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Quotes From 2012 Drake Relays

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 26, 2012
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2012 Drake Relays - 103rd Running
April 25-28, 2012

Saturday Quotes

Florida, Winners, Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay, 3:02.41. Dedric Dukes, FR, Leonardo Seymore, JR, Hugh Graham, Jr., FR, Tony McQuay, JR.

Tony McQuay, JR, Anchor

On his finish: “I just trusted my training basically, I know my capabilities and all I had to do was finish strong.”

On his teammates: “We started off with a couple of freshmen. Dedric Dukes popped off then freshman Hugh Graham took over the second leg and did what he did. Outstanding freshmen, they came in and they’ve been training good so coach and I trust them to come in and do a great job. Tony (McQuay) took the third leg, he’s not much of a 400 runner, but we knew he could do it. All I had to do was trust my teammates to set me up good and finish it off for them.”

On Tony McQuay: “He’s not too much of a 4x400 runner. He’s new to the race, I raced him in a couple 4x400’s in high school. He stepped up really big for us today and we are very proud of him and the things he can do to help this team.”

On the Drake crowd: “I was happy about the crowd. I haven’t seen so many people come out and actually support track of field in this type of weather. Usually we are at Penn Relays, which has a little bit bigger crowd, but considering the weather, they were warm and welcoming.”

 

Texas, Winners, Women’s University 4x400 relay champions, 3:33.15. Brianna Nelson ran 52.2 split to overtake Florida on the last leg.

Anchor Briana Nelson:

On the beating Florida: “I was pretty confident we could win. We train hard enough, so I knew I was strong enough to finish. I wanted win for the team. We won the 100 and 4x100, we did not want to leave without taking the 4x400 as well. I was satisfied to get the win and that we could finish in first.

On Florida: “In track there are schools you expect to perform well and Florida is one of them. They have been running really well this season. We knew it was going to be a race between us and them. We just wanted to end up on top.”

 

Assumption High School, High School Girls 4 x 400, 3:52.7. Repeat champions from 2011. Same foursome ran 4 x 100. (Emma Bessier, SO, Rose Ripslinger, SO, Remington Ricciuti, SR,  Maddie Irmen, SO)

Irmen on the anchor leg: “I knew she (Allison Gibbs of Cascade) was right behind me. She was a really good runner so I had to get going. I also ran the anchor on the 4 by 1.”

Ricciuti: “Those guys gave me the lead and I kept and didn’t let the hard work went for nothing.”

 

Scott Roth, Unattached, Winner, Men’s Pole Vault Special, 5.37 (17-7.25). First time at Drake Relays

On the event: “Warm-ups went pretty well. When we got to the track we saw we had a pretty good tail wind. I got pretty excited and started thinking about how high I could go today. It was kind of a confidence builder with the wind. Warm-ups went well. I cleared a couple of bungees in the warm-ups.”

On initial jumps: “I came in at 5-25, cleared that then went to 5.37, cleared that then I ended up passing 5.52 deciding to come back in at 5.62 hoping I would clear that then still have enough energy to take a jump at 5.75. I got on the biggest pole I have ever been on and actually blew through it. It was encouraging to see the potential. Based on that I think I can go to a bigger pole.”

 

Wallace Spearmon, USA, Winner, Men's 200 Meter Special, 20.02. Broke Michael Johnson's 1997 record of 20.05.

On the record: "Technically, this was my fifth try at the record. I started looking at the clock early. I was trying to run a sub-20, but it was a little chilly. I was just waiting for the wind gauge."

On breaking Johnson's record: "He was one of the guys I idolized when I was growing up so to even be mentioned in the same sentence with him is a great honor. I have been trying and trying and finally reached my goal."

On coming to Drake: "Coming back next year and try to break it again and run a sub-20. You never stop being hungry."

On the race: "I felt real sloppy around the turn. I felt my training partner on my hip pretty quick and the guy outside of me. By the time I stood up, he was past me. It was not one of my best starts. In my last race, I actually had a better start. I would give myself a C-minus. I still have some work to do if I am going to make London."

Prairie- Cedar Rapids, Winners, Boys 4x400 M Relay High School, 3:21:15. Austin Dellamuth, Jarred Edmonds, Jacob Aune, Demetrius Harper.

Demetrius Harper, Anchor
On the anchor leg: "Usually I get out really hard, but the team and I had a little conversation last night and they told me to just go out and see what happens the last meters. I had to dig up and catch him at the end."

Ashley Miller, Nebraska, Winner, Women's 1500 M Run Seeded University/College, 4:15:61 (New Drake Relays record. Previous record: 4:15:90 by Stephanie Morgan in 2011).

On winning: "It feels great. I knew what it was going into the race and that was the goal - was to get that record and to win a flag my last change as a collegiate athlete out there and I did that so I'm super thrilled."

"Anytime you come away with a Drake Relays' flag it's a really special, memorable race. This one was really meaningful, because it was my last shot. To come away with a flag at this one definitely means a lot and to come away with a record it."

On the Drake Relay's crowd: "I felt the energy of the crowd and they really pushed me and I was ecstatic afterwards with all their support and I really thank them for that."

On breaking the record: "I knew I could do it, because of the way my workouts were going I knew I was capable of coming here and breaking that record. It didn't surprise me that I ran that fast, but I'm really happy I did."

On signing autographs during her victory lap: "It was kind of crazy. I felt like such a celebrity."

Ciarra Brewer, FR, Florida, Winner, Triple Jump, 13.12.

On the jumps: "I got 13-07, which is a really good jump for starting off. I think two weeks ago I was at 13-06, so that was my season best."

On the weather: "It was really cold out there today. I managed to stay healthy, so that was good. I just wanted to get through my jumps, put on a show and have some fun. I was just happy to be here."

On Drake: "It was real cool. I didn't know that Drake was really this big. When I got here I was like 'whoa, the crowd is packed'. It was just a really good experience and a new experience at that. I am really glad to be here and the fans cheering made it even better."

Chaunte Lowe, Winner, Women's High Jump Special, 1.98m. (New Drake Relays record. Previous record: 1.96m set in 2010 by Chaunte Lowe).

On the weather: "It was cold, but you can't complain about it because at least I'm moving around and the crowd, they're cold and they're still here. They're not complaining and so it you just go out there and you go with the heat of the atmosphere."

On the fans at the Drake Relays: "My last memory of here was jumping the American record so just getting back on here it's electrifying. Iowan's, they just absolutely love the high jump. It just takes your breath away. You want to perform for them.

On what she thinks when she's jumping: "I don't want to be out here like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to jump again.' I just want that joy to illuminate from me and out there to the crowd. When I jump I'm jumping for joy - literally. That's what's really going through my head when I'm jumping."

Amy Acuff, second place, Women's High Jump Special, 1.85m (Came out of retirement to jump at the 2012 Texas Relays where she earned an Olympic "A" standard jump to qualify for London 2012).

On coming out of retirement: "Things have been going really well. You wouldn't know it from today, I kind of got mixed up out there on my approach, but I think it's going to be my best season ever, which is amazing to me, because of how long I've been doing it that I can actually find a way to get better. I had a baby and she's going to be two next month and I didn't do anything while I was pregnant and a year after."

On why she came out of retirement: "Just unrealized potential, just wanting to go back and extract what I feel was there and realize it."

On her performances: "Things are going really well. I mean I have a ways to go. Obviously, today I was not on point, but practices have been really encouraging so I think things could be really good."

On post-Olympic plans: "I'll see how I feel. I don't want to put any limitations or deadlines, but we'll see how it goes."

On the Drake Relays: "It's like a festival - a celebration of track and field. People here are really enthusiastic and super nice. It's so welcoming to be here."

On the fans at the Drake Relays: "I feel like they're ultra supportive. Win, lose or draw you feel very welcomed."

Jeremiah Vaughn, SR, Indiana State, 1500 Meter Run. It was Indiana State's third Drake title of the weekend. The other two titles were in the men's 110 hurdles and men's shuttle hurdle relay.

On taking the lead with 200 meter left: "I hoped that I was going to win the race. You never know until the end if anyone is going to come up and sneak past you."

 On the race: "It was strategy based. No one wanted to push the pace at the beginning with the weather."

Ryan Wilson, USA, Winner, 110 Hurdles Special, 13.20. Wilson is a three time Drake Relays winner. Wilson posted the second best time in the world this year, beating the record he set in 2009 (13.21).

On the race: "I had some specific things I needed to work at my start. I am doing a whole new start this year. A lot of people are slipping over to seven steps including me. I am trying to get used to that and there are some things with the seven steps that you have to do in order to make it work. I was really focused on my start and I thought went pretty well. So, that put me in a pretty good position by hurdle three and did not have to do a lot to come back. So, I was able to run comfortably all race. On about hurdle seven I started to get aggressive and at the same time stay clean. It was a pretty smooth race. If I can stay clean, my finish is the best in the world."

On going from eight to seven steps: "I don't think it is important for everyone. I was someone who never had a very good start sop we just battled with eight steps for years and years. We looked at some other people who were doing seven and my coach and I made a decision last summer after a disappointing season decided to go to seven. I tinkered with it last summer. It looks like you are going slow, but it allows you to drive through hurdle one. If you are a tweener guy or a taller guy who struggles with eight because you are backing off going into the hurdle which most people has to do, seven really allows you to run through it."

Three time Drake winner, broke record twice: "My third win. The second time I broke the record. I really enjoy running here. Glad to have it back on my schedule. Things didn't go well last year so my manager gave me some options this year, but I said no let's go to Drake.

I was trying to put together a shuttle hurdle to go to Penn, then the schedule came out and Drake was the same weekend and I said to my coach, well? He said 'just go to Drake we know you will run well there. It's an Olympic year so you have to think about yourself a little'."

Culson Javier, Puerto Rico, Men's 400 hurdles, 49.02. Spoke through interpreter Denise Matta of UTEP.

Finish of the race: "At the eighth hurdle I had a change of stride."

On the race: "Yes, I was nervous. The weather was cold."

