The Drake Relays are on! The 112th Drake Relays are happening this weekend, and they will make Midwestern track fans very proud of the state of track in the Central US.
Drake University Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa, photo by Mike Deering / The Shoe Addicts
AMERICA’S ATHLETIC CLASSIC UNDERWAY WITH MULTI-EVENTS
DES MOINES, Iowa — The 112th Drake Relays are underway with the multi-events back in their traditional spot as the opening competition at America’s Athletic Classic.
Carter Morton, a sophomore at Northern Iowa, leads a tight race in the decathlon with 3,750 points through the first five events on Wednesday. Arika Robinson, a sophomore at Concordia-St. Paul owns the lead in the heptathlon with 3,165 points through four events.
The two events returned to the Relays schedule this year for the first time since 2019 and the competitors were greeted with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s.
Morton, from Greene County High School in west-central Iowa, was the runner-up in the heptathlon at the Missouri Valley Conference indoor meet this year and was second in the decathlon at the outdoor meet last spring.
He excelled in the jumps during Wednesday’s competition, clearing 6-8 ¼ in the high jump and going 23-1 ¼ in the long jump to finish first in both events. He also finished fourth in the 400, fifth in the 100 and seventh in the shot put.
Jakob Tordsen, a senior at Concordia-St. Paul, is second in the 11-man field with 3,710 points and Northern Iowa sophomore Zack Butcher is a close third with 3,701 points.
Tordsen finished ninth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II indoor meet and took second in the event at the Northern Sun Conference indoor. He cleared 6-7 in Wednesday’s high jump to finish second, came in fourth in the long jump and shot put and finished sixth in the 100 and 400.
Butcher, the defending MVC decathlon champion, won the 400 in a personal best of 48.88. He finished second in the 100, third in the long jump and sixth in the shot put and high jump.
The other event winners were Drew Bartels of UNI in the 100 (10.99) and Ryan Enerson of the Ragnarok AC in the shot put (46-1 ¼).
Robinson led the heptathlon competition from the start and finished first in three of the four events to end the day with a lead of 185 points. Emily Swanson, a sophomore from Sioux Falls University, is second among the 13 competitors with 2,980 points and Northern Iowa sophomore Lydia Berns-Schweingruber holds on to third place with 2,730 points.
Robinson was the NCAA Division II indoor high jump champion this year and claimed titles in the high jump and pentathlon at the Northern Sun indoor meet.
She got off to a swift start in her Relays competition, zipping to a time of 14.61 seconds in the 100 hurdles – just one-hundredth of a second off her personal best. She did achieve a personal best in winning the 200 in 26.20 and cleared 5-8 ½ to finish first in the high jump. A throw of 35-8 ¾ left her third in the shot put.
Swanson is competing in a heptathlon for the third straight week after winning competitions at Northern State and Northwestern College earlier this month. She finished second in the 100 hurdles and high jump, took third in the 200 and came in fourth in the shot put.
Berns-Schweingruber, who’s from Gilbert, is coming off a victory in the long jump at the Jim Duncan Invitational at Drake Stadium two weeks ago. She finished third in the high jump, took fifth in the 200 and was sixth in the 100 hurdles and shot put.
The other event winner was Bethany Lutheran’s Stephanie Witbrod, who threw 38-3 ½ in the shot.
The decathlon concludes Thursday with competition in the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500, while the heptathlon finishes with the long jump, javelin and 800. Competition starts at 10 a.m. in the decathlon and 11 a.m. in the heptathlon.
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