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Iowa track and field set for Drake Relays

BY JORDAN HANSEN | APRIL 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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Hanging up in the indoor practice facility is a picture of a packed Drake Stadium and a simple, scrawled note.

“Eight weeks to go, Drake Relays, are you ready?”

“I put that up every year to get the student-athletes thinking about the relays and what event they can run in,” director of track and field Larry Wieczorek said. “It’s something very special, and it’s special to all our athletes — it’s one of the major collegiate meets in the country.”

Special is certainly a good word for the event as it brings together a multitude of high school, college, and professional athletes.

However, for the native Iowans that grew up watching and wanting to compete in the relays, the event holds an even more special place in their hearts.

“To run on the blue oval is something you always dream of; you get to compete against some of the best people in the country,” senior Tevin-Cee Mincy said, then paused. “It’s a really exciting feeling, and I’m amped up to run there.”

Mincy, a Southeast Polk product, has been running in the meet since his high-school days, like almost all of the Iowa natives on the roster.

Among those other natives on the roster is Cedar Falls native and transfer James Harrington. After running at Alabama for year, he wanted to be closer to home.

Getting to go to Drake again is merely an added bonus.

“It feels like my home track almost, and it’s going to be exciting to go back there again,” Harrington said. “I had a lot of great experiences in high school, and just to be back with that crowd and atmosphere is going to be great like it always is.”

The high-school experience can also prove vital for the team, as they know the track and the importance that it carries.

Surrounding the meet is a lot of hype, which is justified. It’s certainly one of the most important — and historic — track meets in the country, and those who compete in it do not forget the experience.

The experience is amplified for those that have been at the stadium before, and memories made there are not easily forgotten.

“My most prominent memory of Drake in high school was that it was always pouring down rain,” senior Drew Clark said. “I remember throwing in the ring when there was about an inch of standing water — hopefully, we’ll get some good weather this year.”

While the weather report looks to be decent for now, the greater concern of most of the team is to see a good team performance — from Drake veterans and newbies alike — and let the crowd push them on to victory.

“Many of our athletes are surprised when they get there, because the crowd is cheering for the Hawkeyes,” Wieczorek said. “The crowd might not even know who some of the athletes are, but they see the Iowa uniform and want them to do well.”

When it all comes down to it, the Hawkeyes have a chance to prove that they can compete with the best that the country has to offer.

Just do not ask them to think about it too much.

“The more you think about things, the slower you’ll react because you have other things going on in your mind,” Mincy said. “Be confident in yourself — know what you do and do what you know.”


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