Lolo Jones Set To Join Elite Drake Relays Field; Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced
DES MOINES, Iowa – Olympian and Des Moines native Lolo Jones is set to join the field for the 2013 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee, Drake Relays director Brian Brown announced Wednesday afternoon. Jones is one of more than 50 elite athletes that Brown has recently added to an already stellar field that now features 25 Olympic medalists from the 2012 Olympics set to compete in a series of London Rematch at Drake Stadium, April 25-28.
The 2013 Drake Relays Hall of Fame class was also unveiled with University of Iowa Director of Track and Field Larry Wieczorek and four-time Olympic medalist Jeremy Wariner set to join the previously enshrined track and field greats. Wariner also will compete on the Blue Oval as part of a 400-meter London Rematch field that already features Luguelin Santos, the silver medalist from the London games.
In addition to the influx of talent for the London Rematch competitions and the Hall of Fame inductees, Brown also announced a new addition to the collegiate competition with the Hy-Vee Cup to be awarded to each men’s and women’s program that accumulates the most points in selected relay events. Those scored relays include the 4x100, 4x400, 4x800-meter, sprint medley and distance medley relays. All five relays will be scored with the traditional 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points being awarded to places 1-through-8.
Jones’ inclusion in the women’s 100-meter hurdle field gives the event an added boost as it already features the 2012 silver and bronze medalists in Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, respectively. Virginia Crawford, Queen Harrison, Danielle Carruthers, Tiffany Porter and Kristi Castlin join that trio. Seven of the eight competitors in the field ranked in the top 10 in the event during the 2012 season and they will vie for the $50,000 purse being offered in all London Rematch races, the largest track and field purse ever awarded on American soil.
Highlighting additions to the men’s events is a new London Games Rematch in the shot put. The incredibly deep and talented field currently features American bronze medalist Reese Hoffa, 2012 World Indoor Champion and Olympic finalist Ryan Whiting and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell competing for the $25,000 purse in the event.
On the Blue Oval, the men’s 400 meter is bolstered by the addition of Drake Relays Hall of Fame inductee Jeremy Wariner. Wariner, a four-time Olympic medalist, returns to Drake Stadium fresh after winning the 2013 USATF Indoor Championship 400-meter indoor title. The native Texan won a silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2008 Olympics and gold in 2004. As part of the 4x400-meter relay team, he won gold medals at both Olympiads but missed the 2012 games due to injury. The previously confirmed 2012 silver medalist, Luguelin Santos, joins him in the event.
When Wariner steps into the blocks on the Blue Oval, it will be his sixth Drake Relays appearance and first since 2011 when he captured the 400 meters in 45.19 to reclaim the title he won in 2009 with a time of 45.06, the same year he went on to win silver in the event at the World Championships. Wariner first competed in the Drake Relays as a collegian at Baylor, finishing second in the 400 meters in 2005, then winning the 200 meters in 2006 and placing second in 2007. Wariner was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400 meters five times in a seven-year period, including four straight years (2004-07, '10) and was No. 2 in 2008 and 2009. His dominant 2010 season included clocking three of the four fastest 400 meters times in the world. Wariner's personal best of 43.45, set in 2007, is the third-fastest time ever recorded. In addition to his Olympic medals, he has claimed World Championships in the event in 2005 and 2007 to give him a resume more than worthy of a position in the Drake Relays Hall of Fame.
Joining the quarter-miler in the Drake Relays Hall of Fame is Iowa Director of Track and Field, Larry Wieczorek. The veteran coach is in his second season in his current role after serving as head men's cross country coach for the Hawkeyes for 26 seasons (1987-2012) and head men's track and field coach for 16 seasons (1997-2012). Wieczorek served as an assistant track and field coach for 12 years (1985-96).
A six-time Big Ten champion (including two in cross country) and four-time All-American student-athlete at Iowa, Wieczorek once held conference marks in the one, two, three, four and five-mile runs. A member of Iowa's Big Ten track championship team in 1967, Wieczorek led the Hawkeyes back to the top of the Big Ten by capturing the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championship. The Hawkeye men crowned three conference champions on their home track, and Wieczorek was named Big Ten and USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
The pair will be inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame on April 25 in a ceremony in Sheslow Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
Brown also announced exciting additions to other fields for the London Rematches, including filling out the women’s 1,500 meter field with three 2012 Olympic finalists in Morgan Uceny, Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury. Adding to the excitement in the deep field will also be high school phenom Mary Cain. The Bronxville, N.Y., native is the American high school record holder in the event at 4:11.01, which smashed Jordan Hasay’s previous mark by more than three seconds. She recently graced the cover of Track & Field News and headlined fields at the Millrose Games and New Balance Indoor Games during the recent indoor season.
New athletes in the men’s hurdles strengthen an already stout field as four new competitors in Ryan Wilson, Andrew Riley, Antwon Hicks and Jeff Porter in the 110-meter hurdles join gold medalist/world record holder Aries Merritt, silver medalist Jason Richardson, bronze medalist Hansle Parchment and Olympic finalist Ryan Braithwaite. The four newcomers all ranked in the top 15 in the world last season to make the event one of the fastest 110-meter hurdle fields fans will see all season.
Four of the top 30 ranked athletes from 2013 are also set to join the 400-meter hurdle London Rematch with Eric Alejandro, Justin Gaymon, Jamele Mason and Johnny Dutch set to race. They’ll fill out a field that features another complete London Rematch between silver medalist Michael Tinsley and bronze medalist Javier Culson.
Of the 12 London Games rematches scheduled to be staged at Drake Stadium, seven will be a part of Hy-Vee Night at the Relays on Friday night under the lights on the Blue Oval. Action gets underway at 5:15 p.m. and continues until 9:30 p.m. with a fireworks display capping off the athletic spectacle.
Tickets for Hy-Vee Night at the Relays and all sessions of the Drake Relays are available via the Drake athletic ticket office online at www.DrakeRelays.org or by calling 515-271-DOGS (3647).