Outdoor race: "This was the first race of my year outdoors. This was coldest I have ever run in. In my country, it is 99 degrees. It is too hot. I think it is a little more like London weather."

Cedar Falls High School, Winners, 4x100 Meter Relay. Defending 4x100 champions Cedar Falls winning time of 42.17 was a new Drake Relays record. It was anchor James Harrington seventh Drake Relays title.

Anchor James Harrington:
On the record:  "It feels great to finish my last Drake Relays race with a win and record. The Drake Relays is a great experience and I am going to cherish it the rest of my life. It's a blessing. I want to thank God, my family and everyone else. "

On the race: "We blew out our best time. Before the race, I sat down with everyone and said it was senior year and it's the last Drake Relays of our career. We said we wanted to win for our city, the coaches and ourselves and that's what we did. We executed all our handoffs and ran great race."

Georgia University, Winners, Men's 4x100 Meter Relay-University Division, 39.77.
Adams (Sr.), Waymon Storey (So.), Eric Harris (Jr.), Justin Scott-Wesley (Fr.)

Phillip Adams, first leg
O
n his leg: "I just tried to get out of the box alright. I felt like I was pushing a lot. I got out and go the stick to Waymon. We struggled with the handoff but we still got it off."

On the victory lap: "It was fun, I actually gave my flag to a little kid."

Waymon Storey, second legOn his leg: "Cory got me the baton and it took a minute, but I finally did get it. Then I tried to make up some of the stagger so it would make it easier for Eric. To finish me and Eric had a good handoff."

On the Relays: "I like running here, this was my second year. Last year we didn't have a very good race but this year we got it together, we got two victories. I got to give it up to my teammates, they did their thing."

Eric Harris, third leg
On his leg: "I tried to improve from what they did and I just handed it off to Justin who did his thing after I handed it to him."

On the Relays: "We love it here at Drake, the fans and the atmosphere. The weather wasn't that great this year."

Justin Scott-Wesley, anchor
On his leg: "They left me in a really great position and I knew they had confidence in me to do my thing. I just came out and showed my teammates that I am a dependable guy."

On the Relays: "This is my first meet, my first time at the Relays. The advice I got from my teammates was to just run."

Boaz Lalang, Kenya, Winner, Special Mile Run, 4:04.29.

On the weather: "I knew the weather wasn't going to be good so I didn't want to run as fast as I wanted so my goal here was coming to win."

On upcoming races: My next race will be 800 meters, hopefully in Europe in Czech Republic. It's three weeks from now.

On the fans: "A lot of good fans come to see us. I really appreciate coming to Des Moines, Iowa to race here. It's really, really nice because of the fans here."

Des Moines Roosevelt, Winners, 4x100 Meter Relay, 47.55. Destani Welch, Agnes Sayeh, Jalynn Roberts-Lewis, and Erin Hawkins set a new Drake Relays record, beating previous record of 47.79, set in 2011 by Des Moines Roosevelt.

Erin Hawkins, SR, Anchor
On winning: "It was nice to win. We kind of expected it because our team has worked so hard and we're really close to the team and to get that win it means a lot to us."

On running at the Drake Relays where Olympians complete: "We all want to be at that level someday and this is where it starts and we know we can do it if we just keep working hard and stay focused."

Jalynn Roberts-Lewis, SO, 3rd Leg
On winning: "It feels amazing just to know we worked so hard for it, every single practice and even off the track."

Jennifer Simpson, USA, Winner, Women's Special 1500, 4:12.95. Simpson also won the event in 2011. 

On the close finish:  "I did not realize how close the field was getting. You have to remember when you take the lead. You have to press every 400 meters, because you have a target on your back.

The crowd support: "People are just so enthusiastic. It's fun for me to watch them match my enthusiasm for the sport. It reminds me I am not crazy for loving track as much as they do."

The crowd support for racing: "When you are in front you have so little sensory data of where the rest of the crowd is. They are helpful in reminding you that someone might be coming." 

Teddy Venel, France, Winner, Men's 400-Meter Special, 46.0

On the race: "I tried to go fast on the first leg but with the wind it was a little hard to do. I had a good finish to win the race."

On racing against Tabarie Henry: "This is the first time I raced against him. We were together in a previous event but were weren't in the same race.

On winning: "It is always great to win and to win against fast runners like this is even better."

On competing at Drake: "I was here last year and finished third. I really like the Drake Relays."

Greggmar Swift, SR, Indiana State, Men's 110 hurdles, 13.72. Swift also anchored Indiana State to a shuttle hurdle victory. Swift was seventh in the 2011 Drake Relays 110 hurdles. His time of 13.72 was a personal best in the race by .12 seconds. He was an NCAA qualifier in 2011. Swift is a native of Barbados.

On the race: "I got a bad start, but the second part of the race is usually the best part of my race. When they were in striking range, I struck and I took them out."

On the weather:  "This is Indiana State weather. I have not a trained in 85 degree weather. The warmest I have trained in is 65 degree weather. This was perfect for me. It was a little cold and I made it work for me."

On the crowd:  "The crowd was brilliant today. Words cannot express how the crowd helped today. They lifted the field today with these conditions."

Troy Doris, SR, Iowa, Winner, Triple Jump, 16.41 (53-10 ¼). Hit winning jump on final leap.

On the field: "We had great competition out there. I didn't let it get to me, I still had to come out here and attack it. We are all good friends. There is no need to come out here and be enemies. I mean, no one here comes out to finish second. We understand that. We talk about these things and it helps us to push each other."

Competing with Florida's Omar Craddock: "He comes out here and is real cool and relaxed. He is unpredictable so it keeps me on my toes. So, I never get too comfortable. We both know we have a lot to work on, him and I, so I am thinking we are both getting ready for June. There is going to be a lot of surprises between the two of us."

On winning at Drake: "I was real happy to do it in front of the Iowa crowd. I finally got my flag and all that cool stuff so I am happy."

On preparation and competition: "I really try to keep my emotions checked. My coaches tell me there is nothing I can do about my competition so I have to do what is good for me. All I can do is control myself."

On happy dance after announcement: "I was just happy I got a flag. I won the Drake Relays and I won one for Iowa. I just couldn't hold it in."

Kristin Castlin, USA, Winner, 100 Hurdles, 12.76

On her speed: "That was a good race for me actually, that was a PR for me. I didn't get out (of the blocks) the best, but it was a great race. The hurdles start coming up so fast, so I think this week I will start doing some training with hurdles 7, 8, 9, and 10 since they are coming so fast. I'm looking forward to my next couple of races."

On momentum in an Olympic season: "My momentum actually started in indoor in the 60 meter hurdles. My PR was a 7.84, before that my PR was 8.01. Momentum started then I went back outdoors and really try to execute a great race technically. Speed always comes towards the end of the season. At the beginning of the season I'm really just working on my technique."

On running at Drake without Lolo Jones:  "Lolo's a great competitor, but I put all my competitors in the same boat. I don't put one over the other because one is faster or anything like that. I measure everyone with the same measure everyone with the same stick. At this point you line up at the same time."

Ryan Whiting, USA, Winner, Shot Put, 21.31 m.

On how the competition felt: "It was alright. I'm used to training in a little cooler weather lately, so this is actually an improvement for me. I'm in a heavy lifting phase right now so I didn't expect too much. I am really happy with what I did today."

On winning the Drake Championship: "It's great. I came here in college for an NCAA meet, I've competed at the Drake Relays in college also. I always see Christian (Cantwell) here every year, for some reason he's not here this year, but it's great to have the title. Another thing to add to my resume." 

Isiah Young, Jr., Mississippi, Winner, 100-Meter Dash, 10.13

On the race: "I had a great start, I have nothing to complaints about the race. I drove, got up in transition and finished all the way through the line. I just wish it wasn't wind aided."

On the relays: "It was my first time here, my first time at Drake. It has been a great experience. A lot of people come out and support and its cold."

Victory lap: "Oh it was great. I got to sign autographs and everyone was yelling and clapping hands. It was great."

On the weather: "It is 80 degrees where I am from so it is a big difference. I can't blame the cold for how I run. I went out there and just gave it my all."

On running in the men's 200 special later today: "There is going to be some tough competition in there. So many good runners in that group. I am just going to go out there and try my best and try to win it."  

Anne Lenners, Jr., Waukee High School, Winner, Girls 400-Meter Hurdles, 62.93

On coming from the back of the field: "Yeah, I just really wanted it and I decided if I was going to go for it, it had to be then."

On running hurdles: "My sister got me into it, she ran hurdles in high school."

On the 400 hurdles: I prefer the 400 hurdles over the sprint hurdles. It gives you time to recover if you start with a bad race."

On winning the race: "It is great, it is more than I could have ever asked for.

On the victory lap and running on the Blue Oval: "It is unreal, I don't think it has hit me yet."

Rebekah Topham, FR, Griswold, High School Girls 1500. Topham won the 3000 on Thursday and was second in the 800 on Friday. Topham ran the first lap of the race in last before moving to the front of the pack.

On starting from the back and moving into first: "I thought that I would just pass them all at once, instead of running wide. I feel more comfortable running from the back."

On Winning Drake: "I have been waiting a long time to come and run here. In the past, I have always came and watched the race. It was fun finally running. My goal is always to do the best I can."

Jason Thomas, Dowling Catholic, Winner, 1600 Meter Run, 4:15:21.

On winning the Drake Relays: "I made that a goal in the beginning of the season to win the mile here and it feels really good to go out there and make that goal happen."

On his race strategy: "It went good from the gun. I got myself in a good position in the first lap. I went out a little slower than I wanted to, but I think I made that up on the second lap."

On his finish: "My kick is pretty good and I knew I was going to be able to rely on that, which I did."

Allison Peter, SO, Texas, Winner, 100 Meter Dash, 11.23.

On the sprint: "It was good. That was my official opener for the 100 in the outdoor season. It's actually a PR for me. Coming down from 11.46, so it was a big deal for me to cut that time off."

On the weather: "It's a little cold, but you just have to work through it. Penn Relays is usually cold as well so it's okay. The wind definitely died down from yesterday, which really helped a lot. It's still cold, but it didn't bother me too much."

