News & Notes
Volume 4, Number 42
Drake Relays a sellout for 38th consecutive year
Terrific weather and an enthusiastic sellout crowd of more than 18,000 spectators propelled athletes to outstanding performances Saturday at the 94th Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ideal conditions during the final two days of the 2003 Relays resulted in the most meet and stadium records (13) since 1985.
The event was highlighted by the inaugural Drake appearance by Olympic gold medalist and world outdoor record holder Stacy Dragila in the women’s pole vault. Dragila won the event with a clearance of 4.62 meters/15 feet, 1.75 inches. Jillian Schwartz was a distant runner-up with a best of 4.32m/14-2.
Also in women’s field event action, Gwen Wentland and two-time Olympian Amy Acuff both cleared 1.88m/6-0 in the women’s high jump, with Wentland winning the title on fewer misses. 2000 Olympian Karol Rovelto was third with a best of 1.83m/6-0.
On the track, University of Illinois senior Perdita Felicien won the invitational women’s 100m hurdles in 13.00 seconds, upsetting runner-up Jenny Adams (13.04), who ended the 2002 season ranked #6 in the world. Felicien also defended her title in the women’s university-college 100m hurdles in 13.43 seconds. Her wins in those events made her the first athlete to win the same event in the university and special invitational divisions at the same Drake Relays, and for her efforts she was a unanimous choice as the outstanding women’s performer of the 2003 Drake Relays.
“This wasn’t planned,” said Felicien, who won the 60 hurdles and 100 hurdles at the 2002 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, respectively. “I didn’t think I would be able to go event to event to event. Next year I am making the transition to running as a professional, so I hope they invite me back. Coming here gets better and better every year. Save a lane for me for next season.”
In addition to competing in the hurdles, 2001 U.S. outdoor women’s long jump champion Jenny Adams returned to that event Saturday after a one year hiatus. Adams posted the third best mark at the meet with a jump of 6.47m/21-2.75, while University of Iowa junior Aisha James of Trinidad-Tobago posted the best mark at Drake on Saturday with a leap of 6.78m/22-3, which broke a 20-year old Drake Relays record in the women’s university-college long jump.
In men’s action on the track, Joey Woody (48.52) successfully defended his 400m hurdles title, and won his eighth Drake crown overall, easily winning ahead of Canadian runner-up Justin Romaniuk (50.01). Kenyan Bernard Lagat (1:46.89) won the 800 meters in a spirited battle over Americans Khadevis Robinson (2nd-1:47.01) and Derrick Peterson (3rd-1:47.37). In the men’s mile, Eastern Michigan University senior Boaz Cheboiywo of Kenya (3:59.61) edged American Michael Stember (3:59.69).
Field event competition was highlighted by 2000 Olympic gold medalist Nick Hysong’s win in the men’s pole vault with a clearance of 5.71m/18-8.75. Hysong defeated the #1 ranked pole vaulter in the world, Jeff Hartwig, who cleared 5.61m/18-4.75. University of Missouri senior Christian Cantwell, who placed third at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships, easily won the men’s shot put with a best of 21.16m/69-5.25. Runner-up John Davis had a best effort of 19.91m/65-4.
Grant Robison, a junior at Stanford, was named the recipient of the Maury White Award given to the outstanding performer of the men’s division. Robison, the reigning two-time Pac-10 Conference individual cross country champion, anchored Stanford to victories in men’s university-college 4xmile relay in 16:31.19 and the university division distance medley relay in 9:43.33. He ran a 4:04.3 anchor leg in the distance medley relay.
For more information on the 2003 Drake Relays, visit www.drakerelays.org.