MBB Flex Pack

2013 Drake Relays Quotes

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: April 24, 2013
Send this article to a friend Print RSS

Saturday Quotes - April 27

Illinois women’s 4x400 relay, 3:32.40. (Marissa Golliday SR, Morolake Akinosun FR, Ahlivia Spencer JR, Ashley Spencer SO). The Spencers are sisters. Ashley Spencer ran a 50.0 anchor leg. 

Marissa Goilliday

On her leg:

“We really just wanted to win and improve our time. I really wanted to give it a good kick off being the first leg. The Spencer sisters really kicked it in. Ahlivia did a nice job and with Ashley’s 50 leg we were in good shape.”

Ashley Spencer:

On her race: “With the workouts we do we should be very comfortable with our legs. The 4x400 is the best race in track in my opinion and to close out the Drake Relays weekend with a win was exciting.”

Morolake Akinosun: “With our 400 practices this is easy.”

Mark Jackson JR, Texas-El Paso, winner of University triple jump, 53-01.50. Jackson transferred from Texas. He has a torn his meniscus and will have surgery after the season to remove and repair.

On the event and the field:

“Weather was good. The crowd was good and they got hyped. I liked the momentum the crowd gave me. I thought I was jumping against them at first. I found out later that we were jumping separate. They kind of motivated me. I still wanted to win.”

On the jump:

“I got a 53 so I feel pretty good about that. This was the first I have jumped in about a month. I progressed on every jump so I feel pretty good.”

On the injury:

“I have a slight tear in my meniscus. I will have surgery on that after the season. Arthroscopic surgery. I am not letting it handicap me. I feel good.”

Reese Hoffa, Winner, Men’s Shot Put, London games Rematch, 71-02.75. Hoffa took home the bronze medal at the London Olympics game.

On competing again at Drake:

“Its pretty awesome to be back, I’ve missed it the last couple years, but to be back and throw well is something huge for me. This year I’ve struggled to find my throw, and to finally get it now is pretty nice. I would say I’ve found my “up” if you will, because otherwise I’ve been pretty flat.”

On finding his throw:

“Starting in the fall, we tried to do things that we were doing last year, and it throws us off a little, because we need to go back to the basics of what we would normally be doing. I think also not having an indoor season really affects it. I’ve done one event in Germany this year, where I finished second to Ryan [Whiting]. It throws me off a little because I’ve done every indoor season since I’ve been a professional, so to take a year off was a learning experience. I think it put me back a little, but I’m happy I’m finding it now.”

On what makes Drake special:

“I think it’s because I’ve competed here before as a collegiate when I was at Georgia and competed here all four years. I think people remember me, if not for my incredible throwing, but because I like to put on a show. I think it’s comfortable in a way, and I seem to throw really well here and have a lot of fun. The fans are receptive to my presence. It’s awesome.”

On competition during a non-Olympic year:

“I gave myself a goal, I want to defend my Diamond League championship, and also work to be the World Champion. I came into the year with a goal and a purpose, and I realized that they are very difficult, but I know if you don’t give yourself some lofty goals, it’s like ‘why I am doing this?’ and it keeps me accountable. I could slop through two seasons, and then get it together again come Olympics, but I just don’t think that is fair for the fans who come to see me throw, both at Drake and around the world.”

Ryan Whiting, Second Place, Men’s Shot Put Special, 70-01.50.

On competing at Drake:

“It is a great meet to start off the year with, with some great competition. I was the defending champion from 2012, so I really enjoy coming back for this event. It’s a good warm up for the rest of the year.”

On his goals for the future:

“My only goal right now is to make the U.S. team and since the competition will be here in Des Moines again it’s a nice advantage to have that I’ve already been here several times before.”

On competing against Resse Hoffa:

“It’s good for both of us; it keeps us sharp and on our toes. We go back and forth at most meets, hopefully it will come back to my side next time.”

Bjorn Otto, Winner, Men’s Pole Vault London Games Rematch, 18-08.25 (5.70m)

On today’s jumps:

“In the beginning it was quite good, and we had great weather conditions starting in warm-ups. This was also my first outdoor competition since September or October of last year because I didn’t go to the training camp this year. Then I changed my approach, it has been an adjustment, but in the end it has worked.”

On the pole vault in the mall event:

“It was a crazy event, everything was so close, and the spectators were really close to the approach. Everyone was clapping and it was very nice, I liked it.”

On beating London Games Olympic gold medalist Renauld Lavillenie:

“It’s good to beat him, but it is very early in the season. We both are at different places in our approaches, so I think at the next competition it will really help set us apart.

On competition at the Drake Relays for the first time:

“It was really great, I told my coach that next year we have to be back here.”

Renaud Lavillenie, third place, Men’s Pole Vault London Games Rematch, 18-00.50

On competing at Drake:

“I was very pleased at coming because the atmosphere was very cool, and interesting for me to see the competition, so it was good for the first time.”

On the Mall Event:

“It was very cool, because the place is very interesting. Pole Vaulting in the mall was very cool.”

On post-London goals:

“I plan to focus on Moscow for Worlds and to compete well.”

On today’s jumps:

“It was very hard today because my legs felt tired from a busy week.”

Des Moines Roosevelt, winner Girls 4x100 Meter High School Relay, 47.67. Teanna Lexis, SO Briyana Carter, FR, Jalynn Roberts-Lewis, JR, and Agnes Sayeh, SR


Agnes Sayeh, SR

On winning her fourth Relays title this weekend:

“It feels great coming back from yesterday, and winning my fourth. I knew when I got the baton I would need to push to put my team in first.”

On what Roosevelt’s 24 flags at the 2013 Drake Relays:

“I hope Roosevelt is proud of us because we work so hard for them everyday in practice, and we put worth the work and it shows in our performances.”

Briyana Carter, FR

On the orange ribbons the team has worn this week:

“We wear them to support and remember the Boston Marathon bombing. We’ve also all worn orange shoe laces in our spikes this week too.”

Dominique Kimpel, Iowa Central, winner, Girls UD/CD, 100 Meter Dash, 11.55.

On today’s race:

“I’m a little upset, because I tripped coming out of the blocks, and it had me stumbling through my first steps. But I recovered, and pushed through.”

On competing at Drake for the first time:

“I’m excited, because of the atmosphere here and how great the crowd is. This will definitely not be my last time here.”

On goals going forward:

“I would like to drop some more time off my 100 meter times, so I will be sitting well going into conference.”

Cedar Rapids Prairie, Winners, Boys 4x400 Meter Relay High School, 3:21.52. Tristian Beyer, JR, Lucan Howes, JR, Jarred Edmonds, SR and Demetrius Harper, SR.

Demetrius Harper, anchor

On their checker-board jerseys:

“Our long distance guys started to wear them, but we are all one team so we started wearing them too.”

On his leg of the relay:

“Last night, we were going over how we had all ran in prelims, and I told them that I thought I kicked a little early, but the guys all had faith in me and told me I’ve trained hard enough to get it, and then today at the last 100 were I usually kick, it came down to the guy in front of me and I had to take it.”

Lucan Howes, JR

On his missing the 2012 title, won by Prairie:

“I was hurt last year for this meet, I had injured my hamstring two weeks before and didn’t run with these guys and Jarred stepped in. I’ve been thinking about this all year.”


Nebraska, winner, Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay University, 3:03.79, Levi Gipson, FR, Christian Sandefer, FR, Cody Rush, FR and Janis Leitis, SR.

Levi Gipson, FR, Leadoff

On their time today:

“We knew we had to come out and run good splits to get a good time. I wanted to go out and give us a good start, I know the first leg is weird with the stagger, but I wanted to max out and give my team a good lead.”

Christian Sandefer, FR, second leg

On their time today:

“We ran well, we always try to run well for Nebraska each time out, since Levi, Cody and I are all Nebraska boys. We want to go out and push even further and do our best every time.”

Janis Leitis, SR, Anchor

On his anchor leg:

“I was watching them on the big screen while I was running to keep track of him and how close he was. I just wouldn’t let him past me.”

Carly Hamilton, Georgia, Women’s 1500 Meter Run, Winner, 4:12.15. Hamilton set a new Drake Relays record.

On breaking the Drake Relays record

“That’s awesome. That’s a huge goal. I wanted to hit 4:12 or 4:13, because I really want to try to make it to the U.S. Trials this year and my coach told me the mark was always around 4:12 or 4:13 so that’s what I was aiming for, but I didn’t know I’d be able to get it here today. It feels awesome. I’m just really excited to win that time.”

On the competition:

“I knew it was a really competitive meet; and there was a good group of SEC girls even, Laura [Roxburg] from Missouri and Kristin [Findley] from Vanderbilt; just a couple of really good girls. So I knew it was going to be a competitive race and I’m just glad it ended like that.”

 On the spectators:

“This is my first time. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s nice to be around people that really appreciate track and we felt really welcomed.”

Christian Taylor, Li-Ning, top finisher, Triple Jump, 17.12 (56-02.00). Taylor is the 2012 Olympic Gold medalist. He was a three-time NCAA Champion while competing at Florida. In 2011, Taylor set the Drake Stadium Record at the NCAA Championships.

On his early season performance:

“Obviously the focus was speed this year. Last year we did a lot of strength work and I did a couple of 200s coming into this. It’s going to be a long year trying to defend my title so I’m just keeping that in the back of my mind. I’m enjoying every day in the U.S. It’s my first competition. Last year I opened at 16.80 so anything above that is progress and a move in the right direction.”

On being back at Drake Stadium:

“Besides seeing family and friends I’m glad I’m back here at Drake. If you’ve seen the stadium records or results, you know I love jumping here. I love being here and so it was an honor to get an invite to perform here against the competition.”

On the remainder of the season:

“I want to keep trying new things, and doing things to keep my mind off of being too technical in the jumps. I don’t want to be locked into that box. I want to keep switching it up and keep changing. When I was young, I was doing all of these events and it was just fun. When I became professional, it became more business related, so I just want to find the fun sense again.”

On his history here, worst and best memory at Drake Stadium:

“Worst memory would have to be the 4x100. I did the triple jump prelims then went straight to the 4x100 and believed in my team, but we didn’t get the baton around. That was hard, but it really pumped me up to my greatest memory which is jumping the triple jump finals right after that. You could literally hear it in the last jump how the stadium literally lifts up whoever is on at the time. I really just felt the fuel off that crowd and the frustration of that relay and used it to my advantage. My worst and best happened at the same event, and the crowd really played into that moment for me.”

Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles London Games Rematch. The top four finishers completed the top four times in the world this year.

Queen Harrison, Saucony, winner, 12.71. Harrison posted the top time in the world this year.

On her time:

“I felt like it was a really great time, especially early in the season and such a loaded field. I was a little nervous in the beginning, but I showed that my training is going well and I’m confident in switching to just hurdles this year.”

On the cluster of Lewis, Jones, Wells and Harper in the middle lanes:

“I think it really helped because they are known to have really great starts so I was able to go out hard allow them to pull me through the first two hurdles, which helped me out in the backside of the race. In the middle, I couldn’t really see them, so it was good and bad because I am a really fierce competitor and even if I was next to them I would have ran just as hard.”

