Photo: Connor McCourtney
After all was said and done for the 102nd edition of the Drake Relays, 14 meet records were broken and a new attendance record was set at Drake Stadium.
A total of 14,504 people came out to the Drake Relays on Saturday, tying the Saturday session of the 2009 meet for the largest crowd at Drake Stadium since it was reconfigured in 2006.
This year’s Relays were headlined by the world-class athletes the meet has attracted for years. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner won the 400-meter race in 45.19 seconds, the best 400 time in the U.S. this outdoor season.
U.S. Olympian and Des Moines native Lolo Jones was ousted in the 100-meter hurdles for the second-straight year. Tiffany Ofili won the race in 12.66 seconds, while Jones crossed the finish at 12.80.
“I fell apart in the middle and end,” Jones said in a Drake athletics press release. “But that is coming off the worst indoor season of my career. I haven’t gone over as many hurdles in a race, so I’m not as race-savvy or sharp.”
Kenya’s Boaz Lalang ran the top mile time in the world this year in 3:58.26, capturing his second-straight special invitational men’s mile run title at the Drake Relays.
Drake Relays director Brian Brown’s 1997 high jump record was matched by Dusty Jonas. Jonas, who won the Drake Relays high jump title in 2008 with Nebraska, cleared the bar set at 7 feet, 7 inches to earn the high jump crown once again.
For Drake, sophomore Kevin Harp his broke his own school record in the javelin throw last Friday, with a toss of 208 feet, 7 inches to finish in eighth in the event.
“We are excited for him to perform at this high of a level,” Drake throwing coach Mark Kostek said. “The most important thing is he learned how to compete on a national level. This was a highly competitive meet, and the learning experience he has for this event will help him in the future.”
Sophomore Isaac Twombly broke the school record in the hammer throw last Thursday to continue the Bulldog throwing success this season.
Last Saturday, the Bulldogs were led by junior Jon DeGrave and freshman Omet Kak. DeGrave ran the second fastest time in school history in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.91 seconds. It is a personal best for DeGrave and the best time in the Valley this season.
Kak ran a personal-best time of 3:48.30 in the 1,500-meter run, which is also the top time in the MVC this year.
“My family has never watched me run in my whole entire life,” Kak said in a press release. “Today, my mom came out to watch and I tried to run well. Coming down the homestretch I thought of how my mom was in the stands and I had to succeed.”
The top showing for the women’s squad came Saturday in the sprint medley relay. Seniors Cambria Pardner, Beth Hamling, Kara McCartney and sophomore Marissa Smith teamed up to finish 10th with a time of 3:58.01.
Senior Casey McDermott also performed well in the 1,500, crossing the finish line in 4:15.15 to place 14th.
Both Drake teams will be back in action this Saturday, competing in the Messersmith Invitational in Cedar Falls, Iowa.