PHOTOS BY MOHAMAD SUHAIMI | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY KATHERINE BAUER Rob McCann came away from the Blue Oval this morning with a rare Bulldog win...
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY KATHERINE BAUER Competition at the Drake Relays today saw five Rio Olympics Preview events...
BY ADAM ROGAN There are two different sides to adult athletes’ competitions at the Drake Relays. Most post-college...
BY ADAM ROGAN
For hurdler Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, winning the Men’s 400-meter hurdles on Friday evening at the Drake Relays for the second straight year meant more than just a great start to his 2016 season in pursuit of a return to Olympics for the first time since 2008. Jackson’s father, Jeffrey Felton, suffered a heart attack and passed away suddenly in October 2015 at the age of 53. Jackson returned to competitive track for the first time since at the Drake Relays on Friday night.
“He was my support team. He was my best friend,” Jackson said of his late father. “It was a tough break for me … To come out here and get a victory is bigtime. I was very emotional before the race, knowing my dad wouldn’t be here.”
Jackson’s competitive season was delayed not only because of his father’s death, but also because he’s been dealing with injuries. He didn’t start training until January, something that became apparent to him in the final stretch on Friday.
“At the ninth hurdle, I was dead tired. Didn’t get a great start like I normally do,” Jackson said. “When I got to hurdle number seven … I knew I had to get in the race. And I made a move a little bit too early and I paid for it at nine.”
“But I got a burst energy from somewhere.” Then, grabbing his necklace, he said, “think it came from here.”
About his neck Jackson wears a necklace whose pendant doubles as an urn that holds a portion of his father’s ashes. Jackson pledges to wear the necklace and urn in all of his races, continuing the presence that his father had in life. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Felton was the one who encouraged Jackson to run track as a child and had been traveling internationally with his son since 2005. Although he may have passed away, Felton still has a physical presence in Jackson’s career.
Perhaps Jackson is even more motivated now, refocusing on the qualifying for the Olympics in July’s trials.
Jackson finished in third place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles, but didn’t qualify to compete in London in 2012. He doesn’t want to miss out this year, especially since he is now 32 years old and his chances will be even more limited come 2020. Still, Jackson is confident in what he will be capable of this year.
“(My dad) will be with me on my journey to the Olympic games this year.”
“2012, I fell short,” Jackson said. “I got to redeem myself. This season, right here, 2016, is when I define my Batman legacy.”
To qualify the Rio Olympics this summer, Jackson will surely need to keep improving his time. In the 2008 Olympics, Jackson finished with a time of 48.06. On Friday he was more than a second slower, finishing at 49.30, less than a tenth of a second faster than 2012 Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley. But the narrowness of the win doesn’t make starting the season with a win any less motivating for Jackson, especially since it was his first meet of the season.
“I’m impressed with the win; great way to start my season out, lot to work on,” Jackson said. “My ultimate goal is to get past trials.”
Regardless of what may occur in the coming months, Jackson is happy with his current situation, holding to his faith, resilience and determination.
“I had mixed emotions, but one thing about me: I’m a competitor. I’m a warrior,” Jackson said. “I know I got a guardian angel over me and I got to continue to strive for greatness.”
BY ANNA STEENSON
Hindu temples rising out of the cornfields, office buildings converted to Buddhist monasteries, gymnasiums used for Christian worship and basements of houses used for Muslim ceremonies are only some of the ways religious communities have found unique spaces for worship in Des Moines.
The creation of the Director of Student Engagement, Equity and Inclusion has created a “watershed moment in how the university approaches” LGBT inclusion, according to Tony Tyler.
Tyler, previously the director of Olmsted, moved into the new position at the start of the 2016 J-Term.
The need for the new position, and more institutionalized LGBT inclusion efforts, was demonstrated by the results of two surveys conducted recently at Drake.
BY GERRY TETZLAFF
The word “broadcast” is commonly associated with TV or radio. People often think of professionals dressed in their finest, reading the events of the day, or they imagine the voices they have grown used to guiding them home through their car speakers. They picture TV studios with huge cameras and high ceilings dangling with hundreds of lights and radio studios with autographed posters and countless light bulbs and buttons on soundboards-these are the places where broadcasts take place. But not Drake Relays broadcasts.
First-year Natalie Larimer’s Chevy Malibu can usually be found in the Drake Stadium lot, across the street from Herriott Hall. That is, of course, assuming there isn’t a football game or the Drake Relays taking place.
“(During) sporting events, my parking lot is always, always, always filled. I just don’t have a spot for my car,” Larimer said. “That’s a huge issue, especially because I have a job off-campus.”
BY HALEY HODGES
Sometimes, the roles students have in college will persist past their graduation. For former Drake University musicians, this means coming back to visit and play alongside their bands once again.
Some band alumni still reside in the Des Moines area and can easily visit. Those who have left Drake in the last few years and still have ties to some of the students who were their classmates during their time in band may also come back to play with them.
BY SARAH HUBBARD
The Drake Relays cast a spotlight on Drake University each year, and as its popularity grows, so do its methods of promotion.
One easy way for people to promote themselves or their business is through social media. The Drake Relays used to televise press conferences to announce special events and the athletes taking part, but as time went on, it moved to different social media platforms. The Relays’ social media platforms are managed by Niki Smith, a social media specialist, and Tyler Patton, assistant athletic director for athletic communications.
BY ANNA STEENSON
The Drake Environmental Action League (DEAL) brought a divestment referendum to Student Senate on Thursday, urging Drake to divest in fossil fuels.
Senate passed the motion in support of the referendum.
BY MARIAH LEWIS
It’s a track and field event Drake University assistant coach Dan Hostager says “everybody flocks” to. But not everybody knows what it is.
“Some people have really weird ideas about what it is,” said Rob McCann, the only athlete on the Drake University track team who consistently competes in the event.