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Kirsten Lake accepts her championship plaque at the 2012 MVC Championship
Courtesy: Drake Athletics

Lake, Smith Set School Records On Way To MVC Championship Titles

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: May 13, 2012
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WICHITA, Kan.--Drake's Kirsten Lake and Marissa Smith each won events Sunday, setting school records in the process, to close competition at the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The wins were the first for the Drake women's team at the outdoor conference meet since 2003.

Lake (Parker, Colo.) dominated the field, setting a school record in her victory in the 1500. Her time of 4:23.75 was three seconds ahead of the next finisher. The win was the fourth in the event in Bulldogs history.

"Her [Kirsten's] 1500 was smart and tactical." Drake head coach Natasha Brown said. "Kirsten has been training and competing on a whole other level since the outdoor season."

An experienced mid-distance runner, Lake also finished seventh in the 800-meter run in 2:15.10.

"Kirsten needed a few more minutes to recover for the 800 and I think we would have seen a faster time, but nonetheless she fought hard and gave it her all." Brown said.

Smith's (Ajax, Ontario) time of 13.57, a personal best, solidified the first win for a Bulldog in the event in 24 years (Adrienne Pannier, 1988). It also broke a six-year-old school record for the 100 hurdles.

"Marissa was determined to get out fast, take the lead and maintain it," Brown said.

The team received another strong showing in a hurdle event when redshirt senior Ari Curtis (Fort Collins, Colo) finished third in the 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 58.38 was just off the winner.

"Ari placed third and was not happy," commented Brown. "Her performance was better but she really wanted the win. We are very proud of her and how far she has come from her injury a year ago March."

The Bulldogs finished sixth in the meet with 43.50 points. The hometown Shockers from Wichita State were the winners with a total of 192.5 points.

Although Drake fell short of the leaders for the team title, Brown said she was happy with the mindset of the team.

"I was so thrilled with our team's attitude and performances. I really felt we were ready for the championships even though we knew it would be a David and Goliath story."

It was the final MVC Championship for four Bulldogs. Along with Curtis, Megan Pierce-Cramer (Omaha, Neb.), Paige Steffen (Bloomington, Ill.), and Cassie Toepfer (Eagan, Minn.) concluded their conference careers.

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