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Drake meet ‘bittersweet’

BY MICHELE DANNO and MATT SCHOMMER | APRIL 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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Coach Clive Roberts said the Drake Relays were filled with “near misses” for the Hawkeyes, who managed a few close second-place finishes but left Des Moines without any wins.

“We we’re definitely happy going there and competing, but at Iowa, the expectation is that when we get out there, we dominate,” Roberts said. “I try to get across to my [athletes] that we’ve got to shoot for the top prize. Second place is good, but there’s more to be had.”

It was a close race for the women’s 4-by-mile squad, which finished just behind Minnesota with a time of 19:05. Sophomore Betsy Flood, who competed in the second leg of the race, called the finish “bittersweet” because her team’s time broke the meet record set last year by Baylor, but Minnesota ended up setting the new standard with an 18:58.

The 4-by-4 men’s relay team also had a close call.

After winning their preliminary heat, the Hawkeyes narrowly missed first place, even though they improved on their qualifying time by nearly three seconds. It gave the foursome of Erik Sowinski, Chris Barton, Steven Willey, and Patrick Richards the fifth-best time at Iowa.

“That was maybe our best time since around 1999,” men’s head coach Larry Wieczorek said. “They beat lots of good people.”

Another close finish came during the 1,600-meter sprint medley. Coming down the last leg of the race, Eastern Illinois caught the Hawkeyes and they lost by under than a second.

“Overall, we felt good about what we did,” Wieczorek said. “We would have liked to have a win, that’s for sure. You just have to hand it to those other teams.”

Members of the women’s 4-by-800-meter relay said they could have placed higher than their fourth-place finish, but an error in the handoff between Flood and McKenzie Melander set them back.

Flood said Melander bumped into another athlete and ended up “falling flat on her face,” throwing the women off guard and ultimately slowed them down.

“That incident kind of took us out of the race,” Flood said. “But everyone still ran hard, and no one really gave up after it happened. Finishing fourth isn’t bad considering the circumstances.”

Individually, senior Rhonda-Kaye Trusty and junior Karessa Farley both finished sixth in their respective events. Trusty, who competed in the 100-meter dash, set her mark at 11:95. Farley finished the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.72.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the meet was senior Dan Rolling’s performance in the decathlon.
Rolling earned the all-time record for the event after he scored personal bests in eight of the 10 competitions.

His 6,957 points were near the mark that Wieczorek is eyeing.

“A book-ending weekend was Dan Rolling setting the school record,” Wieczorek said. “Seven thousand is sort of a barrier you’re trying to get over. If you can do that, then you’re in great shape.”

Although Roberts called both the men’s and women’s performances at Drake “kind of a mixed bag,” he said the meet did give the team hope for the upcoming Big Ten championship meet.

“Drake kind of gives us an idea of where we’re at halfway through the season,” Roberts said. “There are some adjustments that need to be made, but we’re just as good as anyone else out there.”


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