On beating Harper, Wells, and Jones:

“It feels really good. I haven’t known what it feels like to be in the front. I’m learning again to become comfortable in the front position and comfortable with winning. I know it’s weird to say that, but when you’re at the world level, sometimes you’re a little nervous and scared of the other competitors. Now I am comfortable saying it. I am one of the best in the world.”

Dawn Harper, Nike, finished 2nd, 12.74. 2012 Olympic silver medalist, 2008 Olympic gold medalist.

On the season so far:

“I literally started on Monday this week. I’ve probably gone over the hurdles a handful of times. I really think that it went well.”

On Queen Harrison:

“I saw Queen (Harrison), I saw someone make a move, but I was like I have what I have so let’s see how it plays out.”

On the times in the race:

“It was a stacked field. Drake and Hy-Vee coming together really put together a really good quality race for my first race. You guys are awesome for doing that. That’s what you want. You want to race against the best in the world.”

On opening her season at Drake Relays:

“I was a little nervous, like did I really just sign up for my first race to be at Drake. I know who they have there. I’ve ran here before. I know I have the competitive instinct and I’ll go for it every time. I really thought I had it.”

On being at Drake Relays, in Jones’ backyard:

“I wish that we had something like this back home in St. Louis. It’s great that the kids can come out and knowing that this is what they want to do to see people doing what they want to compete at, the dedication it takes, and seeing it play out. I love it. People can say what they want about Lolo and I but I really appreciate to see these people that supported her from the beginning all the way to now, good or bad. Me and her were never on bad terms. I really feel like it was blown way out of proportion. We talked about it and I let her know honestly from the bottom of my heart that anything that was said never meant any harm. We are fine. I support her 100%.”Kellie

Wells, Nike, finished 3rd, 12.78. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist.

 On the deep field: “Whenever you line up the top seven the world in one you are going to get fast times.”

On the pressure: “I did not feel pressure. A race is a race, and track is track. I line up against these girls almost every race. The U.S. Nationals is going to be here. If we are going to run Lolo’s back yard, we better get used to it.”

On the race: “This race was to piece things together. All that matters is Nationals and Worlds.”

Race after struggling in the blocks: “I tried to reel in my competition and not go crazy. I know my race and myself. If it would have happened two years ago, I would have gone crazy.”

Lolo Jones, Asics, finished 4th, 12.79. Hometown hero, two-time Olympian.

On the race:

“I thought I got out pretty good, but I’m just not race ready right now. I did the best I could out there. It was a good start and I’m impressed because it was into a head wind and the seven step is harder, so I was surprised with my race. A lot of people are going to be like ‘oh, such a disappointment, she finished fourth again’ and to those I say I ran my butt off out there. It was a great field and a great race.”

On the crowd:

“As an athlete you like that, you thrive off of it. It’s my first race and they want to see that rematch. In all actuality, it’s not a London rematch, the London Games are the end of the season, this is the beginning of my season. The thing I really want is to win the gold at World Championships.”

On Queen Harrison:

“She was running in lane two and the good thing about that is that you can’t see anything. You’re oblivious to the dogfight in the middle. You can sneak up in there.”

Lincoln High School, Winner, boy’s 4 x 100 meter relay, 42.776. (Vybert Greene SR, Mason Downing SO, Jordan Bryson JR, Jordan Cheatem). Edged Linn-Mar by 3 1,000ths of a second.

Vybert Greene:

On the tight race:

“It comes down to practice and doing those little things. We all push ourselves to see who can get there first.”

Mason Downing:

On the race:

“He gave us a lead. To me I didn’t get off so hard and I had to switch hands on the hand-off and it seemed like it took seconds. They are quick and the Linn-Mar guy was coming so I knew Jordan had to get off quick.”

Jordan Bryson

On the race:

“It was all ‘Mr. Clutch’ (Cheatem). I just wanted to set it up so Jordan could take it in.”

Jordan Cheatem

On the race:

“The guy (Linn-Mar’s Tim Wolfe) was right neck-and neck. I was looking at the scoreboard and saw our name first. It was a pretty good win because we knew we could do it. I never leaned so hard in my life. I knew it was going to be by a hair. Those Linn-Mar guys are quick. They are pretty young and going to be great in the future. We had to take this one for our confidence.”

Nick Willis, New Zealand, Men’s 1 Mile Special, 3.55.70.

On not breaking a record:

“When I realized I wasn’t in range in getting the record I sort of enjoyed the last 400 meters a little bit. You don’t get those opportunities to savor it very often, so I wanted to make the most of it.”

On the Drake Stadium:

“My first time walking into the stadium was only ten minutes before the race. I’d seen videos, but it really still surprised me how grand this scale was, because when you’re out on the street you don’t realize that it’s sort of dug down into the ground a little bit so it surprises you - it’s a bit like the Michigan football stadium in that regard.” 

On the spectators:

“I’d seen the video of the races the night before, and the crowd was maybe two-thirds full so to come in today and see not one spare seat that really gets you to the next level and makes you think, “Gosh, I better put a good performance today.  It was really fun to do the celebration lap.”

Ruth Beitia, Spain, Women’s High Jump London Games Rematch, Winner, 6-4.75 (1.95m)

On her performance:

“I’m very happy. This is my first time in the U.S.A. for jumping and I won!”

On the Drake Relays crowds:

“The atmosphere was incredible.”

On her score:

“It was my first my competition and I’m happy. 1.95 is a good reference.  I think I can fight for medals. I wanted to at least tie the record.”

Minnesota, Winners,Women Distance Medley University, 11:06.47.. Katie Hill, JR, Alena Brooks, SR, Te’Shon Adderly, JR, Laura Docherty, SR. 

Laura Docherty, SR

On importance of Drake relay distance medley relay title to them:

“It’s extremely important especially since this is our coach’s last relays ever so this one was of great importance to all of us.” 

On running 4:37 in her 1600:

“I knew I had a lot of strength from my 10k training and in this race I was just seeing whatever I had and pushed really hard in the middle. “I ended up feeling pretty good so I went for it.”

Te’Shon Adderly, JR

On importance of Drake relay distance medley relay title to them:

 “I think it was great to take the victory, but it’s all for coach.” 

On sitting a little behind:

“We were just going with the flow, whatever position we were at we were just like you know what handle it, bring it home, and we’ll just work it from wherever we are.” 

Alena Brooks, SR

On importance of Drake relay distance medley relay title to them:

 “Coach Wilson coming into the meet was like, this is my last relay here and you guys better win.” 

Janice Jackson, JR, Texas-El Paso, Winner, Women 100 Meter Hurdles Univ/Col. 

On winning:

“It feels really awesome because my teammates that were in the Shuttle Hurdle, they got disqualified so I was like I really have to win for you guys.” “I know everyone loves the prizes that Drake has, like the Oakleys they’re so cool.” 

On being motivated:

“I was definitely motivated by that happening to the shuttle this morning, and my coach told me that we only have to focus on one thing which is sprinting, no matter what happens, just sprint and that’s what I really tried to go out and do today.” 

On running at Drake:

“My first time running here was last year so I have ran here before. The weather here today is awesome, I’ve had a lot of fun, and I enjoy coming to Drake.” 

Zusana Hejnova, Czech Republic, Winner, 54.41, Women 400 Meter Hurdles London Games Rematch. Hejnova set the number one time in the world for this event. She won a bronze medal at the London Olympics. 

On the race:

“I expected a little bit better time. It was windy today and that’s not good for our event, but I’m happy I broke the stadium record so I have to be happy.” 

On choosing the 400m hurdles over other events:

“I was a very good runner and I also was very skillful. I tried the 400m sprint and I run very good time when I was 15 years old so after that I tried the hurdles and I did very good. I think it’s the best race for me.” 

On choosing to compete at Drake Relays:

“I was invited from a manager who contacted my manager from the Czech Republic and I agreed with the invitation. It was a very good start for the season for me.” 

On first time in Des Moines:

“It is very nice. I go to the host family here and they are very great. I am very happy to be here.” 

Vanier Joseph, JR, Illinois, Winner, 13.59, Men 110-Meter Hurdles University/College 

On the crowd:

“Oh it was phenomenal, I loved it. I love running in big crowds.” 

On the weather: “It’s wonderful. Lately, it’s been really cold in Illinois so it’s nice to actually feel the sun and get some good weather to run in.” 

James Lambert, SR, Southern Illinois, Winner, Men Hammer Throw University/College

On winning:

“It feels pretty good. I had a pretty good throw, the second best throw of my life. One of my goals this year was to win the Drake Relays. It’s one of my favorite meets. Plus, it’s my senior year so to win Drake Relays is a big honor.” 

On weather:

“It’s beautiful Drake weather, the best since I’ve been here. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Waukee High School, Winner, Girls 4x100 Meter Shuttle Hurdle High School, 62.84. Emma Drees, SR, Mallory Smith, JR, Emily Kamm, SR, Maddie Rouw, SR. Defended their title from last year, while setting an all-time best run.

Mallory Smith, JR

On running victory lap with teammates and boys team:

 “It was amazing, we were so excited when they ran their prelims and hoped that we both we would and that the victory lap would be just so amazing. And that’s exactly what it was, there is no other feeling like it.

On looking at the clock and seeing their time:

“We [Maddie Rouw and herself] came sprinting to the finish line to celebrate with everyone.

On what this means for Waukee:

“This is really big; it shows how hard we worked. We worked really hard for this and it definitely feels good. We’re excited for state now.”

Maddie Rouw, SR

 On defending their title:

“It was really exciting, that’s exactly what we want to do. We wanted to break 1.03 and we did it.”

On watching the boys’ race after their win:

”It was heart racing. Noah was in the lead and we know how amazing Noah is and then it got head and head and then at the end we just had a feeling that Jared would pull it off and he did. It was awesome.”

Emily Kamm,SR

On looking at the clock and seeing their time:

“It was shocking. We were not expecting it at all.”

On how it felt first time on the team and winning:

“They’re really good to me and keep me up and tell me what I need to do. I feel comfortable around them. I was an alternate with them last year so I know what they expect. I push myself to be like them.”

Waukee High School, Winner, Boys 4x110 Meter Shuttle Hurdle High School, 57.35. Noah Larrison, JR, Josh Brdicko, JR, Riley Gray, SR, Jared Brdicko, JR.

Josh Brdicko, JR

On girls defending title:

“I turned around and said to Jared they won now we’ve got to win, we can do it too.”

On the victory lap:

“That was awesome, running with the girls and showing how good Waukee hurdles is becoming, we’ve both just kind of put it all together.”

On the race:

“Right as I got out of the blocks I saw the Linn Mar guy was running down, and then I saw myself pass him and I saw the Kennedy kid on the side of me and so I was just like trying to kick it. I think it gave me more motivation seeing that.”

On not knowing if they had won:

“No I didn’t know right away, I knew it was really close, I didn’t even know what our time was until I looked up at the board and saw we had won.”

