2014 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee, Competitor Quotes, Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Drake Relays, courtesy of Drake University

2014 Drake Relays Presented By Hy-Vee

Competitor Quotes

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Heptathlon

Champion

Lindsay Lettow, Unattached, 5,619 points

On winning back-to-back Drake Relays titles...

"When I was competing collegiately, I didn't get to come here because we had our conference meet the next week. It has been really fun getting to do my event, the heptathlon, at Drake. My family gets to see me and other people at home that normally don't get to see me."


On her thoughts heading into the 800 meters with a 200 point lead...

"It is hard to really put it on the line when you don't have a big motivation to run if nothing is on the line. It was really nice conditions for the 800 and I treated it as a good training workout."


On competing in front of a home crowd...

"It is always so much fun coming here. The weather isn't always the best, but I will always come back here. I have run at Drake in high school, collegiately some and I even came here when I was five or six to do the fun run as my dad was running in. It is always a blast to come here."


On what her plans are after the Drake Relays...

"I still need a qualifier for USAs. I have a mark that is pretty close from last year that could get me in, but I would rather just get the standard. I will do one more meet and the USA meet will be my next.


Decathlon

Champion

Kurtis Brondyke, Unattached, 7,283 points

Notes

As a multi-event athlete at Central College, Brondyke won the 2011 NCAA Division III national championship in the Indoor Pentathlon, with a score of 3,827, and finished second in the Decathlon during the outdoor season. Currently he is a graduate assistant track and field coach for Central Missouri. Competed as a high school prep for Clinton (Iowa) High School. Competed in Drake Relays in high school.


On winning the decathlon at the Drake Relays...

"The Drake Relays have always been special for me. I'm a Clinton high school kid that got to compete here and then with Central. It was a big deal back then and it is a big deal today. To do it post collegiately is really fun and a good time.


On taking the lead after the eighth event after the leader had to pull out...

"I knew he (Dooley) was done because his plane flight out of Des Moines was booked at a bad time. Then the way Daniel (Gooris) pole vaulted that I was in a good position with my marks to take the lead as long as I put a good javelin toss out there and then go into the 1,500 and use what my training has done I would be in a good position."


On joining his coach, Kip Janvrin, as a decathlon winner at the Drake Relays...
"Being a decathlon champion is special, but I'm able to train with Kip Janvrin, which makes it more special as he is one of the most honored athletes that has been here. He has his picture up on the outside of the stadium. It is nice to come back here, we are both Iowa people, it's nice to come back and celebrate the relays that we fell in love with when we were younger and keep it going."


On his future...

"I have the Division II nationals coming up plus the conference meet in the next two weeks. I'm a coach at Central Missouri. Then I'm going to try and compete again in Ohio in June. Hopefully I can hit USA Championship qualification standards."



3 p.m. - High Jump - HS Girls Final

Champion

Alexis Conaway, Senior, MOC-FV, High Jump, 5-5 (1.65m)

It is Conaway's third straight Relays title. Conaway is the second girls athlete to win three Drake Relays high jump titles. The other was Hannah Willms of Dike-New Hartford from 2008-2010. Conaway's winning jump was 05'05" (1.65m) Conaway is going to play volleyball next year at Iowa State.


On her third Drake Relays title ....

"When you come down here know what to expect. There is lots of great athletes and you always compete until the end. You never know what can happen. To get the Drake Relays title three years in a row is an awesome experience. To be put in the same category of Hannah Willms is awesome. She is amazing."


On the Drake Relays ....

"It is a great environment with a lot great athletes. It is fun to be here.  You don't have competition till the end in most meets."


On the season ....

"This is only my second time jumping outdoors this year. I have some back issues I have been dealing with. I feel good that I competed the way I did."



3:30 p.m. - Shot Put - HS Girls Final

Champion

Shelby Gunnels, Senior, Solon, Distance 42-04.25 (12.90m)

Notes: First-time competitor and winner.