On Drake Relays: "It's very different from Penn (Relays). I'm accustomed to Penn, but running here is much more relaxed and the atmosphere is much calmer. The fans here are so nice and it helps to have a full crowd cheering you on."

Latosha Wallace, Asics, Winner, Women's 400 M Hurdles Special, 56.58.

On her finishing time: "It's consistent. Last week I ran a 56.4 at Princeton by myself so despite the conditions and flying 56.5 at least it's consistent. I'm not disappointed and I'm not ecstatic."

On her goal time: "55 [seconds] would have been ideal, but we're not in a perfect world. I'll take what I can get. I'm happy with the win."

On her competition: "At U.S.A. Track and Field we all know everybody from somewhere - high school, summer track, college track. It's like a big family when we see each other, but when we're on the track we're competitors, but off the track we still help one another out. I guess that's something to say about competition here in the U.S."

Lincoln University, Women's Shuttle Hurdle Relay Champions, 55.22

Anna-Kay James, FR, anchor
On the win: "Our aim and focus was to go out there as fast as we could and not hit any hurdles. The crowd was amazing and they pushed us to do better."

Indiana State, Men's Shuttle Hurdle Relay Champions, 56.42. Indiana State currently holds the meet record.

Maurice Lyke, SR, 3rd leg
On the win: "We were amped by the crowd. It was cold for the prelims and the enthusiasm of the crowd helped us. We had a good competition. The coach just told us to come out and compete."

On the record: "Currently Indiana State holds the meet record and we wanted to break it. We will not be satisfied until we break it."

Minnesota, Winners, Men's Distance Medley Relay, 9:36.21. Nick Hutton, JR, Kevin Bradley, JR, David  Pachuta, SR, and Travis Burkstrand, JR. The same four student-athletes also won the 4x800 Meter Relay on Friday afternoon.

Travis Burkstrand, JR, Anchor
On being a repeat Drake Relays Champion: "This is my fourth in two years. Three of us have the distance medley and 4x800 titles from this year and last. It's amazing."

On the Minnesota distance team: "We kind of split our team. There are the 400-800 guys, then the 800- mile guys. We come together once or twice a year to form what we call the '4x Great'. The past two years, it's been great so it's fun to come together and have the same guys in both the distance medley and the 4x800."

On the Drake Relays: "We always get amped coming to big competitions like this one and this Drake atmosphere is amazing to run in. Coming to the stadium with the seats packed, there is nothing better than running on a Saturday packed full with such great fans. There were so many Minnesota fan and it's just so much fun to win, hold those flags and take the victory lap. It's super fun."

On the Drake Relays: "This is the biggest thing to us beside the Big 10 meet or Nationals. We aren't really going out there for the invitational titles. We want these team titles at Drake, Big 10, or Nationals. It's one of our main focuses."

David Pachuta, SR, 3rd leg
On the '4x Great': "We've known each other since high school. We are all from the same area, we've all ran against each other and we knew each other's talent coming in, so it's fun to come together and be so good."

Nick Hutton, JR, 1st leg
On the victory lap: "It was great. Autographs, so much love from the Drake fans. Seeing parents, family is just awesome. Everyone from Minnesota came down, plus these Iowa fans are so welcoming, it's an amazing experience."

Kianna Elahi, Iowa State, Winner, 400 M Hurdles, 56.78.

On the race: "I guess my goal in this race today was kind of just to go out and make it through seven hurdles on my left leg. I've kind of been focusing on that this year, trying to get through seven on my left, and then switching to my right for the last three."

On racing at Drake: "I just feel so blessed right now and I'm so thankful that God was with me today on this race and just helping me through it. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be able to come here for this meet and race with these talented people. I thank God every day for the blessing He has given me in the talent for track."

Carson Blanks, Sr, Mississippi, 400 meter-hurdles champion, 50.70. Blanks finished fourth in the 2011 Drake Relays 400 meter hurdles. His former teammate, Lee Moore, won 2010 and 2011 Drake titles in the event.

On the winning strategy: "Today I was not as tired as I normally am. I felt this was going to be a good day. I kind of held back and saw how everyone else competing. I made my final move on the backstretch. It was a lot better weather today."

On the crowd: "I love the people and I love the cheers. The fans are really big cheering on the athletes."

Raheem Black, JR, Fort Madison, Winner, 400 meter hurdles, 52.45. Posted the 9th fastest speed on the all time on the high school list.

On the race: "At first I was thinking about going with him (Linn-Mar's Brandon Ophoff), but then if I did I would probably make a mistake and fall behind so I decided to run my own race. Usually I listen to my coach to hear what my splits are and if it is where I want to be, I'll definitely kick it in."

On hugging coach on victory lap: "Coach (Jill) Stoll helps me with my jumps. She gives us all these awesome workouts."

On the field: "It was a really good field. Everyone had good times. It was a chance to push yourself over what you've been running. The time was definitely a PR. I have been running 53's so the competition really pushed me."

Waukee High School, Winners, Girls 4x100 Shuttle Hurdle Relay, New Drake Relays Record of 63.29. Emma Drees (Jr.), Alyssa Cunningham (Sr.), Mallory Smith (So.), Maddie Rouw (Jr.)

Maddie Rouw, Anchor
On the race: Emma started off and she had a great start. Alyssa and Mallory ran hard and that is what we needed and then I just had to finish and it felt good and we won the race."

On the victory lap: "It was so amazing, it was a dream come true."

On the weather: "This was the perfect weather to run, we loved that it was a little cool."

Iowa City High, Winner, Boys shuttle hurdle, 56.75. Mason Greer, SR, Javon Duarte, SR, Jeremy Johnson, SR, and Dan Roemerman, SR.

Jeremy Johnson
On winning a Drake Relays title: "With us all being seniors we wanted to do well. We talked about being focused. No matter what happens we are going to be a team. We talked about what it would mean to be a Drake champ."

Mason Greer
On the race: "This is my fourth year of varsity and every year we have gotten better and better. It was finally good to get it as a senior. We've been in some tough races before. I was a little scared. I won't lie. I wanted the flag so I just ran my race."

Jamie Nieto, USA, Men's High Jump, 2.24 M (7-04.25)

On his future: "It's my last year competing. I'm retiring after this year. Next year I'm planning on getting into some full-time acting and a little bit of coaching."

On his jumps: "My 7-4 and 7-5 jumps are getting more and more consistent so I'm definitely happy about that. To come here my last year and win it's definitely a blessing and an honor."

On the Drake Relays: "I've been coming here since college - (first time) in '98, not every year but I've probably been here 5-6 times at least. There's usually good competition and this track is beautiful and the fans are great. I've jumped season's bests here so it's a good place to compete."

Jenn Suhr, USA, Winner, Women's Pole Vault - Special, 15-3

On what's next: "Right now we are going to go back and were going to train and lengthen up the run a little bit and build some strength and get ready for the trials. Our main focus this year is the trails."

On deciding to compete today: "It's hard to pass up a pole vault opportunity here in Des Moines. The crowd was so great when I was at the Jump in the Mall and I was pumped up and thought it better to open up the outdoor season while I was here. We stuck around and crossed our fingers with the weather and decided to come out and jump today. My husband/coach and I work on percentages and he was 80% you are jumping on Saturday and I gave him 30% so I said we have a little problem here. As we talked it out, we went through it and we really wanted to have our first jump here."

Getting that first outdoor jump out of the way: "It is more of a mental confidence to have your first-ever, and I am not talking short jump or long jump, but first outdoor jump of the season in windy conditions. Usually, a pole vaulter wants to open up the outdoor season for the first time with a slight or calm wind. Coming out and being able to compete in these conditions says a lot of where my  training is."

On the conditions: "It was really good though, I didn't feel like it the conditions affected me too much. I was a little bit iffy in the beginning which is why I missed my first bar because I wasn't sure what pole to be on. After that I was pretty confident with my mark and my step and it's just a building block with one step at a time."

Georgia , Winners, 1600 men's sprint medley, 3:16.46. First time Georgia has won event at Drake. Torrin Lawrence, SR, Waymon Storey, SO, Chris Foster, FR, Aaron Evans, SR,

Waymon Storey
On the race: "Torrin gave us a good lead-off leg and I came back to run 20-flat and Chris ran a good 400 leg, a 47.3 and Aaron just killed it. He ran a 1:47. We figured if we all ran our best, we could come out with a victory."

On going for the record: "Our goal was to actually try to break the record. The weather wasn't kind of permitting us to do it, but we did it the best we could, so we'll take it. It is on pace with where we ant to be. We've got conference in two weeks so everyone is getting ready. We will be back here for Nationals."

Arkansas, Women's 1600 Sprint Medley, 3:45:58. Gwendolyn Flowers, Tiffany Hines, Regina George and Martine Borge completed the Sprint Medley quick enough to set a new stadium and Drake Relays record. The previous record was 3:46:78, set in 1996 by Arkansas-Little Rock.

Regina George
On race strategy: "Our coach told us get Martine in the front. So our goal was to put her in the front no matter what and we came out with a big lead and Martine had to do what she had to do."

On the cold weather: "When you're in the lead going for a record you don't feel it, but we're probably going to feel it 30 minutes from now."

On her teammates: "The girls in front of me did such a great job"

Jillisa (Jill-eh-suh) Grant, SR, New Mexico Highland, Winner, Women's University/College long jump, 6.23, 20-5 1/4

On the event: "I came out here to jump at least 6-6 or 6-7, but I came up short of that, but I'm happy."

On weather at Drake: "The weather was not what I expected or prepared for but it is what it is. I wasn't expecting it to be this cold here."

On rest of the season: "I have conference next then nationals for Division II. Afterwards I am planning to go home for the Olympic Trials in Jamaica. I'm leading Division II right now with the A standard (6.33, 20-9 ¼)." 

Indianola, Winners, 4x 800 Meter Relay, 7:50.68. Jordan Schulze, JR, Andy Arndt, JR, Joe Gorsche, FR, and Tyler Krpan, SR, competed in the event. This is Indianola's third consecutive Drake Relays Championship in the 4x800.

