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2014 Drake Relays Most Outstanding Performers announced

DES MOINES, Iowa – The 105th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee thrilled fans with countless fantastic performances across all divisions with 11 Relays records shattered during four days of competition at Drake Stadium. On Monday, the best of those performances were honored with announcement of the Relays Most Outstanding Performers. The awards are voted on by members of the media that cover the Drake Relays.

High jumper Derek Drouin was a near unanimous choice for the Maury White Award winner as the men’s collegiate/invitational outstanding performer while hurdler Kristi Castlin earned the honor in the women’s collegiate/invitational division. Boone High School’s Albert Meier was named the Robert Kramme Award winner as the high school boys most outstanding performer and the Gerry Cooley Award for the high school girls division went to the Davenport Assumption relay team of Emma Bassier, Maddie Irmen, Rose Ripslinger and Markel Mommsen.

That Davenport Assumption team, comprised entirely of four seniors, won the 4×100, 4×200 and sprint medley relays as Davenport Assumption claimed a Drake Relays record four relay titles on the week with a win in the 4×800 as well. The Knights posted times of 48.14 in the 4×100, 1:41.71 in the 4×200 and 1:45.79 in the sprint medley relay.

Bassier ran the leadoff leg on the 4×100, 4×200 and sprint medley with Irmen (4×100), Mommsen (4×200) and Ripslinger (SMR) each running an anchor leg on the winning relays. Riplsinger and Irmen also ran a leg on the 4×400 that finished second in 3:53.71.

“It’s indescribable really,” Bassier said after winning the sprint medley relay. “It’s the biggest meet we go to all year. To win it is prestigious and we will remember it for the rest of our lives.”

Albert Meier earned the Robert Kramme Award by virtue of becoming the first Iowa boys high school athlete to burst through the 9-minute barrier in the 3,200 meters with a time of 8:58.46. That finish bested the previous all-time Iowa best by nearly six seconds and shattered the previous Drake Relays record of 9:05.58 set by Ottumwa’s Kevin Lewis in 2011.

“It feels great to be up there with the best, breaking nine minutes.” Meier said of making history. “It was my dream and I finally did it, so I’m happy.”

A pair of professional athletes were named Most Outstanding Performers for their thrilling displays of athleticism inside Drake Stadium. On Friday night, Derek Drouin set numerous records by clearing 7-10.5 in the high jump. His jump eclipsed the previous Drake Relays record of 7-7 shared by Relays director Brian Brown and Dusty Jonas and the Drake Stadium record of 7-8 set by Erik Kynard. Drouin’s jump also bested his own previous Canadian national record and is currently the top mark in the world.

Kristi Castlin darted past one of the most talented women’s 100-meter hurdle fields ever assembled at the Relays to win by five one-thousanths of a second over defending World Champion Brianna Rollins in 12.571 to 12.576.

“I was surprised,” Castlin said following her win. “This is my first race of the season. I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder being in lane eight and I had to execute my best race since I was out there on my own.”

Rollins had won 19 straight races and set the American record in the event at last summer’s USA Championships, but was felled by Castlin’s tremendous performance and lean out of lane eight to set a Drake Relays record in the process.

The 105th Drake Relays was staged in front 40,795 fans including the 49th consecutive Saturday sellout with 14,504 fans crowded around the Blue Oval. The 106th edition of America’s Athletic Classic is scheduled for April 22-25, 2015.

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