On winning and being given the Relays flag ...

"I didn't know what it would feel like, but it's amazing."


On if the weather affected her throws ...

"No, they did a good job of drying off the infield and keeping towels ready."



3:30 p.m. - Long Jump - HS Boys Final

Champion

Chandler Diercks, Junior, Clear Lake, 23-10.00 (2.0) (7.26m)

On the event ...

"My first jump, it seemed pretty well and I was just trying to get a feel for how everyone else was jumping. Realizing I had the lead throughout, for the most part, I got to watch my competition and see if I could scratch the next few jumps and got to wait it out."


On offseason work that contributed to the win

"I definitely worked really hard in the offseason, all winter. Worked on my long jumping. Tried to get my speed and jumping ability better. I had my mind set on this day since last year."


On the chance to repeat next year

"That's the plan, trying to get back here!"





4:10 p.m. - 3,000 Meters - HS Girls Final

Champion

Stephanie Jenks, Sophomore, Linn-Marr, 9:26:87

Jenks set an all-time Iowa best with the win. Katie Flood, of Dowling Catholic, set the previous Iowa best in 2010. Flood's previous Drake Relays record was 9:43.39 set set in 2010. Jenks won the 2013 Drake Relays girls 1500 and 3000.

On Setting the record ....

"I knew what the record was going in. I knew this the year that I wanted to do because Katie Flood was here. I thought it would mean more to me and to her.I knew where I was at the entire time for setting the record.

The plan was to go out slow and go out in about 71 or 72 seconds and stay on pace from there."


On Katie Flood:....

"I have never actually met her. She was my idol when I was little. You would always hear about Katie Flood. Knowing I had a possibility to break her record made me work harder."



4:25 p.m. - 3,200 Meters - HS Boys Final

Champion

Albert Meier, Senior, Boone, 8:58:46

Iowa high school record

On breaking the Drake Relays and state record ...

"I feel great. My coach just said, 'Give it time." We started off the year, I was kind of sick. He said, 'Always stay calm. Always stay relaxed.' Then at the end of the race when we were in 600 meters, I got a chance and that's what I did and kicked it in, in the last 400.


On being the first Iowa boys high school athlete to finish under nine minutes ...

"It feels great. Just to be up there with the best, breaking 9:00 . It was my dream and I finally did it, so I'm happy."


On the tough field of competition ...

"There was a lot of good runners in that race. Everyone did a great job. It was fast paced. We were always pushing it. Then you got an amazing training partner, like my buddy Chandler (Austin).




4:40 p.m. - 4x1600 - UC/CD Women's Final

Champion - Washington

Eleanor Fulton SO, Katie Knight FR, Liberty Miller JR, Katie Flood SR, 19:09:27

Notes: Flood's girls high school 3,000 meter record was broken earlier in the day.

On being a Relay's champion ...

Liberty Miller: "It's exciting. There is a lot of energy here. It's nice to fly across the country and be greeted with that energy."

Katie Flood: "That was perfect."


On the biggest moment for Katie Flood on that track ...

Katie Flood: "Someone asked me that earlier this week and I said that I couldn't really pinpoint it. All were very special in different ways. Coming and winning a national title was phenomenal but I think in high school there was so much that happened here with my teammates just the grit and little toughness and seeing the best in everyone."

On coming to Drake after hearing about Relays and winning a flag ...

Liberty Miller: "I think it's really special because the first time I came here was last year for USA's that was the first time seeing so much action and power happen on this track. And then the next time coming here and getting to finally race on it and win a flag was really exciting."

Katie Knight: "I just remember seeing pictures and stuff in high school, because I'm a freshman and then just seeing and being from the west coast not really ever coming over to these big east coast meets, it's exciting to be at a different meet, a different environment. It's very different."

Eleanor Fulton: "I mean I'm honored I've always heard about the Drake Relays. It's really cool to be able to come here as a team and do what we did. It was really fun."