Noah Larrison, JR

On girls defending title:

“The whole time in the field house we were all sitting there thinking that we are both going to win this, this is something that were going to do.”

On the finish: “To be honest, I didn’t think that we won, but then I looked on the board and I just screamed and immediately ran over.”

Riley Gray, SR

On emotional experience:

“I think it shows how close we are as a school, not just in sports but having the support from everyone.”

Cedar Rapids Kennedy, second place, Boys shuttle hurdle relay, 57.36. Tom Kaiser, SR, Marcus Perkins, JR, Derek Jacobus, JR, Famiek Cook, JR. Finish one one-thousandth behind Waukee.

Famiek Cook, JR, Anchor leg

On his effort:

“I told them that I would run my hardest. If they do their part, I’d do mine. I tried hard. I tried to get it and didn’t get there quite yet. I’ll get there eventually… next year.”

On his team’s effort:

“We all work together and work hard. We keep our heads in the game. We came from a long way. We had injuries, battled and came back. I’m proud of our guys. There is nothing better than being here with your team. I would have loved a win, but I love my team more than anything.”

 On the close loss:

“It hurts, but it’s a team effort, we all work hard, and we came here to compete. That’s all we could do. We’ll try again next year.”

Georgia, winners, Men’s University 1600 Spring Medley University, 3:17.72. Pierce Vincent, FR, Johnathan Smith, JR, Drew Branch, SO and Charles Grethen, SO.

Johnathan Smith, JR

On today’s race:

 “It felt good, we each have a couple more runs today so it was a lot about focusing the energy we have

Drew Branch, SO

On the Drake Relays:

“This is our favorite meet to compete in, it’s just amazing with the crowd because the stadium wraps all the way around. No other event has a crowd like this where everyone is constantly clapping and into the events.”

Johnathan Smith, JR

On the Georgia team support:

“Everyone is competing well right now so it’s great to see and have everyone here together.”

Eseroghene Okoro, SR, Iowa State, winner, Women’s 400 meter hurdles, 57.43. Eseroghene finished second to teammate Kianna Elahi in the 2012 Drake Relays. Her time of 57.43 puts her at tenth in the country for the 400 meter hurdles this year. Her twin sister, Ejiroghene, won a Drake Relays title Thursday in the 4x1600 for Iowa State.

On (finally) holding the Drake champion flag:

“Last year was like a stepping stone to this. It gives me confidence to know what I’m capable of and what I can do.”

“It’s a twin thing… she would have never let me hear the end if I didn’t get one too.”

On winning her race:

“It feels really good. It’s a PR so that’s good. I got my time down before the Big 12 Championships. The start of the season was really slow because of the cold, so I hadn’t been able to work on my stride progression as much as I would have liked, but I got it going today.”

Mara Griva, SR, Nebraska, Winner, Women’s Triple Jump, 13.50 m (44-03.50).

On winning at Drake:

“It feels really great, I finally got some good marks so I’m really satisfied.”

On jumping at Drake:

“I’ve been here before, one year was good, the other year was so-so, so this year is good and this is my senior year so I’m really happy.”

On competing against Olympian Amanda Smock:

“It feels really great, also yesterday I competed with an Olympian so it makes me nervous but it is an honor to compete with them.”

Academy of Arts, Winner, women’s  4x100 Shuttle Hurdle, 52:50.00. Vashti Thomas, JR, Briana Stewart, SR, Dinesha Bean, JR, Julian Purvis, SR. New Drake Relays and Stadium Record.

 Julian Purvis, SR, Anchor

On people not knowing much about the Academy of Arts: “I think people always question, ‘what is Academy of Arts?’”

 Dinesha Bean, JR, third leg

On the crowd: “The crowd was really supportive. It felt really good. After we won they were excited.”  

On setting a new Drake Relays record: “That was our goal going in.”

 Vashti Thomas, JR, first leg

On setting a new Drake Relays record: “It was the best moment ever. That record was going down.”

Stephanie Jenks, FR., Linn-Mar, Winner, Girls 1500. Jenks also won the 3000 on Thursday.

 On the win:

“All I wanted is to qualify for Drake in one event. I got to Drake four events and I was really pumped up. I decided that I was going to try and win a title. I went out with the leaders and gave it my all, the whole time.”

On the victory lap: “I did not want to take the victory lap alone. A lot my friends were here and they work really hard too. I grabbed I couple friends to do the victory lap with me and they were really excited.”

On pre race: “I was real nervous before the race and getting the butterflies. When we got on to the track they announced that we and had 12 more minutes. I was like no and put me out of misery right now. Once the race started I was fine and I went out with the leaders.”

Josh Evans, JR, Linn-Mar, Boys 1600 Meter Run, 4:10.86.New Drake Relays Record, All-time best boys 1600 time in Iowa, seventh best high school time in country. 

On his thoughts before the race: “I felt like I had a shot at it. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, and the conditions today were going to work out. I knew Jason Thomas was going to be there. I knew I had all the parts, I just needed to push it.”

On setting a new Drake Relays record: “It was pretty cool. It still hasn’t really caught up with me. It was right at my goal – 4:10.”

On the kick: “That was my strategy – I was going to try really hammer it the third lap, because for me that’s my strength is just being able to click out paces and the third lap is generally the hardest mentally in the lap because you’ve still got half the race to go. My goal was just hammer the third lap and hang on with whatever I had left on the fourth lap. I knew Jason Thomas was coming, I knew somebody had to be coming so I knew I couldn’t wait up for them.”

On having the seventh best time in the country: “I kind of look at [rankings] every now and then, but it’s not of huge importance, but that’s pretty cool.”

On the favorite to win, Jason Thomas, SR, Dowling-Catholic: “He was pretty much the favorite coming in, but really my goal was just to give him a run for his money. I wasn’t sure if I had enough to beat him. After I saw his 800 yesterday – this kid is fast, he’s the real deal. I just wanted to push him. I just wanted to really run for a PR; I wasn’t totally focused on beating him. I just wanted to push him and myself.”

Brittany Smith, SR, Illinois State, winner, women’s university hammer throw, 63.88 meters (208-10 feet). 

On the field of competitors:

“The field was really good. A lot of the girls here are in my conference. There was a lot of good competition. I think the big thing this year has been the weather. It has taken a lot of people a long time to get into our big throws. It was a nice day today, probably the best I have had.” 

On her Drake Relays goal:

“I really just wanted to build on each throw. I knew they were going to have some good throws so I just wanted to build on my last throw. I didn’t do it, but I thought I had a decent series. My PR is actually a 68 so I have a way to go. That was last year. I have a new coach so we have been tweaking some things and with the weather I have not got there yet.”

On Drake Relays:

“I like it here but the rings sometimes scare me. Once you hit the edge you become aware of it and you think you fouled. It is a great atmosphere with all the people around, especially in the shot put. I know it won’t be like that at conference. I have been here plenty of times.” 

On remainder of season:

“I would like to win a couple conference titles and a national title. I know if I just make my throws those other things will come. I would like to make a couple All-Americans again.” 

Jordan Williams, SR, Northern Iowa, winner, men’s university discus, 58.07 meters (190-06).

Williams edged Iowa’s Gabe Hull (SO), by two centimeters (58.05, 190-05). Williams fouled on two of three throws in finals. Winning throw came on first throw of finals. Has thrown at Drake Relays for his entire high school and collegiate careers, but has never won. 

On finals throws:

That last throw was nerve-racking since Gabe (Hull) had another throw left. I knew he could make a throw to beat me. I was really excited I got in finals and got one out there. My only goal was to win.” 

On fouls in finals:

It is kind of a habit with me after I get a big throw. I get the adrenaline going and can’t keep that ringed in.” 

On Gabe Hull:

“Gabe is a great competitor. I have thrown against him many times. I knew he was going to come after me.” 

On throwing at Drake:

“It’s been a little hit-and-miss with the weather this year. It has been hard to get in a lot of good practices in. This will be a big confidence builder going into the conference meet. I have been competing here since high school and this is my first time winning. This is a huge deal for me. Having grown up in Iowa, my dad was my coach. I have always liked track and field. It is a part of my life. I have been coming here for nine years. I knew this would be last time competing here as an attached athlete.”

Illinois, winner, women’s,  1600 Sprint Medley University, 3:45.75. Morolake Akinosun (FR), Ahilivia Spencer(JR), Ashley Spencer(SO), Samantha Murphy(JR).

Ahilvia Spencer, JR

On enjoying Drake:

“Oh, it’s a lot of fun here. This is my first time here. I’m having a lot of fun. That crowd really gets into the race.”

Samantha Murphy, JR

On enjoying Drake:

“Here it is more relaxed and people are getting everyone to where they need to be. I like Drake. We had to decide between Penn Relays and here. I’m glad we picked to come to Drake.”

Morolake Akinosun, FR

On the weather:

“It’s beautiful out today. You couldn’t ask for better running weather.”

Travis Mahoney, unattached, top finisher, men’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase, 8:45.22.

On the crowd:

“It was nice, a lot of people. I was here the past two NCAA’s and it’s a pretty similar atmosphere. It was good conditions, nice and warm.”

On gaining lead:

“I was kind of just working on my technique the first 2,000 and kind of start hitting it my last 1,000. So I executed the race plan. I was hoping for a little faster time but that’s not a bad season opener at all.”

Elise Sigg, SR, Illinois State, winner, women’s 3,000 Meter Steeplechase, 10:12.64.

On returning to the Drake Relays: “I just wasn’t as prepared last year – it was one of my first steeplechases so I’ve just been training hard, hoping to keep getting PRs. I was looking forward to winning because it’s my last Drake Relays.”

On her PR: “I did [PR], by about seven seconds.”

On the weather: “It was not as windy as it usually is and the temperature wasn’t too hot. It felt good, it was very good weather for running.”

On her push in the last 200 meters: “I wasn’t looking at the video board and I didn’t know how close anyone was and I just really wanted to seal my victory. I was just going for it.”

On the barriers: “I still have some work to do on my form, but I felt better than previous steeples.”

Valley (West Des Moines), winners, girls 4x800 meter relay, 9:24.84.

Torey Brown, JR, 3rd leg

On her the race:

“The start was kind of scary just because there was a huge pack. Shep (Melissa Shepherd, SR) built me a gap on her run. I kept the lead and handed it off to Lydia (Saggau, SR), who took it home for us:

On the Drake Relays title:

“I sure each of us will have students and teachers congratulate us on the win. It means a lot to us to win in front of this crowd.”

Iowa City-West, winners, Boy’s 4x800 Meter Relay High School, 7:48.99. Iowa City-West posted the seventh fasted time in the nation.

Kaleb Greiner, JR, Anchor

On the last leg:

“I was thinking about my team the last 100-meters and you know I pulled it off. Coach has us doing a workout called “Cones” where you build up every 50 meters you try to find a new gear – and I guess I found it.”

Bailey Wetherell, SR

On winning:

“I think it’s been a goal of ours, even last year, we wanted to come to Drake and we wanted to do a victory lap, instead of two laps we wanted to run three laps.”