Tyler Krpan, SR, Anchor
On winning another Drake title: "I was really in disbelief, I mean, Im pretty sure the expression on my face was just... I was in disbelief. Emotion wise, I was bawling at the end. It's so much better than last year. It was so awesome."

On his leg of the race: "When I got the baton, I was in second. I took the lead early on and at that point, I knew we had a pretty good shot. When I got passed by Waukee and Ames, there was a little bit of doubt there. Waukee has a pretty studley anchor. We hit the last hundred meters, coming in the same time just battling it out. I knew we had a pretty good chance."

On winning his second Drake Relays title: "It's a lot better the second time, really. It's the victory, the emotional part, the mental part. It's all pretty awesome."

On the pressure of being the anchor: "There's a lot more pressure. I was really nervous for it. You have to go out there, give it your all, and God willing, He'll get you through."

On the victory celebration: "That was even better than winning. Having all the guys come over and start jumping on me it was great. It just made the victory at that point."

Graham Morris, Eastern Illinois, Winner, Men's Steeplechase, 8:52.76.

On the pace of the race: "It went out a little bit slow. I knew going into the race, because of Flotrack and TFRRS, where you can see what everyone else has run this year, I figured I had a little bit of a speed advantage so my plan was kind of just relax and run my pace until the last 600 or so, then start moving. I was sitting in second the whole time and then made my move and it worked out."

On the Drake Relays: "It's pretty sweet. This is my first time here and its definitely bigger than anything I'm used to. It's been great to see."

Kyle Blakeslee, Augustana, Women's 3000 Meter Steeplechase, 10:18:71.

On how she felt before the race: "I just came off of a big PR at Mt. SAC so I was feeling confident."

On her opponents: "I knew they weren't going to go out at a pace I couldn't handle. So I just keyed off them and took it the last two laps."

On the hurdles: "My hurdling wasn't very good. I almost fell that last hurdle but I pulled through. Sometimes when girls hurdle they fling their arms so I got hit a couple of times and I got splashed in the head for the water jump. It was just annoying little things that kept reoccurring."

Valley High School, Winners, Girl's 4x800 M Relay, 9:17:49. Kaitlyn Nelson, Melissa Shepherd, Torey Brown, Lydia Saggau.

Lydia Saggau, Anchor
On coming from behind to win: "Coming from the back it always makes it way more fun to run. Just kind of keep your eyes on the girls in front of you and never try to run it in the first 200 I just try to save it."

On whether or not she could outkick her opponents: "It's always kind of hard to tell. I usually finish pretty strong and I do 400's to so I had the sprint speed. If I'm close enough I know I can get them, but sometimes you have those moments of doubt."

Jeneva McCall, Sr., Southern Illinois University, Winner, Women's Hammer Throw - Univ./College Division - 66.15. With the win, Southern Illinois has won this event three-consecutive years and four of the last five years.

On competing: "You don't want to let down the school, so if you don't PR you better win the meet."

On Sothern Illinois at the Drake Relays: "It feels great to be part of the history of the hammer throws at the Drake Relays. It feels wonderful to pick up the hammer and run with it and pick up where former teammates have left off. "

On her throws: "My throws weren't where they usually are. My training was good all through the week, but the last few weeks my weekends have not gone as expected."

On the weather: "When you are dealing with the hammer, weather has very little effect on the results. The hammer is something you can throw in the rain and it won't be affected too much."

On what's next: "I am trying to peak at either the nationals or Olympic trials. I am coming out of heavy base training. I am trying to make the transition with speed and power, more on the power end than the speed end because I am not fully recovered. The next big meet is conference, then regionals and nationals."

Lincoln (Mo.), Women’s 1600 Sprint Medley College, 3:53:75. Toni-Ann Moore, Shakeisha Miller, Michelle Cumberbatch, and Twishana Williams ran the event.

Michelle Cumberbatch
On the Drake Relays: “The Drake Relays is a remarkable experience. Being here for the third time and coming out here and seeing the crowd cheer for us, knowing that we came from miles and miles away and they don’t really know about us and just to have them cheer for us is a great, great experience.”

On the race: “The race went pretty well. We were happy with the time, we were happy with the turnout. It went according to plan.”

Augustana (S.D.), Winners, Men's Distance Medley Relay-College Division, 9:50.24. Augustana has won this event three-consecutive times. Final time is a school record.  

Tom Karbo, Jr., Anchor
On the race
: "My teammates were in the lead when I got the baton so I just tried to just tried to maintain and make sure no one passed me. After Wayland Baptist caught me after the first 300 I just tried to keep up and the last 100 meters I was able to kick it and win the race."

On running the Blue Oval: "It is fun. In my country we don't run a lot of relays so it is fun to come here and compete in the relays events."

On the victory lap: "It doesn't get old. The last two times we ran the lap right away and I was so tired. This time I need to enjoy it a little more."

Oklahoma Baptist, Winners, Women's 4x800 Relay-College Division, 9:03.45  
Nikita Tracy, SO; Halie Herbert, FR; Shondia Drew, SR; Hannah Helker, FR 

Hannah Helker, Fr., Anchor:
On the race: "We knew our first leg would get out. We wanted our second two to keep it in there so that I would have a chance. My coach tells me to be patient and wait for it, but I can't do that. She was pretty far out, but I caught up to her and said 'if I just stay here I will be fine.' I was able to kick it in the end. With 200 meters so I decided to kick. I got a lot of lactic acid built up and it tightened and I just hoped she wouldn't catch me."

On upcoming events, season: "In about 20 minutes I have the sprint medley and I have to run another 800. As a team, we are wanting nationals. We lost by half a point at indoor nationals. We are really motivated to win." 

Friday Quotes

Lolo Jones Press Conference (Friday, April 27, 2012)
Good afternoon. I want to welcome everyone here to the press conference. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase what you already know is one of the most phenomenal athletes that ever graced the Blue Oval, and that is Lolo Jones. It's good for me to be here with here. She has been just great in terms of her willingness to come home and to treat her fans to her presence. It's also good, as always to have Asics on board and to provide such great athletes like they provided to track and field events so far. Certainly, this is Lolo's time and I'm glad that she's here and we are looking forward to what the rest of the weekend will bring. I will move out of your way and allow you to have full access to Lolo Jones.

On what she's doing this weekend: "I always come to Drake to compete and I'm just looking forward to it. Drake Relays always means a lot to me. I have my dad driving in from Brit, Iowa. I'm just looking forward to having my first race back out there after so much has gone on. With my coach, we've been talking about Drake Relays for months now and it's always been 'let's see how the weather is, let's see how you're feeling and make the decision the day of'. But, you know, my goal was always to come back and run. It's a great atmosphere to run in and it's a really good track to get a first race in just because the crowd gives you that little bit of extra adrenaline that you normally wouldn't have in the US. So, I'm just really looking forward to running."

On the injury early in the year: "I had just a small hiccup, you know, a hamstring is a typical injury for a track athlete, so just recovering from that and ... yeah I feel like I'm a hundred percent, legs tested, just..."

On what would make tomorrow a no go: "Cold. Cold is not good for hamstrings. Cold, rain, cold rain mixture, obviously. I can't control the weather, but I can't. I just focus on what I can control and that's just going out there, warming up, and keeping communication with my coach. My coach, actually, he's the one that has all the pressure, so."

On her definition of cold: "I'm from Iowa yes, but I'm not Rocky and I'm not trying to run in snow here. I have lived a life of luxury now in training in Louisiana, where its 110 degrees, so. You've seen me run here, I've run in conditions close to snow and I was injured and I was out for the rest of the year. So I think what a lot of people, fans, have already... when I made the announcement to run, a lot of people were like 'we're cautious of you doing so because it is an Olympic year and we would rather see you run at the Olympics than the Drake Relays, but we want to see you at both'. So, I will do my best to do both. We'll go out there, warm-up and that's all I can do."

On the Roosevelt track team: "I missed most of them. I heard about them breaking records in, I think, my record from last year has vanished. I love to see Roosevelt having great success on the track. What alumni wouldn't? I shouldn't give them advice now since they're winning. If they were losing, then maybe I'd give them some advice."

On preparing for the Olympics: "There's two things different from the last Olympics. This Olympics, I'm being more cautious in where I, you know, I'm trying to travel all around the world and beat up my body. Im definitely being more cautious in my preparation and what races I'll run in. Second, I think last Olympics I put a lot of emphasis on the Olympic Trials and I peaked there and the Olympics semi-final. Now that I've been to the Olympics and I've tasted that experience, my huge goal is obviously medal, bring home a medal."

On a potential Olympic medal: "I wouldn't say to validate my career with an Olympic medal, but I mean, as a track and field athlete that's our goal and there's not a higher goal than having an Olympic medal. I have World Indoor medals, US Championship medals, I have the American record, but I would really like to have that Olympic medal on my resume, who wouldn't."

On going from Roosevelt to professional through the years at Drake Relays: "I had no clue that I would even run my first pro race back at the Drake Relays. It's kind of overwhelming when you think about that. I thought for sure that I loved running and I had great moments in high school. I knew that there were pro runners who came back and I never really visualized, or maybe I just didn't think I would be on that elite level. It's crazy how things have transpired and its awesome to have this meet. There are rare meets in this country that know this much about track and field and can provide this atmosphere. We go to places all around the world and you guys are competing with places like Germany, Switzerland, Monte Carlo, like that's how high of an honor I feel it is to compete at Drake Relays."

On Drake hosting NCAA's, USA's, and maybe more: "We'll I just hope they grab it an embrace it as much as they embrace the Drake Relays. I think that's one of the reasons why (USA) track and field decided to have their national championships here because they saw that people just love Drake Relays and they are hoping to get that same atmosphere for the national championship. I think it would be a unique opportunity to see how... you get a taste of the stadium at Drake Relays, but if you come to a National Championship event, you have every elite athlete that is representing team USA in an Olympics or World Championship competing. I really think it's a win-win for both. The athletes are really going to love it and obviously, I really hope the citizens of Iowa really enjoy the show we're about to put on."

