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Relays Edition Sports

Drake track and field gets geared up for Relays 

Drake runner Emilie Meyers running the Blue Oval Photo Courtesy of Emilie Meyer

The weekend of Feb. 9 was a historic weekend for Drake University’s track and field team. Multiple school records were broken, and names were seared into the top 10 lists of the Drake record book.

Distance runner Isaac Basten broke the Drake men’s mile record, thrower Centaine Noom-Duckworth broke the Drake women’s weight throw record and distance runner Emilie Meyer broke the Drake women’s 800-meter record.

The track and field team was split between Boston, Massachusetts, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, that weekend, but the Bulldogs were indifferent to the competition’s location. Meyer raced in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she set a time of 2:08.19 in the 800-meter race, breaking Gina DeWitt’s record from 1995.

“Just looking up at the time on the board, I was very happy to see [the record]. It’s just a really rewarding feeling,” Meyer said.

The 2024 Drake track and field program features some of the fastest runners in school history. Multiple athletes have broken school records as the program has been built strong.

“It was just a really cool experience to race at Arkansas,” Meyer said. It was really cool to be able to represent Drake in that way and continue to improve, see that reward with the record, and just represent what we’re doing at Drake and show that our program is building and continuing to get better.”

Jay Koloseus — the Drake track and field head coach — was happy with the team’s success in the 2024 indoor season.

“I’m proud of it,” Koloseus said of the team’s 2024 indoor season. “I think it was a great step in the right direction. I think we’re building a good track and field culture.”

Koloseus wasn’t in Fayetteville to watch Meyer’s 800-meter run, but he watched the event live on his phone.

“She looked really good coming through, and then when I saw the final time, I just lost my mind. I knew she was very capable of it,” he said. “But it’s one thing to be capable and another thing to actually do it, so I was just thrilled.”

Meyer also broke her personal mile record in the 2024 indoor season. She set a time of 4:54.67 at the South Dakota State University Indoor Classic.

“That was a really cool feeling, too,” Meyer said about her personal record mile time. “I went through the season hoping to break 4:50. So hitting that mark was really cool and very rewarding. We have a really strong conference, too. So racing against those girls really helped me to reach that time.”

Meyer didn’t expect to be breaking school records when she arrived at Drake as a first-year, but her tenacious work ethic has led her to massive success.

“Honestly, I didn’t know I would be breaking school records,” Meyer said. “I came in with the mindset that I want to improve and do the best I can. It’s been cool to do that and do things I didn’t think I’d be able to do.”

Koloseus praised Meyer for her work ethic and her growth as a person throughout her time at Drake.

“Physiologically, she’s matured into a very, very strong athlete,” Koloseus said. “That’s the result of doing this for years upon years, missing very few [practice] days. What’s even more remarkable is her growth as a person. She handles things that aren’t going her way amazingly well, and I think that makes the moment when it all comes together so much more rewarding.”

The growth of Drake’s track and field program has ushered in many new Bulldog records. With new records and rapid success has come joy amongst players and coaches alike.

“That’s obviously the most rewarding part of the job,” Koloseus said about watching the athletes grow and reach new heights. “That’s why I coach. There’s nothing better than seeing someone achieve something that they thought was impossible. It’s insanely rewarding.”

Now that the 2024 indoor season is in the past, the team has flipped focus toward the rapidly approaching Drake Relays. The relays will begin on Wednesday, April 24 and will span through Saturday, April 27. The packed Drake stadium routinely brings excitement and extra motivation to the Drake athletes.

“It’s always fun to represent the Drake uniform in front of all the Drake fans,” Meyer said. “I plan to run the 800 [meter race], so I’ll see what I can do there and just compete and make the team proud.”

In the 2023 Drake Relays, Meyer set a personal record of 2:08.66 in the 800-meter race. Meyer said it’s always her goal to improve, and she’ll look to break more personal records in the fall outdoor season.

Koloseus echoed Meyer’s praise of the Drake Relays. Koloseus said he’s been in track and field since 2001, and the Relays still stand out to him over championships he’s been to in the past.

“The best track and field meet is the Drake Relays,” Koloseus said. “This is a fact in my mind. Packed stadium or no packed stadium, no one does it better. It truly is the best track and field meet in the world.”

The Bulldogs set the bar high in 2024 with their success in the indoor season and will look to continue their dominance into their marquee event – the Drake Relays. Whether the team sinks or swims in the relays, it is clear that the program is on an upward trajectory in terms of success. With athletes such as Meyer and coaches like Koloseus leading the charge, the program is in safe hands.

“Coming in as a [first-year], I had really big hopes. Jay [Koloseus] had been building the program and bringing in some really great athletes,” Meyer said. “So it’s been a lot of fun to break records, improve and represent a great team for Drake.”

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