Meet Preview: The 108th Drake Relays - Friday Night

            HyVee Night at the Drake Relays begins the Rio Rematch races, including the Men's 400M, Men's 400M Hurdles, and the Women's 1500M. There are a total of 68 Olympians signed up to compete in the various Rio Rematch races Friday and Saturday. In the Men's 400M, spectators will get to see LaShawn Merritt and Grenada's Kirani James face off against other exceptional athletes from around the world. The two come in with the fastest PR's of 43.65 and 43.74. In the Men's 400M Hurdles, spectators will see USA's Bershawn Jackson compete against athletes from countries including Jamaica, Phillipines, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and other American athletes. Jackson enters with the fastest PR of 47.30.

            The Women's 1500M has been one of the most anticipated events yet with three Iowa natives competing. Both Jenny Simpson and Shelby Houlihan will race after excellent performances at the Rio Olympics last summer, where Simpson was a Bronze medalist in the 1500. The state of Iowa is buzzing about Dowling Catholic prep Karissa Schweizer competing in the race, just hours after her younger sister competed in the Girls 800M. Schweizer is a 2-time NCAA Champion for the University of Missouri after winning the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships and 2017 Indoor 5K. She is ranked 12th in the field of 13 with a PR of 4:15.77. Simpson comes in with the fastest time of 3:57.22, followed by fellow Olympian Brenda Martinez (4:00.94). Some other notable athletes competing include Rio 800M Olympic Kate Grace (4:05.65), 1500M Olympian Marta Freitas (4:06.54) from Portugal, and Canadian 2-time Olympian Nicole Sifuentes, among others. Rio Rematch Field Events include the Women's Pole Vault and Men's Triple Jump. There are also Elite fields for the Women's Shot Put and High Jump.


            The high school events begin with 10 sections of the Preliminaries for the Girls 4x100M Relay. Waterloo East enters with the fastest seed time of 48.42, followed by Southeast Polk (49.30). The top 8 will advance to finals on Saturday. Based on current rankings, those teams are predicted to include 6 of the following 8 teams: Pleasant Valley, Waukee, Sioux City West, Waterloo West, Des Moines East, Pella, Dowling, or Bettendorf, though with the cold rain, anything can happen! The Boys 4x100M Relay Preliminaries will also compete with 10 sections as well. Davenport North, Ankeny Centennial, and Western Dubuque enter the race with the top 3 fastest times, all within 0.05 of a second from each other with times of 42.45, 42.47, and 42.50, respectively. Based on the rankings, 5 of the following 7 teams are expected to qualify on: Johnston, Waukee, Valley, Sioux City East, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, or Urbandale.

            The session will conclude with the Preliminaries of the Girls and Boys 4x400M Relays. Waukee enters with the fastest times on both the Girls and Boys sides with times of 4:00.65 and 3:20.84, respectively. Other teams that will be competing to qualify on in the girls' race include the following: Pleasant Valley, Solon, Decorah, North Cedar, Cedar Falls, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Assumption, or Dubuque Wahlert. Only 8 teams will qualify on. The boys' race will be a great fight between Iowa City West, Valley, Ames, Urbandale, Ottumwa, Des Moines Roosevelt, Glenwood, Iowa City, and Cedar Falls to make it in the top 8. The finals of both relays will end the last session of the Drake Relays, surely with an exciting match!


Stay tuned for more previews of events and recaps of what went on each day!

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