STORY BY EMILY LAMBIE
With the second wave of additions to the Drake Relays roster, 20 more elite athletes have been added. Ten of them are ranked as the best in the world, eight of which are Olympic medalists.
In addition, Chaunte Lowe, Brandon Couts and Steve Lynn are being added into the Relays Hall of Fame.
Additions were made to the 100-meter hurdles event, including Des Moines native Lolo Jones. Alongside Jones, world No. 1 and reigning U.S. champion and two-time Olympic medalist Dawn Harper-Nelson will be competing and Kristi Castlin will return to defend her title. The Women’s 100-meter hurdles alone will feature the world No. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9 ranked athletes, one of the best fields in Drake Relays history for any event.
“I’m excited that Lolo is not only going to be coming home and run in the shuttle, but we can confirm that she has all the plans and is ready to run in the open event,” said Drake Relays Director Brian Brown at a press release.
Jasmine Stowers will be making her professional Drake Relays debut after winning in the USA Indoor Championship in the 60-meter hurdles.
In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, No. 1 Javier Culson and No. 2 Michael Tinsley will compete against one another. The lineup features a total of five Olympians, including Johnny Dutch who finished third in the 2014 Relays and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Kerron Clement.
In the Women’s 400-meter event, four of the world’s top-10 are scheduled to race, as well as the world’s No. 1 Novlene Williams, who is a three time Olympian. Along with Williams is Frencena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross.
“The 100-meter hurdles is going to be contested, but not only that, but the 400-meters. This is a new event to the Drake Relays in the last decade and we have the best in the world, the number one, two and three in the world,” Brown said. “Sanya Richards-Ross, Frencena McCorory and Novelene Williams, the number one runner in the world, they’re all gonna be here … It should be a great event on Saturday.”
Richards-Ross is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and McCorory teamed up with Richards-Ross to earn gold in the 2014 Olympic games in the 4×400 meter relay.
In the Field events, two men’s triple jumpers were added into the mix, along with eight women’s high jump competitors.
World No. 1 and No. 2 athletes, Christian Taylor and Will Claye will compete in the Men’s Triple Jump. Taylor won the Olympic gold in 2012 while Clay fell right behind him with Olympic Silver that same year. The rivalry between these two competitors will continue at this year’s Relays.
Ruth Beitia, Chaunte Lowe and Amy Acuff are the additions to the High Jump field. Beitia is a three-time Olympian and is ranked o. 2 in the world. Lowe is an American record holder and a Relays Hall of Famer. She has won the event four times and is going for her fifth this year. Acuff is a five-time Olympian and placed second at the USA Indoor Championship. She will also become part of the Drake Relays Hall of Fame.
Some of the international athletes that have been added are Jamaican athletes Hansle Parchment, who is No. 3 in the world in 110-meter hurdles, and Andrew Riley who is No. 5 in the same event.
The lineup for the 2015 Drake Relays features a highly competitive group of athletes and is sure to bring in large crowds when the competitions kick-off on April 19.