Meet Preview: The 107th Annual Drake Relays - Friday Day
Each year high school athletes enter the track and field season fighting the snow, sleet, and wind with dreams of warmer spring days on the Blue Oval. This year's Drake Relays has quite the lineup, including many athletes who are set to join strong NCAA Division I teams this upcoming fall. Next to the Iowa State High School Track & Field Championships, the Drake Relays is one of the most sought-after meets by high school and college athletes alike.
Friday morning will be loaded with various preliminary heats of sprints, including the 100M Hurdles, 110M High Hurdles, and the 100M Dash. The Girls Shotput and Boys Discus Finals will also begin early. Nick Phelps of KP-WC will seek a Drake Relays win in the discus after losing last year, but coming back to win the Iowa State High School Track & Field Championships. Kat Moody, the sophomore from Waukee will look to get her first Drake Relays win while also competing at the historical meet for the first time. She enters with a season-best throw of 47-0.75 ahead of teammate Moe Nealy who comes in with a 44-6.5 PR.
The first high school track final begins at 10:24AM with the Girls 800M Sprint Medley Relay. The Assumption team will be the top contender with a season-best time of 4:06.74, which they ran just last week at the Kansas Relays, easily taking the win in the event. The next best team so far this season is Waukee, who enters with a time of 4:13.50. Dowling Catholic should also be a contender up front after running a time of 4:16.33 earlier this month. Assumption and Waukee will both be in Section 3, while Dowling Catholic will be in Section 2.
Following the Girls Sprint Medley Relay is the final of the High School Boys 1600M Distance Medley Relay, which involves runners competing in the following races: 200M, 200M, 400M, 800M. The finals of the Girls 100M Hurdles and Boys 110M Hurdles are set to run before the Officials Break, which will be determined from the prelims earlier in the morning. Some notable athletes that should qualify into the finals on the Girls' side include Iowa City West standout Valerie Welch, who signed with the Colorado Buffalos earlier this year, as well as Waukee's Hannah Schau who is set to become a UNI Panther next year. The High School events during the Day portion of Friday's competition will continue with the Girls and Boys 4x200M Relay and the finals of the Girls and Boys 100M Dash, which will be determined by the prelim heats earlier in the day.
Another exciting event to complete the High School competition of the Day portion Friday is the 800M Run. The Girls 800M Final should be lead up front by Arknasas signee Joy Ripslinger, who earned All-American honors in the event on the indoor track during the New Balance Nationals Indoor where she ran 2:09.61. Though she has not competed in the event yet this season, she comes in with an overall personal best of 2:07.51, which she ran at the 2016 Iowa State High School Track & Field Championships. Some other athletes to keep an eye on are Payton Wensel from Linn-Mar (2:13.22), Bailey Nock of Iowa City West (2:15.28), and Waukee's Logan Akason (2:15.88). The Boys 800M Run will also be an exceptional event with over 10 athletes coming in with marks under 1:58. The fight for the win should be between Notre Dame signee Matt Fraizer (1:54), Ryan Modlin (1:55), Alec Still (1:56.22), and Des Moines Hoover standout Charls Niphong who turned heads at the Jim Duncan Invitational with a 5-second PR, clocking 1:56.30.
Stay tuned for more previews of events and recaps of what went on each day!
Want more? Follow us on Twitter @MileSplitIA and Like us on Facebook @MileSplitIA