Two weekends ago, Drake Stadium housed the 40th annual Jim Duncan Invitational, Drake’s only track and field meet besides the Drake Relays. However, three Bulldogs competed at the Mt. SAC Relays that Thursday in Norwalk, California.
Senior Emma Huston set another school record in her last year at Drake by racing the 10,000-meter in 33:55.89, about a half-second faster than the previous record, which stood for 33 years.
“It was my first 10K ever last week, so I wasn’t really sure how to run it since it’s such a different mindset and race strategy than other races,” Huston said. “I felt pretty strong and relaxed during the race, so hopefully that means I can drop some time if I run another 10K.”
Huston placed fourth in the elite field. She was the top collegiate runner, finishing behind three professionals.
“Mt. SAC, like the Stanford meet earlier this season, is a very big distance meet,” Huston said. “To get a regional qualifying mark in something as long as the 10K or even the 5K, it is vital to compete in these super-competitive distance meets. I really wanted to give the 10K a go and try for a regional qualifying time, and Mt. SAC was the place to do it.”
With this performance, Huston’s time is the fastest time by an MVC runner since 2014.
“It’s exciting that my time is up there with some of the top MVC performances over the last few years,” Huston said. “It’s exciting but also nerve-racking knowing that I can be competitive in the 10K as well as the 5K.”
This latest record is an addition to the records Huston set in the indoor and outdoor 5000-meter earlier this season.
Junior Reed Fischer also competed in California in the elite invitational section of the 10,000-meter. He placed seventh in 29:09.86, the second-fastest time in Drake history.
Fischer was the third collegiate athlete to cross the finish line. His time is also the fastest in the MVC this season.
Freshman Griffin Jaworski was the third Bulldog to compete at Mt. SAC, also in the 10,000-meter. He placed 55th.
Back in Des Moines, the rest of the team competed at the Blue Oval and had first place finishes in 12 events.
On the second day of competition, senior Pierce Vincent earned two of those top finishes in the 100 and 200-meters with times of 10.95 and 21.95, respectively, despite unfavorable weather conditions.
“The wind was an issue, but I felt like I was moving pretty well,” Vincent said. “Under normal conditions, I feel like I would’ve (run a personal best). I’m in a good spot right now.”
Vincent earned a regional qualifying time in the 100-meter earlier this season. He is looking to do some fine-tuning in order to drop as much time as possible.
“I’ve been talking to my coach a lot, asking her where I can improve upon,” Vincent said. “It’s really just pushing (to get) to where I want to be.”
Running on a familiar track was something that can help athletes to relax. The track team often trains on the Blue Oval once it is warm enough.
“It’s just good being the home team,” Vincent said. “You don’t feel as nervous when you’re at a place that’s familiar to you.”
Three Bulldogs finished directly behind Vincent in the 100-meter. Demetrius Shelton placed second, Aaron Chier third and Kendall Owens fourth.
Cassie Aerts recorded a personal best with her first place finish in the 5000-meter. She finished in 17:43.32. She also finished third in the 5000-meter with another personal best of 17:51.35.
Johnathan Osifuye placed first in the triple jump with a jump of 49 feet, 1.75 inches, his first win of the season.
“It felt really good to just go out and jump big again,” Osifuye said. “I’ve had kind of a tough season so far, but just to go out and do what I know how to do felt really good.”
Osifuye is looking for more great performances and improvements as Relays draw nearer.
“It’ll be good to hopefully get another big jump… and be ready to go and make finals at Relays,” Osifuye said. “(I’m) just working on carrying through all my phases, just getting big and grabbing big jumps.”
Kayla Bell and Taryn Rolle continued their routine of top five finishes in the long jump, finishing first and fourth, respectively. Bell matched her best jump of 19 feet.
Also on the field, Christina LeMunyon won the pole vault with a vault of 10-11.75. David Silkman recorded a 175 feet, 6 inches javelin throw to place second.
Back on the track, Rai Ahmed- Green placed second and first in the 100 and 200 meters, respectively. Robert McCann was first in the 1500-meter in 3:54.88.
Athletes travelled to the Kansas Relays and Musco Twilight last weekend for some final, pre-Relays competition. The final lineup for Bulldogs competing at the Drake Relays is yet to be determined, although several are assumed to be locked in. Aerts, Ahmed- Green, Fischer, Huston, Vincent, Young, among others are expected to compete this weekend, sporting Drake’s colors on the Blue Oval.