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College Track & Field: Hawkeyes claim Drake Relays Cup

Iowa head coach Joey Woody hold up the cup
(Photo via Iowa Track & Field/Cross Country social media)

DES MOINES – University of Iowa track and field claimed two relay titles en route to the men’s first Drake Relays Cup since 2018 and Junior James Carter, Jr. completed his sweep of the horizontal jumps by claiming the triple jump title on Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium.

“Anytime there is a trophy, we want to battle and compete to win it,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “This is more of a team effort – getting a chance to compete in some relays we don’t get to compete in during the season. That’s always a big thing as we get into our championship season.”

The men’s shuttle-hurdle relay team of sophomore Grant Conway, senior Josh Braverman, freshman Kalil Johnson and sophomore Gratt Reed got the first win for the day, clocking a school record (56.74) in the process. It was the first shuttle-hurdle championship at Drake for the Hawkeyes since 1984 and the fourth in program history.

The next win came in the men’s sprint-medley relay. The team of sophomores Austin Kresley and Khullen Jefferson and juniors Julien Gillum and Alec Still clocked the fifth-fastest time in program history (3:18.06). Still anchored the 800-meter leg in 1:49.6.

“Growing up, this is the meet you dream of running at – especially for the Hawkeyes,” Still said. “I’ve been dreaming of running for the Hawks since I was in fifth grade. To cross the finish line in my last race ever at Drake (as a champion) is a great feeling, and to share it with these guys too.”

After winning the long jump on Friday, Carter, Jr. doubled back to sweep the horizontal jumps with a win in the triple jump (15.79m / 51’9.75”) today for the third overall Drake Relays title of his career. He became the first men’s university division athlete to win both events in 16 years at the Drake Relays.

“When there’s pressure on the line, I tend to pick up my energy a little bit more,” Carter said. “I didn’t really want to have to take all my jumps, but I wanted another (Drake Relays) flag. I take a lot of pride in being a combo-horizontal jumper because it’s hard to do both, and it’s hard to do well at both. I’m proud that I’m able to keep improving in both events.”

The Hawkeye women had a trio of runner-up finishes in the sprint-medley relay, 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay. The medley of sophomore LaSarah Hargrove, seniors Erin Dowd and Payton Wensel and sophomore Clare Pitcher clocked the third-fastest time in program history (3:52.56). Hargrove led off the 4×100-meter relay (45.46) as well, followed by sophomore Tesa Roberts, Dowd and sophomore Paige Magee. The 4×400-meter relay consisted of junior Mariel Bruxvoort, Dowd, Wensel and Roberts (3:37.12).

The Hawkeyes also ran a pair of impressive distance-medley relays. The men’s squad of sophomore Kal Lewis and freshmen Everett Steward, Antonio Abrego and Max Murphy finished third (9:47.73) and posted the fifth-fastest time ever at Iowa. The women’s quartet of freshman Grace Bookin-Nosbisch, Roberts, freshman Alli Bookin-Nosbisch and sophomore Amber Aesoph ran the seventh-fastest time in school history (11:40.18), finishing ninth.

After winning the shuttle-hurdle relay, Reed (14.14), Conway (14.20) and Braverman (14.28) finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the 110-meter hurdles final, respectively. In the 100-meter hurdles, Magee (14.71) finished sixth.

Sophomore Jordan Johnson turned in a third-place finish in the men’s discus (53.66m / 176’0”). The 4×100-meter relay of Johnson, Kresley, Reed and Jefferson were runners-up (40.50), and the 4×400-meter relay team of Steward, sophomores Austin West and Armando Bryson and Gillum also finished runner-up (3:08.02).

The Hawkeyes head to the Wisconsin Twilight next Friday in Madison, Wisconsin.

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