Photo: File photo
Both Drake track squads will head south to Columbia, Mo., to compete in the Tom Botts Invitational which gets under way tomorrow afternoon.
Junior Jon DeGrave will continue his attempt to set the school record in the 400-meter hurdles. The record is 50.77 seconds set in 1983 by Dan Cleveland. DeGrave, who holds a personal-best time of 51.27 seconds, has a great chance to break the Tom Botts Invitational record of 52.48 seconds. DeGrave will be looking to improve on his fourth-place finish in the event last year.
One of the few bright spots for the young men’s squad at the Razorback Spring Invitational last weekend was the performance by the Bulldog throwers. Sophomores Isaac Twombly and Kevin Harp, and freshmen Andy Curtis and Phillip Beeler will look to build upon last week’s results and build momentum heading into the Jim Duncan Invitational next weekend. Twombly placed fourth at the Tom Botts Invitational last year in the hammer throw.
In Arkansas, the Bulldogs placed near the bottom in all of the relays in which they competed. Both the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays will be run at the Tom Botts Invitational.
“Only certain meets run a full range of relays which makes it difficult to perfect the handoffs,” head coach Natasha Brown said. “When it comes to the Drake Relays, which does offer all the relays, we are kind of learning on the fly.”
Sophomore Marissa Smith will looks to continue her recent success in the 100-meter hurdles. Smith is coming off a personal-best performance set last weekend at the Razorback Spring Invitational.
Going into the Tom Botts Invitational, the women’s team will need their senior leaders to step up and carry the team.
“Our team is made up of a series of mini-teams, and each has seniors in some capacity, so there is someone for under-classmen to strive to be like,” Brown said earlier this season. “Now is when we start developing future leaders.”
The Bulldogs will need big performances from seniors Ari Curtis, Tyse Samani, Johanna Sprang, Casey McDermott, Cambria Pardner and Beth Hamling. Samani won the high jump crown at the Tom Botts meet last year, Pardner placed fifth in the 100-meter dash, McDermott came in fourth in the 1500-meter run, Curtis won the 400-meter hurdle crown ,while setting a then-school record in her first-ever running of the event, and Hamling finished in fourth place in both the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes.
No one man can have all that power
Drake has received tremendous efforts from the big boys on the track and field team thus far, as the throwers have raced out to a fast start in the outdoor season. Here’s how they fared last week at the Razorback Spring Invitational:
Phillip Beeler – fifth in the javelin (197 feet, 5 inches)
Kevin Harp – sixth in the javelin (186 feet, 9 inches)
Isaac Twombly – third in the hammer throw (145 feet, 10 inches) and ninth in the discus (136 feet)
Andy Curtis – fifth in the hammer throw (131 feet, 10 inches) and 11th in the discus (127 feet, 8 inches)