Minnesota, Winners, Men’s 4x800 M Relay, 7:19.02. Minnesota defended their 2011 4x800 Drake Relays Championship with the same team members competing in both years.  

Travis Burkstrand, JR, 3rd Leg
On the race: “We felt really good. We knew coming in we were the team to gun for. We knew Arkansas was coming up and Baylor and Notre Dame. We knew there was going to be four or five good teams that were going to be here all gunning for us so we knew we had to kick it out hard. We knew we had the four best legs together so we knew as a team we could go out there and win it. We just tried to go out there and make out lead bigger for our anchor leg.

Harun Abda, JR, Anchor
On his leg of the race: “It wasn’t really too hard. They gave me a big lead so it wasn’t hard to keep it up. I just kept going.”

Brede Ellingsen, SR, Arkansas, Winner, Men’s High Jump, 7-01 3/4

On winning the high jump at the Drake Relays: “It’s my first time coming here, but I have a teammate (Noah Kittelson) who’s from here and he’s been talking about the Drake Relays forever. Honestly, I didn’t know how big of an event this was before coming here but now I know. It is one of the biggest events I have ever won.”

On the high jumpers in the Southeastern Conference: “The SEC is a really good track conference. The high jump lately has been really great. It wasn’t a really good conference for the high jump, but the past three years it has become very competitive.”

On how the weather helped him: “I’m from Norway and I am kind of used to this cold, windy weather. I think I had an advantage there. It does get tough when there are a lot of people in the competition, and it keeps getting colder. But luckily the crowd was there to help us out and get the adrenaline pumping.”

Notre Dame, Winners, 4x800 Meter Relay, 8:35.89. Notre Dame’s time was the best in the US outdoors this season.

Rebecca Tracy, JR, Anchor
On the race strategy: “I just… I knew I had to keep running right through the line. I just hoped if I just keep going, maybe I’ll go past her. There was definitely a point in time where I thought ‘I can’t make up this distance, it’s only an 800’. But, I just kept closing hard and I caught her.”

On the weather: “It’s a little chilly. I only felt the wind once, so I just put my head down and kept going.”

On running at Drake: “This is my first time here ever, so it’s exciting to get a win on the first time out.”

Arkansas, Winners, Men’s 4x200 M Relay, 1:22.27

Akheem Gauntlett, Anchor
On Coach Chris Bucknam (Former UNI track and field coach): “It feels good, to be honest. Coach has always been doing stuff for us. I know it’s a little pride thing going [for him] so it feels good to do it for him.”

Marek Niit, 2nd Leg
On the weather: “The race was pretty bad because of the wind. It’s not too hot either so I’m a little numb.”

On the race: “Today was kind of just a warm up for tomorrow’s 4x4.”

Shanay Briscoe, SO, Texas, Winner Women’s High Jump, 6-0 1/2     

On preparing to jump: “I wanted to make sure I had my steps right. I have to stay warm. When I was waiting I would run up and down the field. I made sure I kept my feet warm and I think that was a key. I had on a t-shirt and two jackets, but when I would jump I just wore my uniform. Some of them had on tights, but I don’t like to wear them.”

On the event: “My steps were on, that was good. My technique was better than the last meet. That was an improvement. I’ve been working really hard. We had a couple meets at home that was windy, but this was cold and windy. I wanted to make every height on the first jump so I could keep my clothes on longer.”

On technique: “I have been working on trying not to be nervous. Sometimes I will get really nervous. I have been working on staying relaxed. I have been preparing myself before meets so I am relaxed at the meets. When you make the jumps on the first try it is not as nerve racking.”

On attempt to set record at 1.89 (6-2 ¼): “I really thought that was the winner. I jumped and I thought I just made it. On my last two I think I was trying too hard.”

Michael Viken, So., Eastern Illinois, Winner, Men's University/College Pole Vault, 17-08.50

On winning a Drake Relays title: "It was pretty exciting this year. Last year I came and I no heighted in great conditions and I was really frustrated with that. This year conditions were quite as great but the crowd is always in it and the higher level of competition with other vaulters really made a difference."

On his personal best: "My winning jump tied my personal best and that is pretty exciting in these conditions."

On competing in the windy conditions: It was a little bit harder. I brought my run in a little bit closer than I had in the past couple of weeks because the wind was all over the place. I just had to be patient back there and wait on a good wind and go with it.

University of Arkansas, winners, women's 4x200-meter relay, 1:34.11.

Whitney Jones, Sr., first leg
On her leg of the race: We didn't do as good as we wanted in the 4x400 so I knew we needed to get out for my team to win and so we could do our victory lap. I dug deep and got out. I kind of stumbled out of the turn a little bit but I composed myself pretty quickly."

Regina George, Jr., second leg
On her leg of the race: "I did good on my leg. Me and Whitney had a good exchange. I executed the race as well as possible. I knew the circumstances that we were in and I knew we just had to run.

Tiffany Hines, So., third leg
On her leg of the race: "I stumbled a little bit when I got the stick from Regina but we were able to get the stick through and I am glad we were able to redeem ourselves for the win. I couldn't have asked for anything else.

On running at the Relays: "My mom ran as a collegiate here, so it meant a lot to me to be able to run here also. It's a family tradition I guess."

Ivanique Kemp, Jr., anchor
On her leg of the race: "I just had to bring it home basically. My teammates handled everything they had to in the first three legs so I just had to finish hard.

On running at the Relays: "I enjoy running here when the weather is good.

Neil Flattery, Sr., St. Edmond, Winner, Boys 800 Meter Run, 1:55.18. Flattery set a new Drake Relays' record with his time Friday afternoon.

On his speed: "It felt fast because of the wind and cold. It felt faster than it was."

On the championship: "This is my last chance to get the Drake Relays championship, so it feels good."

On winning his race: "It felt awesome. Winning the Drake Relays was something that I've always wanted to do. It was one of my goals for the year and to finally do it, in front of all these fans, at Drake Stadium is just unbelievable."

On the Blue Oval: "In middle school I used to come here and watch my brothers run. I've been here before for state and Drake Relays."

Malcom Pennix, Jr., Missouri, Winner, Long Jump, 7.71.

On the weather: "It really didn't affect me too much, I like to have the wind with me. I usually like for it to be calm and sunny, but it wasn't that bad."

On his winning jump: "My longest jump wasn't that great. I felt like I jumped out instead of up. After that jump, my coach was trying to tell me to jump up, not out, but it just wasn't coming to me today."

On winning: "This is my first time competing here, my first championship, so I consider myself lucky."

Illinois State University, Women Distance Medley, winners, 11:19.14 (defending Missouri Valley Conference champions):

Jil Kerkman, Sr., First Leg
On winning the Medley at the Drake Relays: "I think it's really great. We come from a mid-major school and not too many people know about us at Illinois State. It's just really something special for us to go out and beat all these big-time schools and kind of make a name for ourselves. This year Aisha (Praught) is one of the top runners in the nation and with her and everyone else we have started making a name for Illinois State as a track program. We are just very excited to be able to show that here."

Aisha Praught, Sr., anchor leg
On feeling Nebraska's Ashley Miller coming after her off the last turn: "I could definitely feel her. She has some tremendous foot speed. I was pretty much running for my life at that point."

Boglarka Bozzay, Sr., Kansas State, Women's 800 Meter, 2:07.48 (Was a part of the Kansas State team that won the 4x800 relay last year at the Drake Relays):

On winning the 800 at the Drake Relays: "This feels great. Last year, my team (Kansas State) won the 4x800 and it was really exciting. I wanted to get this one."

On how the race shaped up: "I was hoping for a better time, but the conditions are not good. I thought I had the best kick, and it turned out that I did."

On being pinned down inside: "With 200 meters to go, I was locked in  and I was a little scared it was going to be hard to get out. I had to go to the very outside and that is usually not a very good move for me, but it ended up OK for me."

Kara Patterson, Asics, Women Javelin Throw, 185-07 (the official winner of the 2009 Javelin Throw at the Drake Relays while a member of Purdue University):

On what keeps bringing her back to the Drake Relays: "This place has a lot of nostalgia for me. I really enjoy Drake because I struggled the first couple of times I came here. Then to come back here and have success was a turning point for me. So it's nice to come back to a place where I saw improvement in my abilities."

On trying to throw in the strong winds: "This is literally the worst wind I have ever thrown in. You try to pretend that it is not a problem. Today, if I had a little better (weather) conditions it might have gone a little better. I had some good energy in some of those throws and then the wind just carried them out of sector. There is really not a whole lot you can do about that."

On what's next for her: "I'm going to Tucson Elite in Tucson, Arizona, May 17-19. Then I'll go overseas for a couple of meets and then come back for the New York Diamond League before the Olympic Trials at the end of June."

Morgan Wilken, Jr., University of Nebraska, Women Discus Throw, 183-06 (First win in three appearances at Drake Relays):

On winning the Discus at the Drake Relays: "This is a really big deal to me. This is my first big collegiate win, so I am very happy with how I threw today.

On the difficulty of throwing with windy conditions: "This wind can help you or hurt you, especially a headwind like this. I think it actually helped me on my first throw, but on my other throws I threw them too high and the wind pushed them down. It just depends on your release and the day. It might help somebody tomorrow, it might hurt them today. It just depends on how you throw it."

On the elite competition she faced: "I'm used to competing against the people I saw here today. There were a lot of Big 10 schools and a lot of Big 12 schools here. A lot of regional qualifiers were here, so I'm used to the people that I saw and I think it is good to compete against them before trying to get to Nationals. It is good to be exposed to them and it will help me down the road."

Iowa City West (Tavian Smith, Charles Rogers, Richard Bryant, Armando Williams), Winner High School Boys 4 x 200, 1:28.65

Armando Williams, Anchor
On the race: "I was waiting for the relay to get to me and then I took off. Been here four years and finally got the flag. We've been running with each since junior high school and we recruited him (Charles Rogers)."

Richard Bryant, third leg
On teammate Armando Williams: "He's (Williams) been working hard all season. Getting the flag here at the Drake Relays is a goal. I knew we had it when he got the baton."

