ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY ADAM ROGAN
For the Bulldogs the Drake Relays, their second and final home event of the year, tough competition on Friday buried some of the team’s better performances.
The day’s best finish came in the men’s 100-meter dash preliminaries. Senior Pierce Vincent placed first with a time of 10.26, a tenth of a second faster than any other competitor, to qualify for Saturday’s finals. His current competitive personal best was 10.41, meaning that this new time surpassed that by .15 seconds. However, only final races count for official PRs. That race will take place at 2:25 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
Vincent feels that part of the reason he performed so well was the hometown crowd cheering him on.
“It definitely raises the level,” Vincent said. “You got to run a bit harder.”
He competed in two other events on the day.
In the 4×100-meter relay he placed 14th in a field of 26 teams with junior Kendall Owens, sophomore Demetrius Shelton and freshman Aaron Chier. That foursome had a better result in the 4×200 during Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays, placing fourth with a time of 1:25.70, less than a quarter second away from reaching the podium.
The 4×200 is an uncommon event, not hosted in most meets. The only time that the Bulldogs have ran it this season was at the Relays, and they won’t encounter it again until the 2017 Drake Relays.
“I always like the 4×200,” Vincent said. “It could’ve been a little bit faster, but we’ll take it for right now.”
“It definitely makes you bring your ‘A’ game,” Owens added. “You have to compete and run your best races, otherwise you won’t be making it into finals.”
The women had a similar experience in the event. Sophomores Taryn Rolle, Kaylen Rettig, Rai Ahmed-Green and senior Destani Welch teamed up for the race, although none of them are primarily sprinters, meaning they would have to adjust to for their legs.
“As a squad, I think we usually look at this one as trying to tune us up for our next races,” Ahmed-Green said. “It’s like our Relays tradition, a little treat I guess.”
Ahmed-Green will be teaming up with sophomore Mary Young, senior Virginia Hill and junior Laura Genn on Saturday in the women’s 1600-meter sprint medley relay. Ahmed-Green will also be running in the distance medley relay, where she is scheduled for the 400-meter leg.
“The 200 really gets your nervous system ready and really gets you ready to push through that first 200 and set your pace well,” Ahmed-Green said, looking to improve in Saturday’s events.
Other highlights for the Bulldogs include a 12th place finish for Young in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.76, senior Kayla Bell’s long jump of 5.83 meters to take 10th, Hill finished the 400-meter hurdles in 59.44 to place 10th, sophomore Demetrius Shelton finished the 100-meter dash prelims less than half a second behind Vincent to take 18th and sophomore Johnathon Osifuye-White placed 17th in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 14.39-meters.
Competition resumes at 7:30 a.m. on April 30 with the start of the half marathon, followed by another day full of high school, collegiate and professional competition lasting until 4:30 in the afternoon, when the 2016 Drake Relays will come to a close.