The Drake track and field team came away from the Iowa Invitational at the University of Iowa winning a total of nine events last Friday.
Next weekend the men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In order to compete at their highest potential, Friday’s meet was primarily meant to rest the usual runners and try a few new things to get ready for the conference meet.
“You really just want to maintain and keep competitive juices flowing so that the adrenaline is still going for next week,” head coach Natasha Brown said.
Despite some key athletes, including senior standouts Ari Curtis and Casey McDermott, not participating in Friday’s meet, the women’s team left the Iowa Invitational placing first in six events.
Sophomore Marissa Smith ran the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.94 seconds to win the event. According to Brown, Friday was the first time in a while that Smith was primarily focused on the 60-meter dash.
Senior Kara McCartney contributed to the team’s success winning the 600-meter race with a time of 1 minute, 37.44 seconds. Senior Cambria Pardner jumped 36 feet, 10.25 inches to take home the win in the triple jump.
The Drake 4-by-400 ‘A’ relay team won the event with a time of 3:56.07. The team consisted of sophomores Sarah Yeager and Whitney Westrum along with seniors Beth Hamling and Clarissa LaFlora.
“Whitney Westrum only got in around six good training sessions,” Brown said. “You really need months.”
Brown said Westrum made a lot of improvements and had a nice 200-meter race, in which she placed second with a time of 26.24 seconds.
Other wins included Yeager in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.06 and senior Lindsay Smith leaving with the 3,000-meter title, finishing in 10:51.39.
The men’s track and field team also came away from Friday’s meet with wins in three events.
Junior Matt Jurysta finished with a win in a closely matched 800-meter race with a personal-best time of 1:55.60. Drake had the top six finishers in the race, making it a close call to determine the final winner.
“Matt’s toughest competition came from his own team which was kind of neat to see unfold,” Brown said. “You never know on any given day how that race is going to turn out.”
The men’s other two wins came from junior Shaun James, who won the 400-meter run with a time of 51.55 seconds, and sophomore Dan Karys, who jumped 22 feet, 2.25 inches to win the long jump event.
The 4-by-400 meter ‘B’ relay team consisting of freshmen Travis Marsh, Ian Wells and Jason Wood along with senior Brandon Lewis surprised the team by beating the ‘A’ squad to place second with a time of 3:24.73.
“That race gave us two strong relay potentials for conference, which was kind of fun,” Brown said.
This week the men’s and women’s teams will look forward to the conference meet, which starts this Saturday morning and concludes on Sunday.
“Right now they have to go with what they have,” Brown said. “Everything as far as training is in the bank, now we’re just trying to withdraw.”