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12 Event Champions Return for the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee


first_imgNorth Dakota State will be bringing a fierce contingent in the throws headlined by senior Payton Otterdahl, who broke the all-time collegiate indoor shot put record this past weekend at the Summit League Championship. The record of 71-03.5 was previously held by Ryan Crouser of Texas and Ryan Whiting of Arizona State, and Otterdahl claimed it with a heave of 71-06.75.  His teammate, sophomore Alex Talley, along with women’s team members junior Bailey Retzlaff, seniors Shelby Gunnells and returning hammer champion Maddy Nilles, will all be contenders in the throws. “We’ve had a long-standing tradition of competing at the Drake Relays, and that’s for good reason. The atmosphere and fan support you receive there are second to none,” commented long time North Dakota State head coach Don Larson.  “Just the history of the meet, all the world-class athletes that have competed there, it’s a special experience for our student-athletes.”These Division I universities join the previously announced teams of Drake, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Missouri, Purdue, South Dakota and the Utah women. All-Session tickets are now on sale at draketix.com/drakerelays or call 515-271-3647.  For group ticket packages or more information, contact Dustin in the Drake Ticket Office at 515-271-4949.  Print Friendly Versioncenter_img DES MOINES – The NCAA Division I indoor conference championships brought exceptional performances last weekend which include the second group of returning teams announced by the 2019 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.The Iowa State men, which finished second in the Big 12 Conference Indoor Championship, are focused on improving their runner-up finish in the Hy-Vee Cup last year and defending their 4x800m and sprint medley relay titles.  The Cyclones boast nationally ranked indoor distance runners in juniors Rochon Roomes, Festus Lagat, Andrew Jordan and Edwin Kurgat, along with a tough distance medley relay team.  Vlad Pavelnko, a senior, adds strength in the weight throw.  “The Drake Relays is one of the highlights of our outdoor track and field season,” said Iowa State head coach Martin Smith. “It’s a very special and exciting weekend for all of our student athletes that are from the state of Iowa as they get an opportunity to return and compete on the Blue Oval. We look forward to showcasing our middle distance relays against premier national competition.”The Air Force men won the Mountain West Indoor Conference meet with six individual champions plus the 4x400m relay.  For the first time ever, the South Dakota State men came home with the Summit League Indoor crown including seven individual titles.  Three of those went to senior Kyle Burdick in the mile, 3000m and 5000m. The distance crew for Tulsa is coming off a strong American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship with senior Ben Preisner racing to the men’s 3000m and 5000m crowns.  Northern Iowa juniors Connor Ham and Keegan Tritle will be contenders in the hurdles and throws, respectively. On the women’s side, the distance events should see competition from Iowa State sophomores Cailie Logue and Amanda Vestri along with Jaci Smith, a senior from the Air Force.  The Cyclones will be ready to defend their title in the 4x800m, while Smith aims to regain the 5000m title she won in 2017 on the Blue Oval. In the high jump, senior Stephanie Ahrens of Nebraska-Omaha ranks in the top five nationally.  Also in the mix for the women in the long throws will be senior Erin Reese of Indiana State.  New faces on the Blue Oval will be ISU freshman Keira Christie-Galloway who won the Big 12 60-meter hurdle title and freshman Sydney Milani of Southeast Polk making her collegiate debut.last_img read more