On beating Monticello right at the end:

“Way back in the indoor season we ran against them at Iowa State and they were a good ways ahead of us so this is the second time we’ve ran against them and we knew they were going to be tough.”

Dallas Lumpa, Monticello, SR, Anchor

On getting second: “I let a lot of my guys down. I know they wanted it just as bad as I did.”

On the relays: “But getting second at Drake relays is amazing.”  

Friday Quotes - April 26

Mara Griva,SR, Nebraska, winner (university/college), women’s long jump, 6.25 meters, 20-11.75.

On the event:

“It was long and cold out there. This is my second competition and so far it has been cold. I thought I was jumping okay. The wind was cold, but I was able to get that behind me.”

On Olympians Brittany Reese and Janay DeLoach:

“It was good to have them, but I was really nervous jumping ahead of them. They are really great athletes.”

On the rest of the season:

“I have conference, then regionals and nationals. I am working to prepare for them.”

Brittany Reese, women’s long jump London Games Rematch, winner, 6.94 meters, 22-09.25 feet. No.1 long jumper in 2012. London gold medalist. Hit 6.94 on final jump of the night. Also in the competition was London bronze medalist Janay DeLoach.

On today’s performance:

“Today I just wanted to come out and try to get a personal best. I am not all the way to full approaching it. I know I have some things to work on. It is basically me getting into a rhythm and this is a good meet with good competition to do that. All and all I have the world lead. That just tells me I am where I need to be right now.”

On Janay DeLoach and the field:

“Having Janay helped push me today. Drake put together a great field to be able to compete and for us to be able to work. Drake did a great job to get us out here early and prepare us for the season.”

On the event:

“It was good out there at first, then it got cold. With the help of the crowd that helped us a whole lot and get some good jumps for the crowd.”

Janay DeLoach, runner-up, women’s long jump London Games Rematch, 6.92, 22-08.50 feet

On the weather:

“I have windy days before. It was a good day, cold, but good.”

On jump strategy:

“I wanted to make sure I hit my spots and block all the wind I could.”

On Brittany and the collegians:

“Yes she pushes me a lot. I am working on getting to the point where I push her. I remember jumping against Mara last year. So yeah there are some great prospects in the field.”

Dusty Jonas, winner, men’s high jump London Games Rematch, 7-07 feet

Ties record he held with, Drake Relays Director Brian Brown. Jonas missed last year following Achilles surgery.

On trying for a new Drake Record at 7-10:

“I think some of the misses at some of the earlier bars kind of hurt me a little bit. I was not trying to save myself, but I think it took some of my energy.”

On the event:

“Overall for the kind of day and my second time out it was good. I have not practiced outdoors because I live over in Lincoln (Nebraska). So overall I am happy with my performance.”

On coming back from surgery:

I had surgery in February (2012) and I finally took a jump with tennis shoes just before Thanksgiving. I jumped seven foot so I am still working on my strength. My season progression has been good. I am looking forward to coming back for USAs.”

On tying his own record:

“It is mine and Brian’s record. I tied it two years ago. In 2011 I jumped 7-7 and it is good to come back and jump that today especially after being out a whole year. It has been a long road back.”

Jeremy Wariner, adidas, second place, 400 Meter Dash London Games Rematch, 45.35. Wariner is a four-time Olympic medalist with a long standing history at the Drake Relays.

On his history at Drake and making the Hall of Fame:

“It means a lot. I came here with Baylor and the fans have always been supportive. Coming here is like running at home for me. I just want to continue to come here and put on a good show for this amazing crowd every year.”

On the race:

“Tonight I executed better than I did last week, so my time was lower, but its early in the season.”

On Santos:

“I should have went with him when he went to get past me, but I let Santos get away from me. Things happen. I know I have some proving to do, but I’ll get the work in.”

On his focus for the year:

“Every year is different. Right now my goal is to improve my time, work on my race, and get my execution right.

Lugelin Santos, Puma, winner, 400 Meter Dash London Games Rematch, 44.74. Santos is a Cuban native who won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics at the age of 18 and the 2012 World Junior Champion. 

A statement about the race, provided by translator Elizabeth Robinson, Drake University:

“For him, it was a great experience. He’s had a great time here. He feels well about how he preformed and the competition in general.”

Georgia, winner, women’s 4x200 Meter Relay, 1:34.01. Brianna Vaughn, FR, Shaunae Miller, FR, Rashan Brown, FR, and Quintunya Chapman, SO.

Quintunya Chapman, SO, Anchor

On running in the first heat:

“We weren’t too surprised because our 200 meter times are really good, and we just expected to run our best. We were nervous having to wait through two other heats, but I was just relieved when it was all finally over and we had won.” 

Rashman Brown, FR

On running at Drake:

“For my first time running here I thought it was pretty good, and the crowd was really amusing, so I would say it was a great first experience and I would be excited to come back.”

Purdue, winners, men’s 4x200 Meter Relay, 1:23.85. Eric Harris, SR, Mario JR, Andrew Kendrick, SR and Andre’ Peart, SR. 

Andre’ Peart, SR, Anchor

On their time:

“We just came in with a game plan, our coach said come in and execute. We improved on some of our previous times so we are happy with that.”

Erica Harris, SR, Leadoff

On the upcoming Big Ten Championships:

“We are going to execute in everything we compete in and just make it happen.” 

Notre Dame, winners, women’s 4x800 Meter Relay, 8:33.65. Kelly Curran, JR, Alexa Aragon, JR, Danielle Aragon and Rebecca Tracy, SR.

Kelly Curran, JR, Leadoff

On coming into the event:

“We all really enjoy running this relay, and we don’t get to run it a lot, and we love this event. We were told last year that if we didn’t win this event we couldn’t come back so we ran this year with that same mentality.” 

Alexa Aragon, JR, Third Leg

On upcoming goals:

“We made finals this year for indoor, and we want to do that again this year for outdoor and make it happen.”

Minnesota, winners, men’s 4x800 Meter Relay, 7:26.49. Goaner Deng, FR, Alex Brend, FR, Travis Burkstrand, SR, and Harun Abda, SR. 

Travis Burkstrand, SR Third Leg

On defending their 2012 Drake Relays 4x800 title:

“Harun and I have ran in the last two, and we have two new guys with us now, but we knew they could put down good legs for us, get us out front and we can close it out. They did a great job of getting us the baton where we needed it.”

Goaner Deng, FR, Lead off

On the race:

“It went out a little slower than I think we expected it to, but I handed off to Alex, and Travis and Harun did a good job finishing up business at the end.”

Yarisley Silva, Cuba, winner, women’s pole vault 15-11.00.

Interview was done through a translator, Elizabeth Robinson, Drake University.

On how today went:

“She came here and was comfortable which was important to her because this was a new experience to her, and they came here with the goal to succeed and to succeed for Cuba.”

On thoughts on the weekend with Vaulting at the Mall and today’s competition:

“Overall it was a magnificent week, she came in with certain goals and she met them. She really liked the environment here because it made her feel welcome and she enjoyed the competition.”

Jenny Simpson, New Balance, winner, 1500 Meter Run London Games Rematch, 4:03.35. Simpson’s time of 4:03.35 set a new Drake Stadium record and the best recorded time in the event in the world this year. Simpson is a native Iowan, the defending World Outdoor Champion, a two-time Drake Relays Champion, the collegiate record holder in the 1500 and Steeplechase, a 2008 Olympian in the Steeplechase and 2012 Olympian in the 1500.

On the race:

“It was a good race today. The weather was actually pretty good. I was really happy and excited that there was some sunshine and the wind had died down some. When we got on the track, the wind had died down some so I just thought I’d tuck in behind the rabbit and use her as much as I can. She had mentioned that she was going to go at anywhere from 800 to 1,000 meters, so it was my job to follow her. When she stepped to the outside at 800 meters I knew without knowing splits we must have kept a pretty honest pace. In a strange way, I think that really motivated me and made me feel really good in taking over the lead because I felt relaxed and great. The next 300 meters I just tried to keep my eye on her on the outside while pushing the pace and I thought ‘two windy straights to go.’ When I got to that final lap I knew I had to close hard. The best part about the 1500 meters in the last lap while feeling strong.”

On breaking the record:
“That was what the fist pumping was for at the end. I have a lot of family here, a lot of history here. My grandpa was a Drake graduate so the first thing I thought was I get to have my name on the stadium. I really didn’t think I was ready to run below the 4:05 mark this early in the season but I’m really excited to have done it.”

On the PA calling the race:

“That was so exciting when I heard that I felt good. That was the only time I heard the announcer in the race was around the last 400 saying that I need to run the last lap in under 65 seconds or something like that and I was like ‘I’ve got this, I know I can do it, even with the wind.’ So it felt great. The finishing stretch was so hard because it was so windy but I was so full of joy by that point so it was not oppressive at all. I was really excited.”

On her coaching changes and moving back to Boulder:

“My husband’s job is there and my alma mater is there. I have to give a huge thank you to the University of Colorado and our Athletic Director in the way he has supported me throughout my college career and the way they welcomed me back. There is a little bit of a spring in our step to the lifestyle we have that we missed a little bit. I’ve learned a lot and really cherish the last years. It’s really just made things better.”

Mary Cain, US, 4:10.72.,  London Games Rematch. Cain is the youngest ever athlete to run in the Drake Relays invitational field, turning 17 next week. Cain won the 2013 U.S. Indoor Championship and set a national high school record for the 1500 meter run earlier this year.

On the race:

“That was a good race. I broke the national record again which I was excited about. It’s a PR for me and a good first race of the season. It was hard out there I thought that it was more of a pack race but everyone was fighting their own wind out there and the last 400 I really tried to hit it hard and I gained a little bit of ground because I’m a kicker, but I think it’s harder to kick when there’s no one around.”

On the pace set by Jenny Simpson:

“That was a fast pace; she was going for the 4:05 and everyone else was going strong with her. I think I struggled a little bit. I really tried to keep up and I think I can do better next time. It was really the first race, really windy, and I don’t think I could go for a 4:03 the first race so I was going in there with a different mindset than the leaders. I thought it would be a 4:08 or 4:09, but it was a great race any way.”

On the end of the race:

“I’ve been training a lot on indoor tracks so I should probably try to start kicking earlier, but as I was coming through I was like ‘do I really only have one lap left?’ I’m so used to it being more laps on the track from indoor, but it’s a really good race and I’m really happy about it.”

On Drake Relays:

“I was really excited to come here because part of the reason why I’m running these races is to try to do well and push myself but it’s really to get experience running against the best because when I’m older this is really what I want to do. I’m still young and I still just have to take races like this one step at a time. Before the race I kept telling myself ‘you learn from mistakes, so if this isn’t the best race of your life, you can still learn. I wasn’t making excuses; I just really wanted to run well.”

On her growth as a runner:

“I think I’ve increased so much mentally going into these races, but I used to be much more nervous before these races. I’ve matured a lot and had that been the perfect race I really could have gone faster. Wind conditions and the field, it wasn’t really my day, but it’s a lot better than a year ago.”

Michael Tinsley, adidas, winner, 400 Meter Hurdles London Games Rematch, 48.55. Tinsley is the current world leader in the 400 Meter Hurdles and was the 2012 London Olympics silver medalist.

