Drake Relays Underway in Des Moines

AMES, Iowa--The Iowa State track and field teams will be competing at the 96th running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, with competition beginning today in a meet that holds special significance for both Cyclone teams.

"Drake Relays is always a really important meet for us," men's head coach Steve Lynn said. "It's a fun meet and one the kids look forward to every year. It's also a chance for us to compete in front of a home crowd and 16,000-18,000 people."

In the multi-events, sophomore Neil Hines finished sixth at the Big 12 Indoor Championships and is competing for the Cyclones in the decathlon, which started today at 12:30 p.m.

Tony Douglas will compete in the long jump for the Cyclones and was less than an inch away from taking a victory lap in the event at the 2004 Drake Relays. This is his first meet back from injury. Oliver Koenig is ranked sixth on the NCAA Division I list in the long jump with a mark of 25-6 3/4 and will compete for ISU in the event.

Jamal Cann will be one of the top competitors in the discus. Cann's toss of 190-4 at the Mark Messersmith Invitational qualified him for an NCAA regional berth. Tony Stewart will be competing in both the hammer and the discus and has regionally qualified in both events with season best marks of 185-11 and 175-7, respectively.

"Many of the kids from Iowa have competed at the Drake Relays," Lynn said. "So the kids from out of state have heard about it from the time they got here."

At the 2004 Drake Relays, Chase Madison was competing for Newton High School. He shattered the Drake high school discus record by more than 15 feet last spring, recording a mark of 199-1. He won the shot put and was named the most outstanding boy's high school performer. Madison will compete in the discus for the Cyclones.

On the track, the sprint medley relay team of James Lopes, Elijah Braimah, Jared Graham and Abraham Rotich will put together a strong event for the Cyclones.

"Our sprint medley relay team is really strong," Lynn said. "We won't be the favored team in the event but we're going to go after our school record and take a shot at winning the race."

The 4 x 400-meter relay team will also be a top contender for the ISU men.

Distance runners Craig Cartier, Leif Lomeland, Corey Ylinen and Joris De Vulder will put together either a 4 x mile relay or a distance medley relay team depending on De Vulder's availability. De Vulder is currently battling an injury.

Individually, James Lopes will compete in the 100 meters, Justin Sherman will run the 400-meter hurdles and Ryan French will compete in the steeplechase.

Dan Taylor is redshirting the outdoor season but will compete unattached in the 5,000 meters and David Rotich will compete in the invite mile and has a chance to finish under the four-minute mark. "

Anytime you can place in the top eight at the Drake Relays, you've done really well," Lynn said. "We'd sure like to take a victory lap down there with one or two guys, that would be really fun."

For the ISU women, All-American Ada Anderson has a chance to place among the top three 800-meter run finishers. Anderson placed sixth in the event at the NCAA indoor championships. She has regionally qualified and holds a season-best time of 2:07.30.

Sophomore Sara Boisen is a seasoned Drake competitor. In high school, Boisen set the 2003 Drake Relays prep 100-meter hurdle record at 14.27. She also won the 400-meter hurdles. In 2002, she won both the 100 and 400-meter hurdle titles. Boisen is slated to compete in the 400-meter hurdles.

"We're looking for an improved time from Sara," women's head coach Dick Lee said. "It would also be nice to get a regional qualifying time at Drake."

Boisen, Anderson, Jenny Mockler and Lauren Lewis will put together a strong 4x800-meter relay team.

ISU's Agata Kosuda placed fourth in the triple jump at the 2004 Drake Relays with a leap of 41-0 1/2 and will again compete in the event this year. Kosuda has regionally qualified in the long jump with her season-best mark of 20-3 1/2 set at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational.

"This is one of the most exciting meets in the country," Lee said. "You don't usually get the opportunity to compete in front of 16,000 people. It's exciting for our athletes to compete here and it's also exciting as a coach to watch all the events. You get to see Olympians, outstanding club athletes, top collegiate athletes and the best high school kids in the state. This is one meet in track and field that is done right."

Competition began today at noon with the heptathlon. Events begin Thursday at 11 a.m. with the finals of the decathlon and the day will conclude with the men's 10,000-meter run. On Friday, the high school boys 4x200-meter relay will kick off the day at 8 a.m. and the prelims of the men's 4x400-meter relay at 5:45 p.m. will close out the day. Saturday begins with the boys high school 4x100-meter relay preliminary races and the 2005 Drake Relays will end on Saturday evening with the finals of the men's 4x400-meter relay scheduled to begin at 6.

Results throughout the meet can be found at www.drakerelays.com. At the end of each day of competition, a release containing quotes from Cyclone athletes and coaches will be posted at www.cyclones.com.

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