This weekend, 20,000 screaming fans will surround a track and
cheer on athletes from hundreds of universities, including CSU.
Twelve Rams are competing at the 95th running of the Drake
Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The relays are widely regarded as the
outdoor season’s pinnacle.
“It’s the premier meet,” said head coach Del Hessel.
The relays have sold out 18,000-seat Drake Stadium for 38
straight years – the longest streak in U.S. track history.
The meet, from today through Saturday, will host athletes from
62 countries and many of the top universities.
Drake has hosted some of the greatest names in track history.
Jesse Owens, Wilma Ruldolph, Carl Lewis, Gwen Torrence and Michael
Johnson have all run in Des Moines.
In 1996, the road to the Atlanta Olympics began at the Drake
Relays. Johnson won the men’s 400-meter dash with a meet record
time of 44.41 seconds. That summer he won two gold medals, in the
200 and 400. He now has five gold medals.
The relays provide an opportunity for exposure, unlike most
other meets. The Rams would love to add someone to that storied
list of superstars.
“We try to go and showcase Colorado State,” Hessel said.
John Woods will run the 100 and 200. Ryan Kirkpatrick is
scheduled to run the 1,500 and Matt Ciancuilli is entered in the
5,000. Distance runners Josh Glaab and Dylan Olchin will compete in
CSU is also sending three men to compete in the technical
Jacob Benson will jump in both the high and triple jump events.
Jeremy Graff will throw the shot put and the discus and Magnus
Lohse will show off his power in the shot put.
A few talented women will also be admired this weekend.
“(The crowds) tailgate for it,” said Katie Yemm, who will run
the 1,500. “It’s a fun atmosphere. It makes you run faster.”
The city makes this meet a big deal and students from elementary
school to college are released from class to enjoy the days of
competition, she said.
Joining Yemm are Jen Kintzley (10,000), Keela Niemeyer (shot
put, discus) and the women’s distance medley relay team.
“I’m really excited,” said freshman Megan Fox, who will run with
the relay team. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Yemm is looking forward to running a fast time among the
“Everyone always runs faster with a baton in their hand,” she
The athletes not traveling to Iowa will defend Jack Christiansen
Track in the toughest home meet of the year, Saturday’s Jack
A talented CU team will join Air Force and other teams from
around the region as stiff competition for CSU. The Glenn Morris
Multi-Event Meet, scheduled to begin today, was postponed for
Sunday and Monday due to weather. As of now, the Jack Christian
Invite is scheduled to begin Saturday at 10 a.m.