Tim Nedow, Sr., DePaul, winner, men's college/university shot put, 64-7.25

On the competition: "It was a really intense meet. I wanted to go 20 (meters) today. I threw 20.51 indoors and that was what I wanted to beat. I got 19.69 on my last throw. It was good to see some of the ones that threw at indoor."

On the conditions: "All of my competitions have been like this. It should be better when we go to Florida for the Big East."

Jade Reibold, So., Eastern Illinois, winner, women's pole vault, 13-7.25. This was her third meet in seven days. She is a provisional qualifier for Olympic Trials on Tuesday. She cleared 14-1.75 at EIU Tuesday Tweener.

On jumping in the wind: "Sometimes when there is a tailwind it will help you, but when the wind came from the side I would just run through."

On preparing for competition: "I have had three meets in seven days. I competed Tuesday night and thought I might just rest at Drake, but the weather was so terrible today for pole vaulting. My coach just said "go out there and try."

On final jumps: "When I am by myself, I just try to relax and make the jumps."

Lydia Saggau, Jr., West Des Moines Valley, winner, girls 800-meter run, 2:12.07

On what it means to get this championship: "It means everything to say the least. It has been 365 days of hard workouts to get this and it's nice when it all pays off.

On the race: "We went out fast, the first lap was four or five seconds faster than planned but you know when you get in the last lap it is kind of a gut race for that last 400.

On running in the 800 vs. other distances: "The 800 is my favorite race to run because it is short enough that you don't get bored and it is long enough that you can break it down in your head and enjoy it."

Missouri, 4 x 1600, champions, 16:47.87
(Dan Quigley, Jr.; Kyle Rood, Sr..; Max Storms, Jr.; Ricky West, Jr.);

Ricky West, Anchor
On move on final lap: "I felt really good. I felt really fresh. I had not run for three weeks since LSU. I thought if it was going to go slow I knew I would have the closing speed to win it. If it was going fast then I felt I had the fitness to close in with my four minutes or better. I felt really confident coming in to today."

On wind, strategy: "Originally I was going to lead off initially, but then we switched Dan and I. We thought if it came down to leg speed I would have that. Last night coach (Joey Lynn) said there would be a really strong wind. It made me kind of nervous."

Destani Welch, Sr., Des Moines Roosevelt, winner high school girls 100 hurdles; 14.92. Welch is a four-year Drake Relays qualifier and this is her first win.

On the race: "I knew it was going to come down to a lean. The race didn't go as I planned it to go. I had a bad start and knew it would be a fight to the finish. I knew it was going to be great competition."

On the conditions: "I wished it would have rained because it would have freaked everybody else out and I could just run. So for me the weather was perfect."

On Roosevelt's appearance at Drake: "It's been slower, more patient. We have worked on getting our handoffs right and getting our techniques right. I was practicing handoffs the other day and I wanted to keep doing it and keep doing it, but coach said no. Things are going to happen in their time."

On Drake: "I have come here and finished second and I really wanted to win my senior year. I qualified in the hurdles all three years."

Erin Hawkins, Sr., Des Moines Roosevelt, Winner 4x200, Anchor Leg, 1:41.66 (Relays record; Hawkins third title of the day and sixth overall in her Drake Relays history).

On why she and Roosevelt have such success at this track: "It's pretty. It's blue. I don't know, I just think it is the stadium and all the supporters in the stands that is very helpful. I love running with these girls and we have such a great support system and it's just fun. It just seems to all come together here."

On what pushes the team to keep getting better: "Roosevelt has a great legacy when we talk to each other about Lolo (Jones) and Kim Carson. I want to be among that and just have fun. We would love to do what they did if we can. We have to work hard and the competition within our team is crazy so all of that keeps us motivated.

On feeling the pressure of expectations: "I don't really feel any pressure because I know we can live up to it. It hurts and it's hard sometimes, but to us it is more motivation than pressure."

Stipe Zunic, So., University of Florida, Winner, Men's Javelin, 244-09:

On winning at the Drake Relays: "This feels great. Last year when I was here, the weather was also bad with the windy conditions. I went to the finals and only threw 61 meters. Finally, I have started to learn to throw in all wind conditions and it feels really good to be a winner here.

On throwing into the strong crosswind: "This bad weather is really hard for bigger throws. We all are trying to reach 80 meters or more, but we really need to have nice conditions to make that happen. I believe I was ready for much more today. I think you would have seen bigger throws from everyone if the weather would have been a bit better."

On how the win sets him up for the rest of the season: "I have (Southeastern Conference) Championships pretty soon and the weather there should be fine. I really hope that I will hit the 80 meter mark because I know I'm ready. I still don't believe I've hit my prime yet and I know I can still grow to throw a big number."

Erin Hawkins, SR, Des Moines Roosevelt, Winner, 100 Meter Dash, 12.67. Hawkins was the 2011 100 meter dash champion. In 2011, Hawkins also earned the championship title in the 4x100 and 4x200. Friday morning, Hawkins anchored for the Sprint Medley Relay to bring home her fourth Drake title. The 100 meter dash win is her fifth Drake Relays title. Hawkins competes Friday in the 4x200 and Saturday in the 4x100.

On running side by side with her teammates: "I think we were all kind of expecting that. It feels normal for us because of how close we are in practice every day. It's great competition, I love being with them and every body works hard so we all deserve to be there. "

On her teammates: "Really, we say 'good luck' at the beginning of the race, we say 'good job' at the end of the race, but everything that happens in between is up to each person. It's great competition."

On running as a team with the same teammates she just competed against: "We run the 4x100 and 4x200 later today. If the wind cools down, we should be able to beat the records we set in those two events last year. We weren't able to do that in the sprint medley, but if we put on the track the practice we've done, we should be able to do it."

On her teammates:  "In practice we are so close. We are really more like sisters than teammates. We can talk to each other about anything. That helps the competition, it helps us work harder in practice and it's fun, but it's hard. I love it and wouldn't really want it any other way right now."

On her fifth Drake Relays title:  "For me personally, I won three at Drake Relays last year. This makes two for today and hopefully two more after that. It's kind of unbelievable."

Tia Brooks, JR, Oklahoma, Winner, Shot Put, 18.47. Brooks was the defending champion in the shot put competition. Brooks broke the Drake Relays record for the shot put four different times on the way to her final record-breaking throw of 18.47.

On breaking the Drake Relays record: "I honestly didn't know. I just saw the officials pulling out the steel tape and all the coaches yelling, but I thought it was because it's cold, you know. I didn't even know what the record was coming into the meet, I just wanted to defend my title and win again. To do that is amazing."

On the weather: "You just have to adjust to the conditions. I definitely layered up a lot more than I usually do at meets because I like to be really warm when I compete, so I had on five shirts, so I kept warm enough."

On her throws: "I have to be my own competition and be inside my own head and just try to throw as far as I could possibly throw. I don't worry about anyone else or worry about any particular number. I just throw and see how far I could go today. It's an outdoor PR for me, so it's pretty good."

On defending the title: "This is my favorite track. I love Drake. I loved Drake since my sophomore year. This has been my favorite track. Of course I'm going to come back next year, but I'm just going to take it meet by meet and see what happens."

On winning the girls discus at the Drake Relays: "It's a great accomplishment. It's huge for me. I worked hard for it and hoped it would pay off."

On having a distance in mind coming into the event: "I try not to set a distance for myself. I just try to throw what I can throw. That is what I continually tell myself."

On throwing into a difficult wind: "I had a tough time (with the wind) at the beginning. Luckily, on my last throw the wind died down a little bit and I was working on keeping it a little lower so it wouldn't catch in the wind. I wanted to keep it flat so it would stay under the wind."

Tyler Donels, Sr., Southeast Polk, Winner, Boys 110-Hurdles, 14.41. Donels won the event in 2011 in 14:38.

About the race: "I don't remember a whole lot about the race. I don't think I ran too clean but when it came close to the end I ran quite a bit."

On winning at the Relays again: "It feels pretty good, I don't really know how to describe it."

James Harrington, Sr., Cedar Falls, Winner, boy's 100-meter dash, new Relays record of 10.63. This is the third-consecutive win for Harrington in this this event and he is one of three individuals to achieve that mark.

On breaking the record: "It feels great. It was a lot of hard work contributed to this record from teammates pushing me in practice to coach getting me ready to peak at the right time. I am just happy to come out here and run. It was decent weather, better than we thought it would be."

On the race: "I felt like everything went well from the start to the finish."

On running at Drake: "I love this track. It is a great environment and a great place to run and I am just grateful I can run here."

On coming back to the Drake Relays as a member of the Alabama track team: "I saw my coach from Alabama right before I ran the race and we are coming back next year, so I will be back next year."

On winning flags at the Drake Relays: "It definitely never gets old. Every flag is very valuable to me. All those flags weren't just me, they were other great runners in the Relays and I owe a lot to them too."

Jared Schoelermann, Sr., Clay Central, Winner, High Jump, 6-7

On competing and winning at the Drake Relays: "It is amazing, the atmosphere is just wonderful, to have a big crowd here watching you."

On the weather: "In the beginning it was a little cold but later on the sun came out and it was really nice, it really helped my jump."

On the competition: "I haven't competed against of these guys before and I think there was a lot of great competition here today."

Des Moines Roosevelt, Winners, 800 Sprint-Medley Relay, 1:46.20

Erin Hawkins, Sr., Anchor
On making their mark on the Drake Relays: "It feels great because I know we all worked very hard and it feels great. We are all so close and we all work hard to it just feels really great to push through the pain and make it happen.

On competing against teammates Agnes Sayeh and Jaylynn Roberts Lewis in the finals of the 100-meter dash: "It will be really good because we are all pretty close in practice so getting out here and actually competing against each other will be good and hopefully we can take the sweep."

Agnes Sayeh, Jr., Third Leg
On the yellow ribbons they are wearing on their uniforms
: "We are wearing them for a friend of a friend, we had to do this for her and for everybody that has committed suicide."

Cedar Rapids-Washington, champions, 1600 Sprint Medley, 3:30.16. This is Cedar Rapids-Washington's first sprint medley relay win at the Drake Relays since 1975.

