Redbird Track Set for Esteemed Drake Relays
April 23, 2014
NORMAL, Ill.-- Select members of the Illinois State men's and women's track and field teams head to Des Moines, Iowa, for the prestigious, 105th-running of the Drake Relays, April 24-26.
The Drake Relays Distance Carnival marks the first event on the Redbird timeline and is slated for a 4 p.m. start time Thursday, beginning with the 800-meter races.
The Redbirds are coming off record-breaking performances at the Jesse Owens Classic, as Curt Jensen posted a career-best performance in the shot put with a mark of 66-03.75 to claim the Missouri Valley Conference and Illinois State shot put records, while junior distance standout Ryan Rutherford earned his second-consecutive Illinois State record, clocking a 5K time of 13:49.99 and besting the former record by seven seconds.
Julia Ott also had a personal-best performance in the pole vault with a vault of 13-01.50 to bypass Rachelle Harbet's school record of 12-09.50.
"Drake is always a special place to be, in my opinion, having competed there myself" head track and field coach Elvis Forde said. "I am really looking forward to it, because this is the first year we have had this many men on our team attending. They are excited, and I am excited to have them compete. Having the privilege to compete in this event, we must take advantage of this opportunity, because a lot of historic things have happened at the Drake Relays, and I do not expect this weekend to be any different."
Rutherford will toe the line in the men's 5,000-meter race, and Rachael Brewer will be featured in the women's 5,000-meter event.
Jensen and Akil Mills will highlight the throwing events, as Mills recently posted a career-best performance in the hammer throw with a toss of 209-11. Jianna Williams will return to the ring in the shot put and hammer throw. Williams recently captured a first-place finish at the Sea Ray Relays with a personal-best toss of 185-04.
Kristen Zillmer will race in the steeplechase, as she last competed in the event at Stanford, placing 10th with a time of 10:18.81.
Last year the Redbirds had personal-best performances at the Drake Relays, as Rutherford clocked a 10K time of 29:51.66 to finish third. The distance crew of Zillmer, Kelly McShea, Elise Sigg and Kaley Ummel ran to a school-record time of 19:54.17 in the 4x1,600-meter race, and the women's 4x400-meter team of Zillmer, Shandel Ellis, Printassia Johnson and Sade Sealy broke the ISU school record set in 2004 by one second.
Tim Glover captured his first Drake Relays title in the javelin with a throw of 239-04, winning the award by 10-feet, and Brittany Smith posted a first-place finish in the hammer throw with a launch of 205-05.
Fans can follow the action live on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC. Results will be posted on GoRedbirds.com immediately following the day's events.
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