Kayla Bell in the triple jump. The women will also run the 4x100, 4x200, 4x1,600, sprint medley and distance medley relays.
With the bulk of the team’s competitors in relay events, the Drake Relays present a whole new format for the Drake track teams by taking the weight and responsibility off the individual runner and placing it more on running together as a team.
“The cool thing about Relays is it’s relays,” said Drake head coach Natasha Kaiser-Brown. “So you’ve got four people, different combinations of four people, that will actually run these relays. It’s more that we finally get to just play and have fun and be a team.”
With only two meets standing between the Drake Relays and the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships, working together as a team and experiencing a high level of competition, but perhaps without so much pressure, will benefit the teams.
“So our distance people are running with our sprinters and sometimes we’ll pull a jumper out and he’ll be on a 4x100, and it’s just a nice blend to actually just be a team and have fun in front of thousands of people,” Kaiser-Brown said. “It lets us still be nervous, still be excited, you get that rush of competing, but just a little less pressure because you’re on a relay.”
Drake runners will hit the Blue Oval on Thursday night during the Distance Carnival, beginning with the women’s 4x1600-meter relay at 4:40 p.m. and continuing on throughout the night and the remainder of the weekend.
“We kind of have this ebb and flow of the high level [competitions], little bit lower, high level, little bit lower,” said head coach Natasha Kaiser-Brown. “So Arkansas was a high, Jim Duncan was low, Edwardsville was high again, and Relays is fun.”