Nicolas Corbett, JR, 3rd Leg
On his leg: "My plan in the 400 is usually to just kind of kick as fast as possible. Especially in the medley, I try to get out as fast as I can and build a cushion for myself and then just maintain it. I just push through as much as I can and get there as fast as I can."

On the championship:  "I was hoping. It was one of those things for me, track, freshman year was nothing and now, to have this Drake Championship flag... nothing gets better than that."

Robert Hogg, SR, Anchor. Hogg ran his anchor leg (800 M) in 1:53.1.

On the Cedar Rapids-Washington track team:  "We are so lucky we've got a great track program. (Alex) Carr is such a great runner, a great athlete and we live off that, it breeds success. We've basically reloaded every year and we've got talent up and down. We're just trying to keep it going."

Jalynn Roberts-Lewis, SO, Des Moines Roosevelt, Winner, Long Jump, 17-9.5. As a sophomore, the long jump is Roberts-Lewis' third Drake Relays title. Watch for her to be a contender in sprints and the long jump throughout the weekend.

On winning another Drake title:  "I was very excited. This is my first individual Drake Relays title. I won last year in the 4x100 and 4x200. Hopefully we get it again in the 4x100 and 4x200 this weekend."

On her competition schedule this weekend:  "I am running six times today, so I'll be out there a lot. I've been running since I was five, so I'm used to it and am ready for it."

On her jumps:  "I just kept going farther and farther. My dad was like 'Jalynn, you have to get 18'. My last jump, I didn't quite make it but, that's okay. Hopefully by state, I'll get to 18."

Shaquille Wells, Jr., Urbandale, Winner of high school boys shot put, 55-5.5 on second throw in the prelims, Personal Record (previous was 53-3 at Jim Duncan)

On throwing in the cold and wind:  "It was pretty nice. I think the warm-up part means more to me. You can't blame anything on the weather. It's all about your heart. I threw 53 at the Jim Duncan in similar weather so I thought okay; why not throw one even better."

On the winning throw:  "It was my furthest, my PR. My second furthest was 53-3. It was scary in the finals when guys started popping off 54s. I knew I had to do something to keep or hoped it kept in the number one place."

On being a Drake champion:  "It feels really good. I had never qualified before. My first time qualifying and I won it. I always wanted to be here. I have worked hard and tried to do my best and I thank all my coaches for helping me do my best."

Thursday Quotes

Obsie Birru, Sr., Grand View University, Winner, Women's 10, 000 Meter Run, 35:50.21. Birru won the Drake Relays 10,000 meter run in 2010. Birru is originally from Ethiopia, moved to the United States, and attended Johnson high school before attending Grand View University

On the race:  "Today was just to go out there and see what I can do, maybe run a PR, run in the top five. I have not had that many great races this outdoor season, so I wanted to just sit."

On winning her second Drake title:  It's exciting. I never thought it would happen."

On running the Blue Oval again:  "It never gets old. It's the Blue Oval, it will never get old to me. I hope to come back here some day after my collegiate years and hopefully someday come back and do it again. I'll cross my fingers for next year."

On the pressure of running at Drake for what could be the last time:  "I thought about it and the more and more I thought about it, its more and more sad to me. Drake is home and it's exciting, but I put a little bit of pressure on myself, no one else really put any pressure on me. I thought, just go out have a great race and see what I can do and it happened."

On winning her second Drake Relays title:  "It means so much to me, like you said, being from Iowa. I came to the Drake Relays for the first time in eighth grade and was just overwhelmed, like 'Wow, I can't wait to be out there running'. Drake means so much to me."

Colin Mickow, Sr., University of Illinois, Men 10,000 Meter Run Invitational, 29:48.72. Mickow's twin brother Hunter won the 10,000 in 2010.

On winning the Men 10000 Meters at the Drake Relays: "It's a nice feeling. It is the first Drake Relays race I've won. I was second a couple of years ago in the 5000 meters, so I definitely wanted to win this one. My twin brother (Hunter) won the 10000 meters two years ago, so I definitely had to win. I didn't want him holding that over my head."

On his decision to try and sprint away from the pack with 1600 meters to go: "It felt like we were just cruising the whole time until I finally went. I was not sure if somebody was going to go with me. They stuck with me for a little while, but I just kept hammering and ended up putting them away."

Amanda Dunne, Unattached, Winner, Women's 5,000 Meter Run University/College, 16:15.33. Bales, age 29, graduated from Pleasant Valley High School (Bettendorf, IA) in 2001 and Missouri in 2006. She won the Drake Relays high school 800 in 2000 and 2001, and the 4x1600 relay in 2002 at Missouri.

On winning the Drake Relays:  "My goal was not really to win the Drake Relays today. I wanted to try and run 16 minutes. My splits and pace were geared for running 16 minutes or little bit under. It's always fun to be at the Drake Relays and just to be back here feels full circle and I love it."

On running after college and making a comeback:  "I came back in December after four years to get into the trials. It's a crazy long shot, but I had to try it. It's a different perspective then when you are in college. You are doing so many things with a job, being married and having a daughter. It's a little different, but it has been nice."        

Jessica Engel, Sr., Oklahoma, 2nd Place, Women's 5,000 Meter Run University/College, 16:20.80.

On competing in the 5000 meters at the Drake Relays: "I wanted to run the 16:15 range and that was my main focus. I am happy with the overall results. I love to win.  I felt I let the front row go too much and I could not close the gap overall. It was the goal to come out today and win. It was a big confidence booster."Anthony Rotich (Row-teach), Fr., UTEP, Winner, 5,000 Meter Run, 13:57.09. Rotich, from Kenya, set a new personal record in the first run of the 5,000.

Daniel Gooris, Jr., University of Northern Iowa, Winner, Men's Decathlon, 7624 points, Won Decathlon by 200 points over second place Aaron Young, Wichita St.

"I live in Texas, but am from Kenya. I have been here about 60 days.""This was a PR and first time I have run the 5,000, my first time at Drake. I was really running the 5,000 for some speed work. I just ran and gained my confidence. I just felt so good."

"Coach said 'top five and sit'. Throughout the race I didn't know what to do. I have a tendency to go really early on and then die down. I really did not want that to happen today. We kept clipping each other. Morgan (Place, Minnesota-Duluth) is a fierce competitor and a good friend of mine It was nice for my last time out here at a track I consider my home, to come out and run such a composed race. Drake is a very special track to me.""This was a lot different just because it's Drake. It just means so much to me because I grew up here in Des Moines and running at Drake has always been a special place."

On competing with those athletes using the decathlon events as training: "It actually helped me a lot. In the hurdles, Jake Arnold is a great world hurdler. When he got out of the blocks I was right with him. He maybe was doggin' it but I said I was on fire and ended up PR-ing (personal record) huge."

On winning a Drake Relays championship: "It hasn't sunk in yet. I know winning has been a UNI tradition for a while and I wanted to keep it going. I wanted to do well and get a big score. That was on my mind all the time. I am really about this. This is my PR by over 200 points."

On competing at Nationals: "I should be really close right now. I should have a ticket to go back home to Drake."

Derek Seddon, Sr., Knoxville High School, Boys Discus, 172-02. Seddon is a Knoxville High School record holder in discus and set personal bests of 171-04 in prelims and 172-02 in finals.

On winning at the Drake Relays: "It is really indescribable. I came here last year and got fourth, and ever since then I have just pushed and pushed as hard as I can. I've done everything I needed to and it paid off today. I have dreamed about this ever since middle school and it's finally here."

On setting his season best throw at the Drake Relays: "My best ever throw was my last throw at (IHSAA State Championships), it was 166-08 and I set the school record. Then my first throw this year I broke that record and since then I have been really hungry to keep improving."

Alexis Conaway, So., MOC-Floyd Valley, Winner, High School Girls High Jump, 5-10. Conaway jumped her personal best at the Drake Relays on Thursday afternoon

On jumping with competition: "It was really exciting. We all got out there and there was a lot of good jumpers out there so I knew it would be tough. I am a competitive person so I like someone pushing me at meets. I like to keep a calm face. I know I know what to do. I just have to focus."

On her progression of jumps: "When you jump you have good jumps and bad jumps. I had my share of those. I knew I could overcome those bad jumps and get it on the next ones. The higher up we got I got more confident."

On coaching comments between jumps: "She (Lori Wolf) just knows how to calm me down and told me to adjust my back a little bit and some little reminders about my jumping."

On her jumping style: "I always prepare myself before I jump. I don't need a lot of time standing there rocking. I like to go out there, get ready and jump."

On having a busy weekend: "I am going to run in the 4x100 on Friday night, then head home for prom on Saturday and a volleyball tournament on Sunday. In my spare time I will study."

Alexa Hunt, Jr., Des Moines Roosevelt, Winner, Shot Put, 42-3.75. Hunt is the first Des Moines Roosevelt athlete to win the shot put in the Drake Relays. She out-threw her competitors by more than a foot.

On her lead going into finals:  "It felt really good, but I didn't want to get too comfortable. I got a little antsy when the other girls started popping 41's, but I felt secure enough in my throw."

On her winning throw:  "It felt pretty good, but I didn't know if it would be enough. I just had to wait and see."

On winning Drake Relays as a junior:  "I wanted to hold up the Roosevelt tradition of winning here, but I tried to not think about it too much. Now that I have the win, it feels great and I can't wait to come back and defend my title next year."

Darius Pearson, Sr., Sioux City West, Winner, Boys Long Jump, 22-11.5. Pearson won the event on the third jump. Pearson finished fourth in the 2011 Drake Relays and was third the 4A state track meet in 2011.

On the third jump: "I went over and talked to my coach before the jump. We talked about getting in the air and jumping up, so that's what I did, simple as that."

On maintaining the lead during the finals:  "You always have to be prepared no matter what. My goal was to get 23 feet. I just kept jumping trying to get 23 feet. I hope I can get it next time. I am still excited that I got the chance to win this meet."

