Story by Taylor Soule
Senior sprinter Whitney Westrum and junior thrower Andy Curtis paced the Drake track and field team at the Iowa State Qualifier on Saturday in Ames.
In women’s sprints action, Westrum clocked a season-best time of 56.09 in the 400 meters to take fourth place.
She credited the win to improved technique.
“(Head) coach Natasha (Kaiser-Brown) and I have been working on me getting out faster in the first 200 meters and after that focusing on surging through the break point for the next 100 meters,” Westrum said in an email. “After that, it’s just all about finishing through the line. The last 100 meters is always ugly. I just have to make it through the finish line.”
With the excitement of her ISU Qualifier performance still lingering, Westrum awaits the chance to improve her time outdoors.
“It just keeps the race in your head for the next training period,” Westrum said. “(It) helps me remember what I’m working towards. A 56-second (time) is not even close to where I want to be, but it gives (me) that fire in my stomach that I need for outdoor season.”
Four Bulldog hurdlers completed the Drake lineup on Saturday. Senior Sarah Yeager led the way with a time of 8.41 in the 60-meter hurdles to finish third. Yeager recorded an identical time to win the Missouri Valley Conference Championship on Feb. 24.
Senior Marissa Smith crossed the finish line just 0.05 seconds after Smith to finish fourth on Saturday. Senior Briana Isom-Brummer clocked 8.80 seconds to claim eighth place. Freshman Destani Welch finished ninth in 9.05 seconds to complete the Drake women’s action.
In men’s throwing competition, Curtis registered a toss of 57-7.50 to finish seventh.
After a season-best toss at the MVC Championship, Curtis lacked time to train and recoup from soreness. Despite setbacks, he boasted a “consistent” performance at the ISU Qualifier.
“I had some slip-ups,” Curtis said. “I was kind of sore throughout the week from conference, competing, and we didn’t have as much training time between conference and that meet that I wasn’t able to compete at the same level. But, technically, I kept some things pretty sound. I was pretty consistent through the meet.”
Senior Isaac Twombly recorded another staggering toss on Saturday, just 11 days after winning the MVC Championship. Twombly registered a weight throw of 63-8.25 to earn a trip to the March 8-9 NCAA Indoor Championship in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Bulldogs open outdoor season on March 22-23 at the Arizona State Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. As the outdoor season approaches, Curtis awaits the chance to test his training in the hammer throw.
“I am really excited for outdoor because, technically, the weight throw is going to be very similar to the hammer throw, so we should be looking at good things there for both Isaac (Twombly) and I,” Curtis said. “I’ve gotten stronger through the indoor season, technically and lifting-wise, so I am feeling really, really strong about outdoor.”
Curtis hopes his improved strength translates into a regionals berth. Regionals will open on May 23.
“As a throwing unit, I want to see all the upperclassmen throwers make it to regionals,” Curtis said. “I think that is very doable and would be a good goal. Personally, I have got about 200 feet as a goal.”