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Several tracksters shine at Drake

BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI | APRIL 27, 2009 7:26 AM

The 12,298 people in attendance at the 100th-annual Drake Relays over the weekend created an electric atmosphere for the athletes competing.

Iowa outdoor redshirt freshman sensation Karessa Farley once again was able to block out the pressure of a high-profile meet and perform at a very high level.

After taking fifth in the prelims of the 100-meter hurdles, the Barbados native blazed past the competition for second place among some of the best collegiate competition in the country, even after being tripped up by a hurdle at the end.

“I have never felt myself going that fast,” Farley said. “The hurdle came a bit too soon because of that.”

Not that it’s something to worry about.

“It’s a good problem to have,” she said.

The youthful distance team was also on display, with freshmen Betsy Flood, McKenzie Melander, and Brooke Eilers teaming up with sophomore Amanda Hardesty to take third in the 4x1,600-meter relay with a time of 19:36.43.

The Hawkeye 4x1,600 team finished behind Minnesota, which won the event for the third time in four years, and Baylor.

Flood also competed in the 4x800 meter relay on April 24, taking sixth place with fellow freshman Brittany Dlhy, sophomore Lauren Hardesty, and senior Jennie Docherty.

While the 4x100 team failed to make the finals after taking 12th in prelims, the 4x200 team of freshman Nicole Erickson, sophomores Tiffany Hendricks, and Kara-Aretha Graham and junior Rhonda-Kaye Trusty took ninth place in the relay.

Head coach Layne Anderson saw some room for improvement after the weekend’s festivities.

“We need to be more efficient with the baton,” he said. “It was good to see some of the younger girls run well, though.”

Sophomore Hannah Roeder continued to compete well in the outdoor season, taking fifth in the steeplechase in front of a hometown crowd after taking a nasty spill over one of the barriers early in the race.

Former Hawkeye Peaches Roach competed in the women’s heptathlon and finished second to 2008 U.S. Olympian Jacquelyn Johnson, who set a 2009 world-best in the event with 6,020 points.

Other notable local finishers were the Iowa City West High girls, who won the 4x100 relay in the high-school portion of the meet, setting a Drake Relays record with a time of 48.69, beating the previous record held by Des Moines Roosevelt.

Next week, the Hawkeyes will head to the Illini Invitational in Champaign, Ill., for their last meet before the Big Ten championships in Columbus, Ohio.


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