An article that ran in last week’s issue of the Times-Delphic raised some red flags amongst the Drake University athletic community, particularly the track and field team.
The article, “Track and Field team hindered by recruitment woes,” discussed what appeared to be the struggles that Drake’s team has faced this year in competitions. However, these ‘struggles’ are more superficial than they are real.
In team track and field competitions, coming home with the most points and getting the win is not often the main goal. The original article points out the fact that both the men’s and women’s track teams have only won one competition apiece this season, which is misleading.
Although this is a true statement, it is misleading. The real tests for track and field teams come in the conference meets, when every team is at their full strength. Conference meets are an opportunity for the Bulldogs to show all they’ve got.
The reason that Drake is rarely at 100 percent capacity and doesn’t come home with the wins is due to the team’s lack of depth.
Drake has a smaller roster than other teams in the conference, as highlighted in last week’s article.
They can’t have every athlete at every meet, and it also makes injuries even more destructive.
Much of the reason for this is the fact that the track and field team only has 10 scholarships for men and 14 for women, which less than the maximum for a Division I school on either side.
Money seems to be a hindrance for Drake, as it is for many private institutions, especially when they have to face up against more well-funded public schools.
Regardless, the Bulldogs have been strong competitors in the Missouri Valley Conference and can put up good numbers — winning numbers — in a number of events.
Juniors Robert McCann and Ryan Cook each hold the second best scores in the 3000-meter run and high jump, respectively, in the 2014-2015 Indoor Track Season, which is now coming to a close as the weather heats up in the Midwest.
Drake is doing even better outdoors this season, even if Iowa weather has made practicing outside difficult.
Senior Steven Jordan, the current MVC Men’s Track Athlete of the Week, has the best 200-meter time in the conference at 21.91 seconds. He is also third best in the conference at the 400-meter.
In addition to Jordan, sophomore Kendall Owens has the second best 100-meter time, followed by fellow Bulldog Vincent Pierce, whose best time is just .01 seconds behind Owens.
Their teammate Kai Asberry also has the second best time in the 400-meter Intermediate Hurdles.
The women’s side of the track is just as strong, as freshman Mary Young has the best time in the conference in the 100-meter high hurdles. Jaclyn Aremka is also at the top of the MVC with 5’ 7.25” in the high jump.
Their teammate Kayla Bell also has the second best distance in the Valley in both the long jump and the triple jump.
Clearly, Drake Track and Field has the talent to compete in this conference, as these are just a few of the stellar athletes on the team.
The Outdoor MVC Championship is coming up in mid-May as the Bulldogs will have another chance to face-off with their conference opponents, and at full-strength, ready to prove themselves against the rest of the MVC.