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First Full Day of Drake Relays Sees Long-Time Iowa High School Mark Fall

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 28, 2011
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Ottumwa's Kevin Lewis, new state record-holder in the 3,200 meters
Courtesy: Chris Donahue
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa-The action heated up on the Blue Oval Thursday as the sun shone bright and the curtain lifted on the first full day of the 102nd Drake Relays. The highlight of the day for Iowans was seeing a 38-year-old record broken in the boys' 3,200 meter run, and a familiar face add a fifth Drake Relays win to her credit.

Kevin Lewis of Ottumwa High School ran 9:05.58 in the 3,200 to eclipse Mark Johnson's 1973 record of 9:06.3, while Shelby Houlihan of Sioux City East captured the 3,000 meters in 9:56.71 to add to her four previous Relays victories.

Lewis' performance today came out of nowhere, as he shaved more than seven seconds off his previous state-leading time of 9:12.73.

Houlihan's showing also topped her previous state-leading time of 10:00.71 by exactly four seconds. It was Houlihan's fifth win at the Drake Relays and first at that distance. She won the 800 and 1,500 in 2009; the 1,500 in '10 and was part of Sioux City East's winning 4x800 relay team in '09.

Georgia senior Bridget Lyons captured the women's 10,000 meters to open Thursday night's Distance Carnival. Her time of 33:31.14 is the 10th-best time recorded this year in NCAA competition.

Minnesota won the women's 4x1600 meter relay for the third straight year and fifth time in the last six years. The team of Nikki SwensonMissa VarpnessStephanie Price and Elizabeth Yetzer posted a time of 19:05.52.

"We have like a countdown basically from when Drake Relays is over until when we get to run it again," said Swenson, a senior. "It's not like sporadically we win, it's every year. It's something we definitely look forward to. It's right up there with Big Tens and those big races we run."

The decathlon was won by former University of Northern Iowa star and 2009 Drake Relays champion Mat Clark. His score of 7,500 gave him the title going away after her entered the day in second, just 12 points behind eventual fourth-place finisher Ethan Miller of Central College.

"It doesn't get any better than this," Clark said. "I won it two years ago and I was pretty disappointed last year when I no-heighted in the vault. But I skipped some meets in Arkansas so I could come back here and take my risks with the weather here. Because there's nothing that beats the feeling of winning here. It feels like my hometown, 30 minutes away."

Clark sealed the win with victories in each of the last two events, the javelin (200-09) and 1,500 (4:25.58). Cliff Miller of Michigan State was second (7,202), Jonathan Hilton third (7,141), Central's Miller fourth (7,134) and Northern Iowa's Daniel Gooris fifth (7,132).

Whitney Carlson of North Dakota State captured the heptathlon crown this afternoon with a score of 5,352, the 15th-best mark recorded in NCAA competition this year. She began the day in second place with 3,109 points, just seven points out of first. Her second-day charge began with a win in the long jump with a leap of 19-11½ , and continued with a third-place showing in the javelin (114-10) and second place in the 800 (2:21.97). Day 1 leader Brianna LeRoy of Utah finished second with a score of 5,090 and Maddy Outman was third with 5,006.

Drake freshman Brogan Austin finished second in the men's 10,000 meters, his first time running the event in his collegiate career.

After a cool morning, temperatures rose to the upper 60s by mid-afternoon. It was 49 degrees with light wind when the decathlon competition began at 9:30 a.m. Winds picked up later in the day with a temperature of 67 degrees and winds of 27 mph from the northwest at 3:45 p.m.

Friday's Drake Relays events begin at 8 a.m. with the high school girls' 100-meter hurdles.

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