STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
The biggest event on Drake’s campus every year is the Drake Relays and the first set of athletes for the 2015 competitions have been announced.
The roster will include 12 Olympic medalists, including five gold medal winners and four world record holders.
Aries Merrit is the current world record holder in the 110 meter hurdles, which he set with a time of 12.8 seconds at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Another world record holder is American pole-vaulter and Olympic gold medalist, Jenn Suhr. She set her record at the USA Championships on March 2, 2013, clearing a height of 5.02 meters.
Richard Browne currently holds the world record for the T44 Men’s 200 meter sprint. The T44 category denotes athletes who have lost one of their legs or have an equivalent handicap. Brown lost his leg in 2009, but has persevered and set the T44 world record in April, 2014 with a time of 21.91 seconds in the 200 meter.
However, Suhr is currently ranked third in the world in the women’s pole vault, edged by Cuban Yarisley Silva, who sits at number two in the rankings. Silva’s performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics earned her the silver medal behind Suhr, while Silva became the first Latin American to medal her event.
Three world number ones will compete at the Relays as well.
Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie is the current world record holder in the men’s pole vault with a height of 6.16 meters, which has helped him earn his number one ranking. Lavillenie won in the pole vault last year at the Drake Relays and is looking to defend his title this time around.
Number one ranked Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France will face off with Aries Merrit in the 110 meter hurdles. Martinot-Lagarde’s personal best is just .15 seconds behind Aries Merrit’s record and he hopes to take that title away from his counterpart at the Relays.
American LaShawn Merritt is the third world number one set to appear at the Relays and will be competing in the Men’s 400 meter sprint.
The competition already looks tough for the meets in April, and there are still nearly two months of preparation left until the Relays begin.