Lucas Manring, Sr., Central Methodist, Winner, Men's 800-meter run, 1:50.37

On how the race felt:  "It was actually a pretty rough race all the way through. I raced last weekend at the Kansas Relays and pushed really hard in that race.  I was hoping to break 1:50 today but with all of the scratches it was pretty difficult."

On being a Drake Relays champion:  "It feels really good. It's my senior season and my second year running at Drake Relays so I'm just happy to bring home a win."

On what's left this season:  "I'll run in the NAIA National Championships and I'm hoping to drop a couple of seconds and go to the USA Championships to get some experience running there."

Rebekah Topham, Fr., Griswold, Winner, Girl's 3000-meter run, 9:58.39

On how the race felt:  "The race went well. I was surprised I broke 10 minutes."

On running under 10 minutes:  "That's the first time I've run under 10 minutes, which is exciting. I was coming down the home straightaway, keeping an eye on the clock and hoping to break 10 minutes.

On being a Drake Relays champion:  "I've run here before at the AAU Nationals in 2009 and at the Jim Duncan meet this year against college girls, but winning at the Drake Relays is really exciting."

Cole Decker, Sr., Dowling Catholic, Winner, Boy's 3200-meter run, 9:08.96

On the last lap:  "My legs have never felt like that. Now I know what a kick feels like. I knew he (Matt Butler) was coming up on me and I had to hang on. I never have that great of a kick. I gave it all I had. I usually get passed at the end."

On having three teammates in the race:  "It was better having three teammates in the race. I had people to train with. We could warm up and cool down as a team."

University of Iowa, Winners, Women's 4x1600 Meter Relay, 19:16.73

Betsy Flood, Sr., First Leg
On the experience she has running on this track: "Well, it's my eighth year now at the Drake Relays so I know it pretty well. I have raced here more than on any other track, so it was fun to win this race because it has been a while."

On winning at the Drake Relays: It was fun. I was actually just thinking that my first time I ever won here in high school was my senior year in the 4x800, so I thought this was going to be our day again."

Jackie Laesch, Sr., Second Leg
On the plan to stay with the lead pack throughout the race:  "I think we sort of got a feel for the race and knew it was pretty slow, so from then on I think all of us were pretty comfortable in front."

Megan Ranegar, Jr., Third Leg
On the strategy for the race:  "We knew we had to be close to the front on every leg, so we decided to go out there and just lead and use our kick at the end."

McKenzie Melander, Sr., Anchor
On winning the University of Iowa's first ever women 4x1600 at the Drake Relays: "It feels pretty good. Three of us are seniors (Melander, Flood, Laesch) so we kind of waited a long time for this."

On feeling the pressure of the University of Minnesota on the final lap:  "For the most part I really didn't know where (Minnesota sophomore Laura Doeherty) was for most of the race, but I knew I needed to keep going on and finish as fast I can."

On finally being able to beat Minnesota in this race:  "We have always been really close with them. Almost every year it has been a battle. We knew we were right in there and had just as good a shot as they did."

On crossing the finish line in first place:  "It was kind of a sigh of relief. Everybody was excited because we have waited four years for this. It is a great achievement knowing that every one of us did all we could to win this race."

Peaches Roach Findley
Won the heptathlon tallying 5,709 points during the two-day event. She had the lead after the first day of action and never looked back. Roach Findlay was a five-time Big Ten champion in the high jump and a four-time All-American while at Iowa.

On overall heptathlon performance:  "Overall, I definitely won't complain about any of my performances over these past two days. I could ask for more in some events. Looking at the score sheet, I see I'm lacking in the long jump and javelin. But I'm pleased with my performance. I'm pleased I could come out here, compete and walk off this track healthy. I'm definitely looking forward to bigger and better performances to make that Olympic qualifying mark."

 

On being a Drake Relays champion: It feels good. I've been third at this meet, and I've been second. Today, I'm a champion and it feels great."

 

On the heptathlon 800: Normally if my coach was here, we would have mapped it out and figured out exactly what time I needed. But he wasn't so I knew all I needed to do was beat Olympia Nowak or at least stay as close to her as possible. I knew that I was 49 points ahead of her before the final event, so my game plan was very simple. Beat her or stay as close to her as possible. I definitely had to keep my eyes on the scoreboard. I patiently waited for the final scores to come on the scoreboard."

 

On qualifying for Olympics: "I'm about 250 points from the B standard, and about 450 points from the A standard. It sounds like a lot but I can look at the score sheet from today and tell you exactly where those points are going to come from. For me, now it's just about getting back to the drawing board and coming out stronger on the first day and finishing strong on day two."

Bryan Clay

"We really are coming out just to kind of get our legs underneath us and get ready for U.S. Champs. Right now, with U.S. Champs being as close as it is, we've got our training set up and we didn't want to come out of this weekend and sacrifice a bunch of training weeks to get a full decathlon score in. "We know where we are in terms of things like 300s in practice, so we know we're fit. I know I can run a 400. I'm probably going to run a 400 next week. I just opened up last week in the javelin and threw 69.85 (meters), so those types of events we kind of already know we're going to do OK in. So really for me the big question mark in my head was coming out here and getting in a 100, which we did, and it went well, and just seeing how I fare through four events and seeing how my legs feel at the end of it. I think we accomplished everything we came out to do.

"In terms of goals and hitting marks that we wanted to hit, the 100 we did great, right where we wanted to be. The long jump, I was coming from a short approach, seven steps, so it wasn't quite what I wanted to be. I didn't actually touch the board when I jumped, so I think there's a bigger jump there as we fine tune. Shot put was fine. It was 15 meters and some change. That's a good solid throw. I think there's definitely bigger throws there. And high jump was right exactly what I was hoping to jump. I didn't want to jump anything under 1.99, 2 meters, that's what we were able to get. High jump, I think there's bigger jumps there. It's just a matter of just fine tuning things. I think all in all it was good solid day. We'll go home, come back tomorrow and get a few more events tomorrow."

"We kind of came out to have fun, come up and support ASICS as an ASICS athlete."

He signed with ASICS this year after being associated Nike
"It's been great. We've been having a great time. It's nice to feel like you're part of a family. It's kind of nice not just feeling like you're a number. It's nice to walk into rooms, walk into places and have people know who you are and come up and shake your hand and notice that you're there. So it's been an absolute blessing to be with them. They're supporting me 100 percent on the track as well as off the track. I think the future looks bright for everybody."

Kurt Schneider, Jr., Michigan State.Olympic gold medalist in 2008. Competed in first four events, did not run the 400 but will compete in some events Thursday. Held a 190-point lead in the competition through four events."Actually, I feel pretty darn good. A little tired right there toward the end of the high jump, but that's normal. I feel better than I thought I was going to, so that's always a plus. It's a little warm, a little bit humid, taking into account all those things I feel pretty good. I'm happy with the way I performed. The meet, of course, is as smooth as ever. This is really a great facility. They did a phenomenal job flipping the 100 around so we were able to run with a tailwind instead of having to run into a nasty headwind, and you don't get that kind of treatment at most places. So a big round of applause for everybody here at Drake because they've done a phenomenal job so far with the meet."

First day leader in the decathlon with 3,996 points. A junior, he enrolled at Michigan State as a high jumper before getting into the decathlon. This was his second decathlon. His first was at Drake last year, when he finished ninth with 6,641 points. He finished first in the high jump and long jump and third in the 100.

On competing in a meet with the Olympic gold medalist: "That's great having him here. I mean, how often do you compete against the best in the world in your event? Ninety-nine percent of people would never get that opportunity. It's an honor to be able to compete against him. He just pushes you to be better just being around him."

Can you see what makes him good? "Even his approach to this meet, even though it's just a practice meet for him, he's still extremely focused warming up, as serious as everyone else. That means a lot to the rest of us, too, the fact he's taking this seriously even though he's just doing this for practice."

On your performance today: "The decathlon is a roller coaster, has its ups and downs. I'm happy with my 100, PR'd by about a quarter of a second. Long jump a little beneath my PR, but I'm happy with anything over 7.20 (meters). Shot, not my best. It's probably my worst event overall, but I usually throw a little better than that (38-2 1/4). I'm definitely happy with my high jump. It's my first time going 7-plus in a decathlon. It definitely gets you a few points. The 400, I just a little tired. I hit the wind around the second turn and just ran into a wall. You win some, you lose some."

First Day Heptathlon Leader Peaches Roach-Findlay, a Jamaican who attended the University of Iowa and continues to train in Iowa City. Five-time Big Ten high jump champion, four-time All-American. Finished Iowa career in 2007. First day score: 3,611 points, 190 ahead of second-place Olimpia Nowak of Northern Iowa. This is her first heptathlon of the year. She had the best high jump among the 10 competitors and the fastest 200. She had the third-best throw in the shot and the second-fastest time in the 100 hurdles. Nowak had the best hurdles time and Make Alcide of Arkansas had the top throw in the shot. Alcide is third in the overall standings. Roach was second in the 2009 Drake Relays heptathlon, third in 2008

General comment on her performance: "It went well. I'm really happy with my performance. Just very grateful to be out here. I can't event go into detail as to how grateful I am. Just really happy to be out here, really happy to be taking it one event at a time. I've seen some major improvement today, so I'm just grateful. I cannot emphasize that enough."

On training at Iowa: "I still get great support from everyone at the university. I had a great experience at Iowa. I definitely can't complain about the four years I spent there."

A little warm today? "Oh no, no, no. Excellent. This is great. I'll take heat any day over cold. It's OK. I hope it's like this tomorrow.

Best second day event? "It varies. We'll see. Hopefully they're all great events tomorrow. I just need to come out with the same attitude which I did today, just take it one event at a time and get going."

On competing at Drake Relays: "It's always good to know at least you're getting publicity. I'm always excited to compete at the great Relays. It's a great meet, great atmosphere, they have some of the best supporters in the world. It's a pleasure and an honor to be able to compete here."

Any particular event worked on this year? "I'm famously weak in the throws, so I have been working on that. I've been working on it three years. Shot put finally showed improvement today. I'm really happy about that." (Had a personal heptathlon best in the shot put of 38 feet)

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