On how he feels after the race:

“I’m alright, just a tough race today. A little tired. I ran really hard today with that tough wind and I just needed some time to catch my breath a little.”

On the race and how the crowd impacts him:

“I just wanted to come out and have fun. It’s still early in the season and I’m running pretty well. The crowd was great. These guys pay a lot of money to come see us and they want to see us have a good time so I want to show the crowd a lot of love because they showed me a lot of love coming home to the line. The crowd roaring just gave me that little extra energy to get across the line first.”

On a London Games Rematch:

“I run against these guys a lot during the season, all season. So to get out here and get a good race against them early lets me know that my training is going in a good direction and it lets me know that I need to keep training hard because these guys are really running hard.”

On the $50,000 purse presented by Hy-Vee:

“That definitely makes it a lot more fun. A lot of meets you can’t make that much money in just one race. If that doesn’t get you ready to run nothing will.”

On his Olympic medal:

“Winning the medal in London really makes people want to gun for me. Last year I was the underdog, this year I’m one of the front runners. I was able to sneak in the back door a bit last year now I’m the guy answering the door and they are kind of targeting me. I really have to go out and focus on my race and do my best. Every year the U.S. has some of the best hurdlers in the world and you just have to be on you’re A-game year round.”

Aries Merritt, Nike, second place, 110 Meter Hurdles London Games Rematch, 13.48. Merritt was the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and current world record holder in the 110 Meter Hurdles.

On his thoughts about the race:

“The race was pretty good. I haven’t raced a field of this caliber since Brussels. It was a pretty good run even though it’s relatively early in my training since I came off of injury indoors. The wind here was pretty strong into your face, a significant amount of wind for hurdlers, and a hurdler of my stature. I’m really thin and flimsy… I’m a buck sixty nine so a lot of wind will not bode well for me so, with that being said, Andrew Riley is a really good competitor, a good athlete, he’s a really muscular guy and he’s really good at the flat 100, so he deserves a lot of credit today.”

On improving in training:

“I have been, but who knows when it will show. In the hurdles, once you get your rhythm it tends to take a few weeks before you see the fruits of your labor. Training is going real well right now and had the wind not been so strong the outcome probably could have been different for everyone. Everyone was smashing hurdles because you can never get on top of your run and it’s really difficult to navigate barriers with that amount of wind. Like I said, Andrew Riley did a really good job navigating the barriers. Big props to him.”

On Andrew Riley’s history at Drake compared to his:

“As you know, he’s run 10-flat to win the NCAA’s on this track. He’s won the NCAA’s in the hurdles on this track, so this track is probably like home for him. I’m really happy I was able to run the time I ran because my history on this track is not the best. My goal was really to come here and come out healthy and continue to train for the rest of the season.”

On Andrew Riley:

 “I really can’t focus on other people so I don’t know where he was honestly. Had he been closer to me we might have been able to use each other for momentum but he was off in lane one so I couldn’t feel him or sense him at all until the race was over. He ran a really good race.”

On his high-caliber competition:

“It means a lot because hurdles is one of those events where we don’t duck and dodge each other like the 100 meters. In the hurdles we race each other week in and week out so a field like you just saw today you’ll see many many many times again this season, which is a really good thing for the sport and hopefully people can see the hurdles as a marquee event.”

On the television exposure:

“I think it’s a really good thing for the sport because the exposure in the United States isn’t as great as Europe. Being able to have these races on television and allowing people to see the stars of the Olympic sports is really key for us.”

Andrew Riley, Puma, winner, 110 M Hurdles London Games Rematch, 13.43. Riley, a native of Jamaica, was a two-time NCAA Champion in the 110 Meter Hurdles, a recent graduate of Illinois, he competed in the 2012 London Olympics and is starting his professional career.  Riley won both the 110 hurdles and the 100 meters this past summer at the 2012 NCAA Championships held at Drake Stadium.

On his time:

“It’s okay considering this week I had a really tough week at practice. I’ve been working hard on improving technique and I’m just trying to get better and my coach told me to try to maintain and get the win.”

On winning Drake Relays:

“It’s a perfect confidence booster considering I’ve been doing a lot these days. I didn’t know if I was going to come here and win this race because big picture is down the road from here so I was just working on improving to where I want to be this season.”

On his first outdoor season as a professional:

“I’m a rookie, every time you adjust to a new career you have to adjust to a new system. This is it, I’m not promised more seasons I’ve got to make sure I warm up early and make sure I stay on top of my treatment and practice. This season I try to get back to basics and learn the event. Since I’m not in school I have to learn the event because this is my sport.”

On Drake Stadium:

“I’ve been here since freshman year. This is my sixth time here. No matter the outcome, the main focus was to come to Drake and get some training time in. My main goal is to race and improve. My junior year, I ran my shoes off and won the 4x100. I’ve got a lot of memories here.”

Jon Rus, SR, North Scott, winner, boys 110 hurdles, 14.86.

On winning the Drake Relays:

“It is just an amazing feeling of winning. Last year was more about just making it to the finals, not necessarily going out and winning it. I just wanted to get in the top eight. But this year the only thing that was in my mind was first place. My mind has always been replaying that meet at state and just thinking about how close I came. The work I put in is paying off. I have been trying harder, working harder, working longer. 

On running hurdles:

“What I like about the hurdles is that it is not all about sprinting speed. It is about form and how you get down and out and everything else. It relies more on other factors than just sprinting.” 

On having to reset after a false start:

“That was a little unnerving. I lost some adrenaline. It was my race and I was getting it. But we had to get up. I got back down and in that state of mind. The only thing that went through my mind was that this is my race. I had a bad start. I was kind of behind everyone. Sidney Davis to my right began to pull away after two hurdles. All I could think of was not letting him do this. I kept my focus and got the win.”

Agnes Sayeh, SR, Des Moines Roosevelt, Winner, 100-meter dash, 12.56.

On the Drake Relays:

“Last year, I didn’t even make the finals in this race, and now we won. It’s like hard work pays off, if you work hard, it’s going to pay off.” 

On finishing one-two with teammate, Jalynn Roberts-Lewis:

“I mean like I said, Roberts-Lewis pushes me to my edge, so running with her is always an experience.” 

On winning the race:

“Well we were planning on leaving with one and two, but it feels great having the flag.” 

Jason Thomas, SR, Dowling Catholic- West Des Moines, winner, 800-meter dash, 155.18. Thomas tied the Drake Relays record set by Neil Flattery, of St. Edmond, in 2012.

On tying the Relays record:

“It feels great, I was hoping to beat it so it’s ironic that I tied it. The race just didn’t go out the way I wanted it to; I was out the first lap at 59 [seconds], I wanted to be at 54 or 55 [seconds] but I’m not complaining and tying the record isn’t too shabby either, so I’m happy.”

On running at Drake, so close to home:

“It’s awesome, before the race I was just walking down the stretch and I heard people yelling “Go Thomas,” or “Go Jason,” like at least ten times, and it’s just awesome to know there are so many people cheering me on here.” 

On the 1600 meter run tomorrow:

“It helps a lot, because all morning the nerves were a lot and I had to keep my mind off it. I have the 4x400 relay tonight, so tomorrow’s race will be third here at the Relays this year, and to have a couple races in my pocket will help the nerves a lot.” 

Saniel Atkinson, JR, Georgia, winner, High Jump.

On competing at Drake:

“This not my first time here, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve competed here. Last time, I was here I came in sixth at Nationals, so I’m looking forward to competing here, and I was definitely looking forward to the weather. For the most part it was a great day.” 

On her jumps:

“I’ve been working on my approach here and there so today was all about execution. I feel like for the most part I did a pretty good job. My jumps were really good in terms of take off and clearance, things got a little rough at the end from my marks, but I am happy about my performance.” 

On her favorite part of the relays:

“I like it because I used to go to the Penn Relays a lot, so this has a similar vibe. I really like the atmosphere, really great spectators, the crowd is awesome and they always join in for claps and cheers for anyone competing. I feel like everyone is really into track and it’s a track orientated place.”

Majesty Tutson, SR, Iowa, winner, women’s Discus, 181-01. Tutson, a graduate of Iowa City High School defeated former high school rival Taylor Freeman of Arizona (of Iowa City West) for the discus title. 

On today’s throws:

“I felt a little inconsistent, but you know it only takes one throw, and I caught one and it felt great.” 

On the Drake Relays:

“This is my eighth and final time competing at the Drake Relays. I’ve ran here since high school and I love the ambience of everything. Its people coming from all over to Des Moines to celebrate track, which sometimes isn’t as popular, but it’s a big thing here.”

On competing against high school rival, Taylor Freeman (SR, Arizona):

“I’ve completed with Taylor since high school, and that was the first time I have ever beat her so it felt great. We went to rival high schools, so I’ve always been bitter losing to Taylor, so this one was great to get.”

Linn-Mar, winner, 4x200 relay, 1:28.81. (Austin Flieder, SO; Tristan Freese, SO; Tim Wolfe, JR; Perrion Scott, SO). Des Moines Lincoln was state leader coming into race at 1:29.23. Cedar Rapids Kennedy set the mark to beat in the second heat with a run of 1:29.19, which was the new time for this season. Linn-Mar set their mark in the third heat, which included Lincoln. The mark currently leads state this season all classes.

Austin Flieder

We are all sophomores except for him (Wolfe). We three have been working together for a long time. The blocks weren’t working for me.

Tristan Freese

“Austin came out of the blocks and it was flawless.

Perrion Scott

“We just had to run our race. We have been doing this a long time. We came out the way we planned it and won it.

On winning Drake:

Freese: “Winning Drake is great, but our overall goal is winning state. That is our next step.”

Des Moines Roosevelt, winner, sprint medley relay, 1:47.98. (Tyanna Witaker, FR; Briyana Carter, FR; Teanna Lewis, SO: Agnes Sayeh, SR)

Whitaker: “Us two (Carter) are freshmen. There are college coaches here and they look at you more than when at other meets.”

Carter: “We’ve been running together since middle school so it wasn’t really nervous, but it is the Drake Relays.

Lewis: “I transferred here from (West Des Moines) Valley. They have accepted me.

Sayeh: “We know there is a lot stiffer competition out there so you have to push yourself hard. So we said let’s run fast and get it. Finally, we have been working so hard in practice. To get this flag feels really good.”

Texas El Paso, winner men’s distance medley relay, 9:44.73 (Elkana Rotich JR, Abiola Onakoya JR, Daniel Tarango FR, Anthony Rotich SO.)

E. Rotich: “I ran it like a 1500.”

Onakoya: “I run the 400 and I just wanted to run my race and put our team in a position to win. We came in with a plan to win and we did it.

Tarango: “I got it in the top three or places and wanted to make sure I could keep us up there. I wanted to maintain my leg where I got the baton. We don’t have a set time we want to run. We just go out and run our legs and let it happen. We know if we get a good spot we will get a good time.”