On her 3,000 meter record being broken earlier in the day by Linn-Mar's Stephanie Jenks ...

Katie Flood: "That's really great for her ( Stephanie Jenks) and it's a record that's meant to be broken."



5:05 p.m. - 4x1600 - UC/CD Men's Final

Champion - Washington

Meron Simon SO, Nick Harris SO, Blake Nelson FR, Izaic Yorks FR


On being Drake Relays Champions....

Blake Nelson: "It feels great to do it with the team."

Nick Harris: "It's awesome."

Meron Simon: "It's pretty unreal to do it with your best friends. It's good to put in the work and have this benchmark. It shows everyone here who's going to be able to roll when it comes to that first round of the NCAAs. And I mean every one here."


On each runner's first time competing in the Drake Relays ....

Nick Harris: "This is all our first times competing in the Drake Relays."

Blake Nelson: "I think this is the first time (Washington has come) since 2004."

Meron Simon: "I think the last time we were here was '08 or '07, and I think last time our guys were here, we won."


On taking home a victory after a multi-year break from Relays ....

Blake Nelson: "It feels good. I knew we could do it just putting everything together, each person running his own leg."



7:30 p.m. - 10,000 Meters - Open  Women's Final

Champion

Mary Alex England, Freshman, Mississippi, 34:48.66

England's time is a school record in the 10,000 meters. It was her first time running the 10,000 meters. England defeated second-place finisher Michelle Thomas of Ohio State, by .45 seconds in her first Drake Relays.


On the win:

"It was my goal to run under 35 minutes and I did that. It was nice to see my training paying off."


On the Drake Relays ....

"I did not know much about it. My teammates told me that it's wild and exciting for distance events. I really liked the drums. It made everything so much faster. The weather is really nice here. It is a lot better than humid Mississippi."


On her first 10000 ....

"It was hard, but I felt really good. I like the longer distances."


...




8:10 p.m. - 10,000 Meters - Open Men's Final

Champion

Trent Lusignan, Unattached, 29:55:69

Currently redshirting at South Dakota State

On the race ...

"We were just taking it out easy the first 5k. Then you know everyone's got to pick it up that second half. I was feeling good, feeling smooth. Nothing really bothering me too much because I stayed toward the front and made sure I was there when the move was made and I just kinda grinded it out that last mile. Just made sure I had enough gas. I don't have enough wheels to sprint that last 400 meters, so I had to make sure I had a big cushion."


On being a Drake Relays Champion ...

"It's pretty prestigious, I guess. I mean, it's one of the oldest relays out there. What is it, 105 years old now? I guess I'm on the records now, for winning a big 10k title, like that."


On future goals ...

"I am redshirting right now [at South Dakota State] and building up strength."


8:40 p.m. - 5,000 Meters -  Open Women's Final

Champion

Tricia Terry, Senior, Texas Christian, 16:17.57

It was Terry's first Drake Relays.

On the race ....

"My strategy was to sit on the leaders as much as possible. The pace was slower than I wanted. I went to the lead early, about halfway, because I wanted to get a good time in."


On her first  Drake Relays ....

"I loved the Drake Relays and I liked the band. I liked the atmosphere at night and having all distance people compete. I wish I wasn't a senior so I could come back."




9:05 p.m. - 5,000 Meters - Open Men's Final

Champion

Matt McClintock, Sophomore, Purdue, 14:01:33

On his coach's advice going into tonight's race...

"Coach sort of told me it was a rester. So to sit back and wait like I did was kind of tough. I guess it's not really my style, I like to try and make every race fast and honest, but he wanted me to just sit back and see what I could do."


On reactions to the first time at the Drake Relays

"Our team came out last year for the Relays, but I was at the World Junior Championships, so I stayed home for that one. The weather was phenomenal. I couldn't have asked for a better night to run. I'm really excited, now I just get to hang out and watch the rest of the weekend. Everybody shows up on Saturday for this thing. I can't wait to get into the stadium, when it's full with 14,000 people."

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