After a break for most of the team last weekend, the Drake track and field team was back in action on April 9 at the Ottawa Braves Invitational in Kansas. The Bulldogs took home a variety of first place and top-five finishes in 43 different events.
Pierce Vincent continued his senior season with a win in the 100-meter with a time of 10.86. He also ran the anchor legs of two relays, the first place 4×100-meter and the third-place 4×400 meter.
“It was like a tune-up meet,” Vincent said. “I got to make sure I’m not lethargic. It’s just good to make sure everything’s firing like it’s supposed to.”
High-speed winds proved a formidable obstacle to the athletes, as they often had to run head on into it.
“You kind of have to adjust,” Vincent said. “You have to fight the wind a lot more to get through the race. Just a little bit of strategy goes into that.”
For sophomore Bailee Cofer, overcoming the elements comes down to mental focus and ignore any potential obstructions and distractions.
“Usually I try to not think about the conditions you can’t control like the weather because it affects everyone in the field,” Cofer said. “But wind is something that definitely affects your performance and can slow you down quite a bit when you’re going into head wind.”
Vincent is among many athletes looking to earn regional qualifying times. This meet offered him the opportunity to see where he may sit in the rankings.
“I think in the 100, I might have already made it,” Vincent said. “In the 200, I need to drop like a tenth of a second, which I think I can do. So I’m really close to making it in both.”
Only a short way into the outdoor season, Vincent already is looking into the areas in which he can improve.
“I need to fine-tune some things and really start pushing in practice to work on the speed,” Vincent said. “I’m running pretty consistent races right now, so it’s just making that final push to drop time.”
Sophomore Rai Ahmed-Green won the 200-meter in 25.35 and placed second in the 100-meter with a time of 12.69. She also ran in the first-place 4×100-meter relay.
“I think everyone used this meet to try new things,” Ahmed-Green said. “I was trying a different race pattern. It was a more low-key meet so you could test things out and get things more prepared for Jim Duncan.”
The sophomore is looking for a regional qualifying time in the 400, 200 and 100 meters by the end of the season.
“I’m getting closer with every meet,” Ahmed-Green said. “The mindset is to persevere and kind of try to push through the limits. In essence, your personal record is the limit. So I think challenging that limit is what it’s all about.”
In spite of the wind, Cofer turned in a personal best in the 1500-meter with her time of 4:48.43.
“It was a meet where your performance really was determined by your own efforts,” Cofer said. “You couldn’t rely on competitors to push you as hard. I had to rely on my own instincts and run my own race … Since I was running alone I had to take on all the wind. It made it a more strategic run, which is fun.”
Junior Michael Dolan shattered his personal best in the hammer throw by nearly eight feet. He finished second with a throw of 168 feet and 10 inches.
“It felt amazing to beat my previous best by such a large amount,” Dolan said. “I knew that I needed to step it up and really push myself if I wanted to at least get second. When I stepped in the ring and just thought back to what I practiced on, took a deep breath and just threw.”
Other competitors on the field performed well through medalling and setting new PRs.
Jaclyn Aremka recorded her best high jump of 5 feet, 6 inches. Ryan Cook’s 6 feet, 6 inches took second in the high jump. Johnathan Osifuye finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 46 feet, 7 inches.
Taryn Rolle and Kayla Bell continued their trend by taking first and second, respectively, in the triple jump.
Drake hosts the Jim Duncan Invitational this weekend at Drake Stadium, the first and only meet to be hosted by Drake besides the Drake Relays.
“I’m looking forward to throwing at Jim Duncan,” Dolan said. “I’ll finally be on my home turf.”