Janis Leitis, SR, Nebraska, Winner, Men’s long jump. Leitis is a native of Latvia. He competed in 400 meters for Latvia at the 2012 Olympics and finished 35th. He is also running in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. Letitis a Nebraska graduate student.

On competing:

 “I just wanted to come out and have my best results. I am not in the greatest shape right now. The results I got were pretty good.”

On Drake:

Before I came here, I heard it was a big meet and it had lots of good athletes. I liked that there was a lot of spectators to watch the competition.”

Mackenzie Fields, SR, Cincinnati, Winner of women’s pole vault, 4.2 meters (13-09.25)

On the event:

“It was a bit of a windy day, so I started off a little bit shaky. I came in at the opening bar. Then the next two were a little shaky. On the third one I got it together and got the first attempt made and that helped. I made it at 4.20, but missed at 4.37. This was my third time at Drake. My freshman year I no heighted and last year only cleared 4 meters so I final had a good meet here. It has always been great here.”

On a personal best:

“I made 4.32 last week, so it’s not my best, but I’m happy with it.”

On the rest of the season:

“We’ve got our conference meet Big East next weekend. It would be nice to get that record.”

Jenna Higgins, SR, Mount Mercy, winner, women’s javelin, 54.39 meters. All finalists came from second flight of the event. Higgins threw her winning toss on her final throw. Bested her PR by three meters.

On her day at Drake:

“It’s been a busy day. I ran the 4x100 and the 4x200, but I am kind of used to a heavy load for every meet so it isn’t anything out of the ordinary. It’s been a good morning obviously. I just won. It was something I always wanted to do was win Drake Relays. I knew it was something I could possibly do.”

On her attempts:

“My first five throws were not very good. On my last one I knew I just needed to get it out. I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t be any happier.”

On competition with larger schools:

“I have come to the Drake Relays and thrown since my freshman year of college. That was my first time throwing the javelin. I have been to Nationals in the javelin so I treat it as another meet. Nothing gets to my head. I know that getting nervous isn’t going to help. If someone beats me, someone beats me.”

On Midwest Collegiate Conference meet at William Penn next week:

“I will probably be doing the 100, the 200, the 4x100, the javelin, of course, and maybe the shot. They found that I could throw that when I won the heptathlon last week.”

Zack Skibinski, SR, Bishop-Heelan, Winner, 100 Meter dash, 11.41. 

On race preparation:

“I was nervous and excited because this is the best runners in the state of Iowa. It was awesome. It was me and Dreezsen all the way and we both crossed the finish line.” 

Did you know you won:

“Not really. I was anxious like ‘did I just win that?’ I could see him. I saw an orange dot with a mohawk coming in. The two Sioux City guys running together; that never happens.” 

Megan Malasarte, JR, Georgia Winner, 800 Meter Run, 2:06.49. 

On trailing most of the race:

 “That’s what my plan was. You know, get out with girls and don’t get boxed in.” 

On running with Vanessa Mcleod of Purdue:

“She looked really strong. I knew if I could tuck right behind and match her speed, I could kick about the 120 mark to go. And it was like trigger and I could just go.” 

On being the 2012 runner-up:

This year I wanted it because I came so close last year. I was excited to come back to Drake with a vengeance and really want it that much more.” 

Mick Viken, JR, Eastern Illinois, Winner, Men’s Pole Vault. Viken also won a Drake Relays title in 2012. He finished eighth in the 2013 NCAA Indoor championships and 12th at 2012 in the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Viken is a native of Arlington Heights, Illinois. 

On the win:

“To come out here and win with pretty big competition is big deal and pretty important. It was definitely a goal to win. I really excited after winning last year. It was in the back of my mind during the competition. I was going through my mind were I was ranked in terms of misses

It’s always fun to go out there and compete with other good vaulters. There was a bunch of guys who had jumped 5.40 meters.”

On today vaults: “I jumped higher last year. This year it was kind of hard to jump with the wind. I was still able to get on pretty big poles.”

Alexis Conaway, JR, MOC-Floyd Valley, Winner girls high jump, 5-8. Conaway is the defending Drake Relays Champion in the high jump.

On jumping at Drake:

“It’s fun to compete with a group of girls like this. I’m here to have fun. The wind was a bit of a challenge, but not much.”

On the field of athletes:

“I felt very comfortable. I knew I could go over the first bars pretty easy. I was able to focus at 5-6 and made it at 5-8. I tried to go 5-10, but just couldn’t do it today.”

Nicholas Berra, (age 44), winner, Men’s Master 800 Meters, 2:02.70. Berra won the Master’s 800 in 2010 and 2011, finished second to Lance Elliott in 2012. Lance Elliott (age 43) was runner-up to Berra in 2010 and 2011.

On running against Lance Elliott:

“I won in 10 and 11, but came up short to Lance last year. I am good friends with Lance and we run together and we are pretty evenly matched again. Today I just got him.”

On running a master’s race:

“The field was about the same size as usual. It is not often that you get 20 or 30 guys running. All the runners are very conscious and careful. I think we run a clean race. This is the fourth time I’ve been here. I had some success the first two times.”

On the race:

“I think I kind of drew a short straw on the first lap. I saw him (Lance Elliot) on the JumboTron so I knew where he was. He was right behind going into the win on lap one. I tried to get him to come alongside me on the backstretch. That made the last jaunt into the wind, A) I knew where he was and B) he didn’t have my big body breaking the wind for him. I just had a slightly better day than he did today.”

Lydia Saggau, SR, Valley (West Des Moines), winner, Girl’s 800 Meter Run, 2:11.20. Saggau is the defending Drake Relays Champion in the 800 Meter Run. Today’s race ended in a tight battle with Jasmine Staebler, SO, of Clayton, which resulted in a falling finish by Saggau.

On the finish:

“I kind of figured it would come down to that lead. When she came up on me, I could hear her coming. I was at the point where it was going to come down to the lean. Thankfully, I leaned far enough.”

On her reaction to the win:

“I was face down on the ground, so I actually didn’t know that I won until I looked up and saw it. I was so glad.”

On racing at a large meet close to home:

“I think it’s a blessing. I have such a wonderful group around me. Great coaches, teammates, friends, family, the fact that it’s right here and everyone can come. It just makes it so much more special.”

On being a two-time Drake Relays Champion in the 800:

“It’s exciting. It’s hard to explain. I was worried this morning, well, all week, I was just so nervous that I just couldn’t even talk about it. Once I got here and got on the track I knew that the girls I was competing with would push me to do my best. And it’s really not so much about winning again, just the fact that I ran so well makes me happy.”

Tim Glover, SR, Illinois State, official winner, Men’s Javelin Throw. Glover finished second in the event in 2011 and 2012. He is a native of Normal, Illinois.

On the win:

“I am not in the best mood, the wind is kind of tricky today. Everyone had to deal with it. I can’t complain too much, a win is a win.”

On the competition:

“This is my third time and Drake. I figured third time is a charm. Riley, and Matt Byers, from Iowa were my top rivals today. Riley has not throwing that long this year. ”

Riley Dolezal, unofficial Winner, best mark, Men’s Javelin Throw. Dolezal is former North Dakota State athlete. It was his seventh appearance at the Drake Relays.

On training: “I did good today. I need to get more time throwing outside. I threw outside for the first time, this week. I have been training indoors, throwing into a net. I have working on the fine tuning stuff and not worrying about the distance.”

Tia Brooks, SR, Oklahoma, winner, Women’s Shot Put, 18.57. Brooks broke the Drake Relays record she set last year with her throw. She is the defending Drake Relays champion. Brooks was a two-time NCAA Champion (indoors and outdoors) in 2011 and 2012. Brooks competed in the London Olympics.

On her history at Drake:

“My freshman year I finished fifth. Sophomore year I placed. Last year I broke the Relays record and this year I was lucky enough to repeat history.”

On Drake Stadium and returning for the USA Meet in June:

“This is actually my favorite track. I love Drake. Anytime you’re at a place where you feel comfortable, you tend to do well at the big meets. It puts your mind at ease and takes a little pressure off of you. Like I said, it’s my favorite track and I love it here. The atmosphere, the people… its all amazing.”

On her throws:

“Every meet this year I just came out swinging and just trying to do my best. There wasn’t really a number in my mind, just trying to get after it.”

On her winning throw:

“I was actually kind of surprised by the distance. I didn’t know what my mark was last year, I wasn’t even really shooting for it. Today felt kind of mediocre. We’re trying some new stuff in practice, so I was trying to get used to some technique changes.”

Wartburg, winner, college women’s distance medley, 11:54:31.

(Haddie Vawter, JR; Tashina McAllister, JR; Kaly Adkins, JR; Sammi Bruett, JR)

On taking the lead on the beginning leg:

Vawter: “I went hard and then I was in the lead and then said, ‘Well I might as hold it.’

We’re all juniors so we have a whole another year left.”

On winning at Drake:

Bruett: “I ran here in high school and I wasn’t even close. And doing it with these girls is amazing.”

Adkins: “Growing up we see girls holding these flags and that’s what we want. That’s our goal. That’s our launching pad into the next big meet.”

Linn-Marr, winner of boys sprint medley relay 3:31.31 (Perrion Scott, Tim Wolfe, JR; Chase Grabau, SR; Josh Evans)

On Josh Evan’s kick:

Perrion Scott:  “I was screaming so loud. Just screaming ‘Go Go GO!’ And seeing him kick it I was thinking that’s my boy Josh. I’m at a loss of words of how amazing that was.”

Josh Evans: “Thinking back to last night and I couldn’t sleep after my two mile and I didn’t like how I got outkicked.”

On preparation for the meet:

Chase Grabau: “Thinking back to practices and working hard for a kick. A Linn-Marr mentality with the 200, 100 to go, you got nothing left, you have everything left”.

Josh Markert, SR, Manson NW, Winner, Boys Long Jump, 22-8 ¼.

On his winning jump:

“It’s the best I’ve ever had. It feels good.”

On the wind:

“It helped a lot. I had my steps wrong at first, but the wind pushing you down the runway helped a lot.”

On the Drake Relays environment:

“It’s pretty great environment. It’s a lot of fun to hear the crowd cheering everyone on and pushing us to do our best.”

Mary Young, JR, Urbandale, Winner, 100 Meter Hurdles, 14.96. Young has competed in this event at the Drake Relays three times.

On the competition:

“It’s a lot better competition. Last year was so close and this year I actually got it, so it’s great. I love the crowd and everything.”

On working towards the Relays title:

“It’s been a big struggle. I’ve been trying to get my steps right, but its great now.”

On winning the Drake Relays in front of the crowd: “It’s amazing. I’ve been dreaming of this since my freshman year. It’s great to see everybody looking at you and cheering for you. It’s really great.”

Dasiana Larson, JR, Garner-Hayfield, Winner, Girl’s Shot Put, 39-08.50.

On her throws:

“My first one was a scratch, sadly, but the second to last one got me the win. I was really surprised because up to that one, I thought the competition was over. I’m excited to get this win.”

On winning the Drake title:

“This is my first trip to the Drake Relays. It took a lot of work during the season and off season and I’m just really excited that it paid off.”

