2014 Friday at Drake, by James Dunaway

Thumbnail image for Merritt-JamesFHL-PreC13.jpg
Merritt verus James, Nike Pre Classic, June 2013, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

This is James Dunaway's column on the Friday Drake Relays. James, the editor of American Track & Field, has been to Drake over fifty times. 
2014 Friday at Drake, by James Dunaway

Des Moines, April 26 - There is something exciting about the emergence of a major new sprint talent, and we might be seeing it here today.

Two weeks ago at the Texas Relays, Baylor freshman Trayvon Bromell won his heat of the 100 meters in a wind-legal 10.02 seconds. Next day, he won the final in 10.01. Both were helped by a tailwind of less than 2.0 meters/second.
Today at the Drake Relays, presented by Hy-Vee, Bromell won the final of the men's 100 meters handily in 10.16 seconds, with a +2.0 aiding wind.

That settles one thing: Bromell can run a 10.20 100m, or better, consistently. His performance rather reminds me of Usain Bolt's 100-200 double at the World Juniors a few years ago, when he served notice that he was ready to take on the world - which he certainly has done.

In July, Bromell will probably have a chance to compete at the World Juniors in Eugene, Oregon, and if he's lucky, to post marks that might be compared to Bolt's.

Meanwhile though, Bromell will have plenty of other meets to shine in, including the Big 12 championships, the NCAA, and the USATF junior and senior championships. Keep an eye on him.

As the day moved along into evening, things got even better in the "Moscow  Rematch" races which pit 2013 world champions against their Moscow finalists of last year. World 400-meter champion LaShawn Merritt held off Kirani James and Lugulein Santos in a thrilling stretch drive to win the men's 400-meters in 44.44.  

Jamaican hurdler Hansle Parchment, not a Moscow finalist, ran 13.16 (+ 1.0) to upset Moscow's gold and silver medalists David Oliver and Ryan Wilson.  

And Michael Tinsley confirmed his Worlds silver medal and London Olympic silver medal with a 48.57 400 hurdles victory whose victims included Javier Culson (48.68).  

All the "rematch" race winners earned $25,000, with the next two placers receiving $15,000 and $10,000 respectively, thanks to presenting sponsor Hy-Vee, a Midwest supermarket chain.

But the high point of the evening was the men's high jump, which three jumpers make first-attempt clearances of 7-8 ½ (2.35) before Canadian Derek Drouin soared over 7-9 ¾ (2.38) and then 7-10 ½ (2.40) to win from Erik Kynard and Dusty Jonas.  

Most people can't even imagine men jumping that high and to see three of them do it in the same competition - well, it held several thousand Iowans spellbound.

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