Amidst all the Drake Relays activities spread out over the course of the week, there still will be the main event taking place on the blue oval in Drake Stadium.
Some of the best athletes from across the world will be putting their talents on display as they look to capture a Drake Relays championship.
The Drake throwers will look to continue riding this season’s success into the meet. The men will be led by school-record holding sophomores Isaac Twombly and Kevin Harp.
Harp set the school record for the javelin during the Tom Botts Invitational in Columbia, Mo., on April 9 with a heave of 205 feet, 2 inches. Twombly broke his own school record in the hammer throw last Saturday at the Musco Twilight in Iowa City. His latest toss flew 166 feet, 8 inches, knocking off his 2010 record by two feet. Twombly also set a personal best in the discus throw.
Harp will be joined in the javelin by the talented freshman Phillip Beeler. Beeler and Harp have been pushing each other every day in practice to get to a high level.
“When you have somebody that is close with you, you push each other to the limit,” Beeler said. “You get good throws, and it’s always good to have somebody else. I don’t know how it would be to throw by yourself all the time. It could get stressful without someone there to help you.”
The new bleachers at the throwing pits allow for a great view of the field events.
“I don’t know if it will draw more people, but it definitely helps accommodate,” junior thrower Megan Pierce-Cramer said. “Relays is a lot fun because everyone is cheering for you even if they don’t know who you are. If you are associated with Drake, everybody comes and cheers for you.”
In other must-see field events, sophomore Dan Karys is putting up career figures in both the triple jump and long jump; senior Johanna Sprang is continuing to chase her school-record height of 12 feet in the pole vault; and senior Tyse Samani will be on the hunt for the collegiate high jump title.
Still, the Bulldogs aren’t shorthanded when it comes to the running events.
Junior Jon DeGrave has been chasing the school record of 50.77 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles all season. DeGrave placed fifth in the event at the Drake Relays last season.
“DeGrave is right on pace to break the mark this season,” head coach Natasha Brown said earlier this season. “You have to understand the transition from the 400-meter indoor to hurdles outdoor takes some time.”
The performances from freshmen Brogan Austin and Omet Kak have the future of Drake distance running looking promising. Kak placed second in the 1,500-meter at the Tom Botts Invitational with a time of 3:52.23. Austin won the 5,000-meter run at the Jim Duncan Invitational on April 15 in 14:58.13.
Photo: Connor McCourtney
Senior Casey McDermott has enjoyed success in both the 1,500-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase over the course of the season. McDermott placed fifth in the collegiate division running of the 1,500-meter at last year’s Relays.
Sophomores Sarah Yeager and Marissa Smith have challenged each other in the 100-meter hurdle event by exchanging placements all season. Smith won the event at the Jim Duncan Invitational at Drake Stadium on April 16.
The sprinting for the women has been held down by seniors Beth Hamling and Cambria Pardner. Hamling won the 200-meter dash at the Jim Duncan Invitational in 25.14 seconds.