Robbie Peters, JR, Mt. Vernon, Winner, Boy’s Discus, 174-00.

On his throws:

“Starting off, I was pretty nervous. I think my second throw in prelims was a 155 and then the third was 167. I settled in and I got focused. My first throw in finals was pretty crazy. It was a line drive down the right sector and it looked like it was going to go out, but the wind kicked it in. Thank God for that wind.”

On the distance of his winning throw:

“Thank God for that wind, pushing it back in. My PR up to this point was a 157. This is the first meet I’ve won all year. Nice timing I guess. It feels great to set a school record too.”

On holding the Drake Relays Champion flag:

“It feels pretty amazing. I thought maybe I’d throw 160 or something like that, maybe place, but it’s pretty cool to get this.”

Thursday Quotes - April 25

Brogan Austin, JR, Drake, Winner, Men’s 5,000 Meter Run, 14:12.50. Austin graduated from Boone High School in 2010. This is his first Drake Relays title and the first individual Drake Relays title for Drake since Gina Dewitt, in the 800 meters, in 1995. Austin was second in the Drake Relays 10,000 in 2011.

On the last mile of the race:

“We had a lot of lead changes and were fighting for position. It was windy on the front stretch and no one really wanted to take the lead. Coming down to the last 400 meters there was about ten guys in contention. I knew I did not have 100 or 200 meter speed, so I went for the lead at 400 meters. I put a gap on everybody and felt it at the end. It felt like everyone was flying up on me. I felt like I was going so slow at the end. I don’t know how I was not passed.”

On winning Drake:

“I wanted to win for Drake. Before the race I was dying of nerves. A lot of people were very supportive throughout the week and telling me good luck and saying ‘let’s do it for Drake’. Hopefully, this gets a lot more support for our track team and lets people know we can compete and win Drake Relays titles.”

Risper Kimaiyo, SR, UTEP, Winner, Women’s 5000, 16:18.00. This is the second Drake Relays 5000 Meter Run title for Kimaiyo (2010).

On the race: “I felt good through the race. This was my last outdoor competition in college, my last time at Drake. It’s a good way to finish.”

On the competition: “The first laps I had opened a small gap so I had to be careful towards the end. She was closing in and I thought she was sticking it for me. I tried, I kept pushing and she dropped. I think it was the last two laps when I pushed towards a great finish.”

Anna Lamb, SO, Miami University, Winner, Women’s 10,000 Meter Run, 34:35.39.

On her time:

“I’ve only ran this race once before so I didn’t really have any expectations, I was going to see what I could do and improve from my first time doing it. I really didn’t know what to expect so I was happy with the turnout today.”

On her splits and the pace of the race:

“I think for the most part they were even. Different people would take the lead and the pace would sort of change, it would slow and pick back up again. I was just trying to stick with whoever would take the lead. At one point I started feeling like it was getting easy and I needed to pick up the pace a little bit. When I knew that I could take the lead without worrying about falling behind or getting it taken away from me I went for it.”

On her coach’s reaction and winning the title:

“I think my coach is happy with the time. I’ve only ran it once before. I’m excited I ran it quick enough to win the title.”

John Mascari, FR, Indiana State, Winner, Men’s 10,000 meter, 29:19.74. Mascari took the lead after the 5000 meter mark.

On race: “Today was a do or die day, so I could get into the NCAA Regional. I just wanted to hold on. It worked out and I had a 30 second personal best. I cannot complain. I wanted to hang on as long as I could. I kept saying please don’t hit a wall.”

On the win: “This is the biggest race I have been in. Before the biggest race I was in was my high school state meet. Coming in as freshman I did not what to expect. Thankfully it worked out.”

Stephanie Jenks, FR, Linn-Mar, Winner, Girls 3000 Meter Run, 9:46.02. Third-best time in Drake Relays history for the event.

On holding the Drake Relays champion’s flag: “It makes me really happy. I never thought that I’d be carrying this nor did I think that I’d ever make it to the Drake Relays. When I was little I always thought it’d be awesome to compete in the Drake Relays, even for just one event. I made that dream become a reality and now here I am with four events. I’m just so happy. I never thought I’d be carrying this white flag.”

On her time: “It means so much. I never thought I’d be doing this well my freshman year. It just means that I have that much more that I can do.”

On race strategy: “My goal was kind of to sit back and wait for what my body. Everyone knows you can’t predict what I am going to do. Sometimes I’ll kick with 800 left. Sometimes I’ll do 100, 200, or 400. You just never know. I just let my body take control and do what it wants to do.”

Thomas Pollard, SO, Gilbert, Winner, Boys 3200 Meter Run, 9:10.97. Pollard ran the 11th fastest time in state history. Pollard passed runner up, Josh Evan, of Linn Mar, with 500 meters to go. He is Gilbert’s first Drake Relays Champion. Pollard is the son of Iowa State University athletic director Jamie Pollard.

On the victory:

“I had no idea I could win. I just went into the race believing in myself. I believed I could win, but I did not if it would happen. There were lots of great runners in the field.”

On winning Gilbert’s first title:

“It was good to get Gilbert’s name out there and make the town proud. It has been awhile since Gilbert had been represented on the guy’s side.”

 On his family:

“It’s awesome having them support me. They try to come to all my races and they are going to my sister’s race later tonight. They are just troopers.”

On not qualifying for the high school boy’s mile:

“I just missed qualifying for the mile. Instead of feeling bad, I just used it to motivate myself for this race.”

Jeff Giannettino, SO, Winner, Boys High Jump, 6-08.00 (2.03 m).

On the weather:

“It’s been a tough April, but it was a great day out today. I was really excited to see the sun out and shining. It makes competing a bit easier.”

On the difference in his training:

“The coaches took a different approach. They put in more time to focus on studying film and printing off slides of me jumping to help improve. We’ve been working really hard and it’s finally paying off.”

On winning the Drake Relays title:

“I really didn’t even think that I could jump this far this year. The first meet kind of opened my eyes to what I could do. Just listening to my coach and practicing helped me achieve this goal.”

Iowa State, Winners, Women’s 4x1600, 19:16.79.

Maggie Gannon, SO, 1st leg

On winning the Drake Relays title:

“For me, personally, this is something that I really wanted since my freshman year. This is my fifth year and I was really hoping to get a Drake flag before my career was over. Especially with the season I was having. The fact that I got to do it with these ladies… I think this is better than an All-American title because celebrating with my teammates is better than anything.”

Dani Stack, SR, 2nd leg

On winning the Drake Relays title:

“On our way down here today, we were talking about how none of us are Iowa natives so we hear this hype about the Drake Relays, but none of us ran it in high school, so we knew it was a big deal, but we did not put it on a pedestal like a lot of people do. We were just really relaxed going into the race and we all knew that we were capable of running well, especially with Ej as our anchor.”

On this being Iowa State’s first Drake Relay win in this event:

“I don’t think we expected it.  We are better in the mid-distance side than we had been in a while. It’s been frustrating because our distance program for women in cross country and long distances on track have been really quite a dynasty, yet we’ve never won the 4x1600, so our coach has been challenging us. Iowa is always strong, Minnesota is always strong, but this year, we knew that we are all much better runners than we have been and we can do good things.”

Crystal Nelson, FR, 3rd leg

On stretching the lead given to her by her team;

“Coach said that if I take it in the lead, what are you going to do? I said run fast… but he said, ‘when you get the baton, don’t take off too fast, keep progressing’. That was my goal the whole time.”

Ejiro Okoro, SR, Anchor

On the anchor leg:

“I just had to maintain and stay consistent. I had the lead going in. I just moved. We came here to run fast and everyone did their best so we could pull through and get this win.”

Men’s 4x1600 relay, Notre Dame, winners, D.J Thorton (1st leg), Michael Clevenger (2nd leg), J.P. Mallete(3rd leg), Jeremy Rae (4th leg). The winning time was 16:42.89. It was Notre Dame’s first 4x1600 victory since 2008. Rae anchored Norte Dame to second place 4x1600 finishes in 2010 and 2011. Notre Dame is also running in the 4x800 meter relay.

Jeremy Rae:

On strategy:

“We had the plan of sticking with the leaders and being as patient as possible. The plan was to get me the baton within a second of the lead. It worked out well in the end. With 200 meters to go, I was able to pull away.”

On winning:

It was a big goal to win. We had been missing first place for awhile.”

D.J Thorton

On the win:

“We have been agonizingly close in the past to winning. Today we all executed the plan of staying close and it worked out well.”

On Drake:

“It was my first time running at Drake and I was pumped to come out on top.”

J.P Mallete

On the win:

“Notre Dame has a pretty long history at Drake Relays. It was cool to be a part of it. We have been really close to winning in years past. It was finally nice to get a title.”

2013 Drake Relays London Games Rematch Elite Athletes Press Conference

Lolo Jones

On the rematch with Dawn Kelly in Jones’ hometown:

“I rematch them almost every race, I face them quite often so it’s just good that I’m back home. It’s very rare for a track athlete to have a home-field advantage. Most of our races are run in Europe, or a location where we did not grown up at or have fan support or family members in the stadium. So it’s kind of cool to have that and I look forward to running  great here, defending my turf as you could say.

How bobsled training has helped your training:

“I got really strong. The bobsled weighs 400 pounds. I’m pushing that, pulling and lifting every day for months. So every lift I can think of, power clean, bench press, deep squats are personal bests, I’m just so strong right now, like Hercules strong. That has translated to a new technique in the hurdles. I’m taking seven steps over the hurdles now. It takes a lot of strength and nobody really does it so I’m looking forward to using it this weekend.

It was good to have a mental break. I’ve been doing the same work outs for the past 13 years, so it was great to do something new. It just really invigorated me and refreshed me in ways I had no clue I needed to be refreshed in.”

On the depth of the 100-meter hurdle field:

“There’s pros to it and there’s cons to it. The pro is that it is a great field and will be an amazing race. You’d be a fool not to come out to the Drake Relays this year with how many star athletes are here. The con is mostly for the athletes. This is our first race. To have such a high intensity race is not something we would normally face until the end of the year. The lineup you’re getting is more competitive than a Diamond League race, which is our elite race. In some instances it could be more competitive than the World Championship final, depending on who is in that final with who makes the cut or who gets injured. These are a lot of the same girls fighting for those top three spots and representing team USA. To have that type of race this early in the season is a huge advantage for a fan to watch. We have to go out there and do work earlier. The problem is if you don’t handle it right or if you’re not race ready it could cause some problems down the road.”

Jenn Suhr

On how she feels physically:

“I feel good. It’s early in the season. The eyes are on qualifying for US nationals and Moscow. I’m in the peak season of my training and training hard. Hopefully the weather holds up and we can get some good results.”

How does the weather make a difference for the pole vault:

It’s funny, it does make a difference, it makes a huge difference. It’s mostly wind direction. I was listening to the radio, they said ‘It’s going to be nice and warm and breezy,’ breezy is not what you want to hear, breezy makes the pole move around so much. Wind direction and the way the set up the run way is really the main factor. You want the wind behind you.”

