Sophomore Kevin Harp broke the school record in the javelin as the Bulldog track and field teams competed in the Tom Botts Invitational over the weekend.
Harp’s final heave of 205 feet, 2 inches broke the previous record of 202 feet, 6 inches, which Harp held from a throw last season at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championships. Harp’s toss was good enough for second place in the meet behind senior Lars Rise of Missouri.
“[Harp’s performance] was certainly surprising to say the least,” Drake throwing coach Mark Kostek said. “After last week in Arkansas, we saw some technical parts of his throw that needed some changes, in particular in his hips and javelin alignment … Because of his high volume of throws in practice this week, his performance could have been hindered by fatigue. It is really exciting to see what he can do once he is well rested and technically sound.”
Drake head coach Natasha Brown was also shocked by Harp’s performance.
“[The throw] was impressive because when it landed, it stuck beyond the last distance indicator,” Brown said. “You know you have thrown far when that happens.”
Freshman Phillip Beeler placed sixth in the javelin with a toss of 189 feet, 10 inches.
“Having two guys so close in talent level and performance level is really good for the training of both athletes,” Brown said. “They are pushing one another in weights, pushing one another on the field and helping each other on techniques when coaches are not around. The future of throwing at Drake is very exciting with such a talented freshman and record-holding sophomore.”
Sophomore Dan Karys shined in multiple events over the course of the weekend. Karys had a personal best performance in the triple jump and took home the title with a length of 48 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Karys also placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 11 1/2 inches. Karys, junior Jon DeGrave, freshman Travis Marsh and junior Shaun James placed third in the 4-by-100-meter relay.
“Karys has been working on his foot placement at the initial takeoff and through the phases of the triple,” Brown said. “Coach Brian Brown is a stickler for proper mechanics in the jumps, and Karys has been working hard on refining his technique and it’s paying off.”
DeGrave ran to a second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.09 seconds.
Sophomore transfer Omet Kak came up just short of the 1,500-meter crown, finishing only a half second behind the leader with a time of 3:52.23. Kak placed seventh in the 3,000-meter registering a time of 8:55.97.
Freshman Brogan Austin finished third in the 3,000-meter, crossing the finish line in 8:40.39.
“Brogan is doing a tremendous job in his training and racing,” Brown said. “He has no idea how well he is running for a first-year athlete.”
Senior Casey McDermott led the women’s team by registering a first- and third-place finish in the meet. McDermott won the 3000-meter steeplechase last Friday afternoon with a time of 11:00.57 and finished third in the 1,500-meter, crossing the line in 4:36.81, just two seconds behind the winner.
“Casey competed so confidently,” Brown said. “She had an amazing weekend in all her events.”
Sophomore Sarah Yeager registered sixth place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.60 seconds and sophomore Marissa Smith placed 11th with a time of 15.28.
A midweek illness and recovery from offseason surgery didn’t prevent junior Megan Pierce-Cramer from a sixth-place finish in the discus with a throw of 139 feet.
“I am thrilled at the technical work she has accomplished and turning it over into performance,” Kostek said. “[She’s] really pleased with the surgeon, and the training staff have been very good at getting her ready for the season.”
Junior Paige Steffen won her heat and finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.97. Senior Ari Curtis fell over the fifth hurdle in the event and is questionable for the upcoming Jim Duncan Invitational.
“With a little rest she should be fine,” Brown said. “She’s really sore. Imagine running fast, stopping abruptly and falling from about two and a half feet.”
Harp breaks school record
Sophomore Kevin Harp broke his own Drake record in the javelin throw at the Tom Botts Invitational last Saturday with a throw of 205 feet, 2 inches. Harp placed second in the event, and his toss was nearly three feet further than his record-setting throw at the State Farm MVC Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season. Harp improved immensely from his performance last week at the Razorback Spring Invitational, where he placed sixth with a throw of 186 feet, 9 inches.