On the pole vault field:

“It’s a very tough field. Brian’s [Drake Relays director Brian Brown] done such a great job in all events. The pole vault has the top US vaulters and it had the silver medalist from London. It just keeps getting better and better. What he’s put together and with the support of Hy-Vee with it has just made it outstanding.”

Aries Merritt

How did the $50,000 purse entice athletes to compete:

“At this point in the season it makes a big difference in where I go because, as you know the majority of the meets that we run as professionals take place in Europe because the purses are much better than they are in the States. Coming here was a top priority this early in the season because the purse is so nice. It brings forth more star power when you have purses this big so it makes the meet really good in the States.”

Why he decided to compete in the Drake Relays:

“I’ve heard that the crowd is excellent and it’s comparable to the Penn Relays, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s been a while since I’ve run in a stadium as packed as Penn Relays. Outside of Europe I’d like to see more people show up at meets such as this one.”

Michael Tinsley

On his goals for the race:

“Leading into this race I just want to correct a few things from last week and just stay relaxed. I ran here before back in 2010, I think I ran 48.3. I know it is a fast track and a good crowd so I’m looking forward to it. This is my first time at the Drake Relays though.”

On what attracted him to the Drake Relays:

“The large crowd, a lot of people have been telling me. I usually run at Penn Relays this time of year, but they had lot of different guys set up for the Relays. After running well last week at Kansas, I just wanted to keep the ball rolling with the hurdles and stick to that plan.”

How much the pursue played a role in coming to Drake:

“I’m sure plays a big part. I know a lot of athletes are depending on how well your training is going. You don’t want to come to a big meet like this not ready to run. Especially with that kind of money on the line. You want to be at a good part of your season where you know you’re going to compete well and give the fans a good show.”

Renaud Lavillenie

On how he felt after jumping at Pole Vault in the Mall:

“I feel good. It was good to jump in the mall because after the flight it was a nice warm up for me for Saturday. Everything is okay for me physically, I’m in good shape.”

On competing in the Drake Relays:

“It is the first time I will compete in April. I’m very happy to be here because it is one of the most famous competitions in the world. One of the big things I wanted to do was to see how it worked, how a university competition in the US is. That is why I’m very excited to be here and to be a part of this competition.”

Jen Simpson

On being a veteran of competing at the Drake Relays:

“I’ve run a steeplechase and a 5k here multiple times so I have a lot of experience on the Blue Oval. I’m very well acquainted with the Bulldog statue out front. I’m excited to be back. I think this is a great stadium and I’ve had really great experiences here. I’m really looking forward to having another great opener.”

On the weather forecast for the week:

“I was sitting out right now watching some of the action on the track and I was thinking we should race right now because it is perfect. Fingers crossed that it’ll be like that tomorrow; warm and not so windy. Here it’s a fantastic field, fantastic stadium and if the weather cooperates we could have a really incredible showing.”

On seeing such big names at the Drake Relays:

“I think it’s a great credit to the Relays that they were able to bring in all of the top American middle distance women. We don’t always face each other this early in the year. Sometimes we’ll match up a few of us, but all us will get together this early in the season. What a great treat for track and field fans – to see the top middle distance runners – which is really making leaps and bounds on the world scene in the past few years. To see us all together at this early peak for what we’re going to bring to the track at the National Championships back here in June. I’m excited to see what happens.”

Daniel Gooris – Northern Iowa, Decathlon Winner, 7,395 points

Wins the Drake Relays decathlon for the 2nd straight year: 

To be able to repeat in this event, what does that mean to you?

“It's great, especially coming off last year ... (It) was the best time of my life. This year, coming into it, I wasn't running as well. I wasn't' quite on fire. Really, it's a jump start for the rest of the season. It just feels amazing right now.” 

After being in 7th after day one, did you feel like you were still in the mix and had a shot at the finish here?

“Yeah. I wasn't too worried after after day one because I was less  than 100 points out of 2nd and Arnold was killing the competition. I wasn't too focused on that. Day one only had the high jump that was good ... all in all in the dec (decathlon) you just gotta keep going. You can't .. you just gotta keep going. It doesn't matter if you're in 7th, 1st or last. Try harder the next day.” 

What happened with Arnold? Are you aware? He was up 300 points.

Gooris: He was up 300 points, I know, before we started the 1,500. He was talking about trying to hit a 4:35, which I think he had run before, and he must have just cramped up in the backstretch, which happens a lot. I remember at USA Indoors I cramped up in the 1,000 and it's a brutal thing, so all the power to him for trying to finish it out. 

Until the official handed you that (white Drake Relays flag), did you have any idea that you had won it? Did you know what had happened to Arnold? 

“Not at all. When I crossed the (finish) line, I turned around to look for the red Asics jersey (Arnold), and I couldn't see it. I saw somebody in red coming up behind - I think Kurtis Brondyke. I was like 'oh there he is,' because if he finished, he had it. And it was Ethan Miller. And I was like, 'where's Jake?' And then somebody came up and told me he just stopped. That was when the official handed me the flag.”

Does this feel weird? To win it that way? 

“Yeah, it feels really weird. Well, last year it was kind of the same deal. He and Brian Clay were both in competition and absolutely killing it and decided not to do the last 2 events. So it's sort of the same feeling, same idea. This time, though, there was that little thing in the back of my mind that said, 'if I can run fast enough, maybe I can make up some of the points.'  But it would have had to be like a minute and 30 seconds. Just out of the question.”

What now? You have the nationals and the Valley Outdoor. How are you set for nationals?

“I don't think this score will qualify. So I'm going to have to go bigger at the MVC (Missouri Valley Conference) Championships which is here in 2 weeks. So after that, hopefully put up 75-7600 plus score there to go in the nationals, which is the big show. Hopefully, get there in the pole vault as well.”

Lindsay Lettow, Unattached, Heptathlon Winner, 5,740 Points

On winning the heptathlon at the Drake Relays…

“I am very excited to win it. It is my first actual heptathlon at Drake. I have done some open events collegiately (at Drake), but our conference meet was always the week after, so I never got a chance to compete in the heptathlon here. I love being home, and seeing family.”

On competing in front of a hometown crowd…

“It is always a little sweeter when my family is here seeing everything. I had some extended family come. My cousin Rachel, who I don’t get to see often, she came, and she was really excited to be here. That got me excited.”

On the influence her coach Kip Janvrin had on her…

“He has been there with me from when I started as a pretty good high school athlete, and has been really been the one responsible for transforming me into what I am now. The Drake Relays has always been near and dear to him, so it is really fun that I can come and compete here, it is home and it is a special meet for my coach. It makes it all that more special for me. “

On her path to the Drake Relays…

“I started running track for Westside Track Club when I was eight, and I started with a few of the events. A bunch of those guys got me started, and were my coaches during the individual events. I picked up more events, started to do combined events and just continued with it through high school and college. I think it is something the right spot for me, always has been.”

Wednesday Quotes - April 24

Jake Arnold, ASICS, Day 1 Decathlon leader, 3,789 points
What he hoped to accomplish in this meet:
"I had back surgery and hip surgery in the summer of 2011 and had to rush back last year. I'm healthy now. Just trying to get back and get a big score. One of my first goals of the season is to get through one here healthy, and as it goes into Europe in May and USAs in June, definitely be peaking then. It's still a little early in the season. I'm happy with some of my marks, but definitely disappointed in some others, because I've thrown farther and run faster and jumped higher this year already. I just didn't seem to get them done today."

On the 400 meters:
"I came off the turn and that headwind down the homestretch, it came up and bit me. I was hoping to run 49 low, and it just came up and got me real good. Not too happy with the time. I'm still working on some stuff, but it's early in the season, I'm finally healthy again and just starting to back into competition now."

On coming back from his injuries:
"I had to rush back last year for the Olympic Trials. When you have to rush back from something, you don't have the rehab that you're supposed to have. This fall I finally got to do it, so that's over a year later. I finally feel like I've had the time to get healthy again. Now I just need to get back into competition. It feels great. It feels good to be healthy and getting through some stuff. I just need to get back to the marks I was at in 2010 before I got hurt."

On competing at site of USA Championships in June:
"Last time USAs were here I ended up winning, so I definitely love this place. I have the record here. I know Ashton (Eaton) will be here, but I'm hoping to put up a good mark when I come back here for USAs."


Lindsay Lettow, Unattached, Day 1 Heptathlon leader, 3,325 points
How would you evaluate your performance:
"Each event was a little bit flat. I was technically happy with my hurdle race, more than any other time this year. It was better today, although we had a pretty rough headwind. I wasn't happy with my time, but it's really nice to be home and competing at Drake Stadium."

How does being in your hometown add to the comfort level:
"I crashed at my parents’ house, I'm familiar with the town. It's definitely very comfortable to be at the stadium."

On her hopes of qualifying for USA Championships at Drake Stadium in June:
"I can use my marks from last year. I was hoping to have a good mark here at Drake that I could use as well for U.S."

How was the experience of competing in the Olympic Trials:
"It was a priceless experience being able to compete against girls at a national elite level, even a world elite level. It was a fun ending to my collegiate career, but kind of an exciting beginning to my post-collegiate career."

On her hopes for Thursday:
"I just want to come out and make sure I'm really warm. I didn't hit the marks I was hoping to today, but I'm still on an OK pace. I'll just come out and do the best I can in each event and hope to put up a decent score."

Chantae McMillan, Nike, 2012 Olympian (Competed in two events Wednesday)
What did you hope to accomplish today:
"It's just another practice for me."

With USA Nationals in Des Moines in June, did that encourage you to enter this meet:
"I came out to get a feel for the track. Last time I was here I didn't have a very good meet when I was in college, so I wanted to come back."

After a disappointing score in London last year (5,688), has that added to your motivation this year:
"I'm just always looking to get better, always looking to improve everything. I've got very high standards for myself. I'm the hardest on myself. It gets in the way, sometimes, I can admit that. Every day it's just trying to get better. I don't look back at my old scores. I don't even know what I got at London."

Brogan Austin, JR, Drake, Winner, Men’s 5,000 Meter Run, 14:12.50. Austin graduated from Boone High School in 2010. This is his first Drake Relays title and the first individual Drake Relays title for Drake since Gina Dewitt, in the 800 meters, in 1995. Austin was second in the Drake Relays 10,000 in 2011.

On the last mile of the race:

“We had a lot of lead changes and were fighting for position. It was windy on the front stretch and no one really wanted to take the lead. Coming down to the last 400 meters there was about ten guys in contention. I knew I did not have 100 or 200 meter speed, so I went for the lead at 400 meters. I put a gap on everybody and felt it at the end. It felt like everyone was flying up on me. I felt like I was going so slow at the end. I don’t know how I was not passed.”

On winning Drake:

“I wanted to win for Drake. Before the race I was dying of nerves. A lot of people were very supportive throughout the week and telling me good luck and saying ‘let’s do it for Drake’. Hopefully, this gets a lot more support for our track team and lets people know we can compete and win Drake Relays titles.”

Presented by Mercy
Launch Bulldog Vision |  LOGIN ▾
Member Login
Uploaded Ad
Spike's Army